Named for James Joyce’s acclaimed modernist novel, Ulysses Press was hailed by Publishers Weekly as one of the “fastest-growing small publishers” and boasts a data-driven philosophy that targets niche audiences underserved by many of the larger publishers. Now the bicoastal independent house is utilizing that strategy to expand into the juvenile and young- adult market with a new imprint called Bloom Books for Young Readers (BBYR).
The name is based on Molly Bloom from Ulysses, “but also stands alone as a representation of the creativity and imagination that can bloom from books and a love of reading,” says Claire Sielaff, senior acquisitions editor at Ulysses Press and lead edi- tor at Bloom Books for Young Readers.
As Ulysses approaches its 40th anniversary, the majority of its list focuses on the adult market, but Sielaff said the com- pany saw an opportunity in the juvenile space, capitalizing on its market targeting, which has been successful in the past.
“Using a variety of consumer data sets, we seek to understand aggregate sales in the category, seasonal variations in sales patterns, competitive strength, pricing opportunities, and optimal pack- ages and page counts, as well as how consumers seek out certain products online using SEO insights,” says Ulysses publisher Keith Rigert. “Once the seed of an idea born from analytics research is found, our talented editorial team curates a unique and creative spin.”
Some of the imprint’s successful backlist titles include the bestselling The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids; the Danny the Digger series, starring a plucky young mini-excavator who lives on a construction site; and a pair of books that introduces kids to Greek and Norse mythologies. Bloom Books for Young Readers has a new title in that series teed up, Introduction to Igbo Mythology for Kids, which explores West African folktales and legends.
“We’re hoping to reach underserved audiences in the same way we’ve done in our adult imprint,” Sielaff says, “by focusing on niche topics and stories and making sure our authors come from a variety of different backgrounds.”
Other upcoming BBYR releases that live up to that mandate include titles such as the anime caricature guide Drawing Fantasy Chibi, which follows a successful line of Drawing Dragons sketchbooks, and Curious Cases: True Crime for Kids, a first- of-its-kind compendium of exciting art capers, unsolved heists, and escapes, all age-appropriate, of course, for middle grade readers.
Another title the company is excited about is One Hundred Percent Me by Renee Macalino Rutledge and illustrated by Anita Prades. “It’s a heartwarming and charming story of how a little girl comes to accept and champion her unique background and her mixed family,” Sielaff says. “We’re very excited to see how it resonates with readers.”
Ulysses has long been a home for health and spirituality books, including Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings and Art Ulene’s The Vitamin Strategy. One of the publisher’s current bestselling authors, Shainna Ali, is known for her focus on mental wellness and self-love strategies, as well as destigmatizing mental health counseling. She’s been featured on outlets such as ABC, NBC, NPR, and the Washington Post. Now, she’s entering the children's book space with Luna Finds Love Everywhere, which follows a little girl as she discovers esteem-worthy moments throughout her everyday life.
Bloom Books for Young Readers doesn’t plan on limiting itself to one genre or category, or even one age range. Sielaff describes what she’s looking for as “both fiction and nonfiction works for young readers and middle grade readers with a focused subject or story line not commonly seen in other books on the market.”
As for its parent company, Ulysses has its eye on the future. “Next year, we are celebrating our
40th birthday,” Riegert says. “Despite being a solidly mature publishing company, we are in the midst of an exciting period of growth.” And that includes watching Bloom Books grow and flower.