Since launching in January of this year, Union Square & Co. has established itself as a publisher of broad-ranging, unique, and enriching titles across multiple categories and genres. Whether it’s publishing fresh and authentic voices in fantasy, cookbooks, or anything in between, Union Square & Co.’s line of titles surprises and inspires. Editorial director Amanda Englander spoke about what sets Union Square & Co. apart and the many exciting projects on tap.

What qualities does Union Square & Co. look for across all the categories of books you publish?

This is a tricky one because we publish such a wide range of categories, but across the board, I would say that we are always looking for new voices and fresh perspectives that change or enhance the conversation. We want to make books that readers are proud to own and show off, and above all, that make them want to keep turning the pages. We see ourselves as a home for debut authors who are just making their mark, as well as for experienced authors who may want to try something a little bit different.

How is Union Square & Co. building and expanding on the platforms of Sterling Ethos and Puzzlewright?

We did a ton of work to fashion ourselves in a new image with the launch of Union Square & Co. in January, but in looking at where the company had been and where we wanted to take it, we knew we wanted to honor the strong legacy of these two imprints. Though Ethos and Puzzlewright are nearly diametrically opposed topic-wise, the strategies are not dissimilar: we are seeking out high-profile authors and engaging in brand and media partnerships in a way that hasn’t yet been explored. In addition, we are looking to solidify and strengthen the identity of both imprints by growing both our editorial and design teams. With this sturdy foundation in place, we are building from magical/mystical into health and wellness, lifestyle, and cooking, and from pen-and-paper puzzles into paper product, gift, and pop culture.

We’ve all been spending so much more time at home. I can’t imagine two titles better suited to our current moment than Sheet Pan Sweets and Welcome, Hustler. What can you share about these two amazing books?

These books are both by amazing and experienced authors who we’re thrilled to have along for the ride with us as we build our new list—I’ve personally admired them both for a long time, and they were two of the first calls I made once I landed at Union Square & Co.! Molly Gilbert published the blockbuster cookbook Sheet Pan Suppers back in 2014; her culinary training is as a pastry chef, so it was a no-brainer for her to try her hand at a dessert book next, especially with the soaring popularity of one-bowl baking and snacking cakes. And Robin Arzón, the head instructor at Peloton and a newly minted New York Times bestselling author, is someone I spent a lot of time with on my bike during the lockdown. I would finish a ride, but find myself returning to her mantras and questions all day long. One day she mentioned that she practices journaling, and the idea just clicked. Welcome, Hustler will enable people to access more of Robin’s encouragement and to feel empowered in all parts of their lives.

Melissa Blair’s A Broken Blade has a unique backstory! What can you share about it, and what drew you to the project?

This acquisition is the perfect example of our one-of-a-kind bookseller relationships in action. This book, initially self-published anonymously in December 2021, blew up on TikTok when people were trying to guess the author’s identity. Customers started asking for it in stores, and that’s when it came to our attention. All the buzz was certainly exciting, and the book is a lush and emotional read, too. We were also drawn to the author’s story: she is an Anishinaabe-kwe woman and, inspired by all the fantasy novels popular on #BookTok set in colonial-inspired worlds, she wanted to write something closer to her experience as an Indigenous person.

How are you connecting with new authors and projects? Any hints you can drop about what’s coming next for Union Square & Co.?

We are lucky to have a team of editors who are both well-connected and well-read in their categories. The entrepreneurial spirit runs through all of us at Union Square & Co.—we are building something new, after all, though we aren’t starting from scratch. I like to call us a “re-start-up.” We have lots of incoming projects from agents, but also do plenty of pavement-pounding, too. You never know when a conversation you strike up at a dinner party, an article you read on the subway, or an Instagram DM you send on a whim could turn into a book. We have heavy-hitting titles coming up in every single one of our key categories, which we're super proud of.

How are you building buzz for the books across your imprints?

Along with our chief creative officer, Emily Meehan, and my counterpart at Union Square Kids, Tracey Keevan, I’ve been spending a lot of time informing agents, booksellers, retailers, and media outlets all about what we are building here at Union Square & Co. So if you want to get on a Zoom with us—or better yet, grab lunch—let us know! We did the same thing at the Bologna and London Book Fairs, too, and will keep building awareness through trade shows and events. On the actual book level, though, we are working with the independents on indie-specific promotions, sharing ARCs for early reads, and campaigning for award nominations. We are also able to leverage our relationship with B&N to drive discoverability online, in-app, and in-store. And of course, like many other publishers, we are creating bespoke, customized publicity and marketing plans that include everything from tapping into an author’s social media following to paid and organic promotions and advertising to extensive local and national publicity campaigns, and so on. Keep your eyes peeled for some good old-fashioned big-mouth mailings this fall!