Ask any writer about how they really feel concerning the publishing business and you’re certain to listen to a litany of complaints. From small advances to even smaller royalties, a dated distribution system and a scarcity of a publicity push for all however the prime writers—there’s a lot that’s merely not working.
Zibby Owens is aiming to vary all that by launching her personal publishing firm with author, editor and publishing veteran Leigh Newman. Zibby Books has reimagined a brand new partnership between writers, editors, publishers, booksellers and influencers, the place all people shares income and has a monetary stake and incentive.
Owens leapt onto the publishing scene in 2018 along with her podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. She rapidly turned an influential determine within the ebook world, frequently doing occasions and interviews with well-known authors. After publishing three books and listening to many gripes, Owens envisioned a brand new form of publishing home with the writer at its heart. Writers will obtain advances and royalties but in addition be a part of a revenue sharing program, which can divide 75% of all internet income equally between the writer and the corporate’s staff.
The publishing world has been abuzz with the announcement this week. “Zibby has been such a fantastic supporter of authors and books and I’m thrilled to listen to this information. I’m actually intrigued by the revenue sharing mannequin. Something that tries to shake up the normal publishing format is at all times welcome,” says Alison Fargis a associate on the New York-based literary company Stonesong.
Owens shares extra about her new publishing mannequin and what’s to return under.
Sara Bliss: When did you begin to understand that there was an issue with the ebook publishing mannequin? Was it in the middle of interviewing a whole lot of authors?
Zibby Owens: Sure! I began listening to quite common themes. It by no means occurred to me to start with that I might have the ability to do something about it. But, all through the pandemic when it was unattainable for folks to get their books out, I used to be making an attempt to do the whole lot I may to assist. It made me assume, I’ve to determine this out! I began to brainstorm and knew if I may put all my concepts collectively I may create one thing.
Bliss: I usually communicate to new writers who’re pissed off about what they understand to be their particular person expertise with publishers. I’ve to elucidate to them that sadly these irritating experiences occur to even the most important authors.
Owens: It’s true. I feel many writers really feel just a little little bit of disgrace about it. Many authors are embarrassed to talk up and take it personally. They don’t have the vantage level to see it’s so pervasive. It’s an business factor, not a private factor. There are numerous great individuals who work in publishing, I’m not making an attempt to undermine that in any respect. But, it’s simply structurally that issues have been arrange so authors will not be within the heart of issues.
Bliss: What are you hoping to vary?
Owens: What I actually wish to change is the sensation that authors have of not being appreciated and never having issues arrange for their very own success. I wish to create extra of a way of neighborhood between the publishing home and the writer the place we’re a group.
Bliss: Clarify how your mannequin is completely different from conventional ebook publishing.
Owens: A technique is the compensation construction. We’re nonetheless doing royalties, however we’re doing a revenue share. 75% of any internet income might be cut up equally between our staff and all of the authors who publish in a given 12 months, plus the next 12 months with their paperback rollout. There might be 24 authors, plus our staff within the pool —together with the highest three backlist earners. I don’t assume one particular person may be accountable for the success of a ebook, it’s everybody within the firm. I would like each worker to have an equal stake, and for all of the authors to be totally invested in one another’s success.
We even have a standard gross sales drive by way of our distributor Two Rivers , however we’re amplifying that effort with Ebook Ambassadors. Anybody can enroll and there might be an incentive program to compensate them for selling our books and having occasions.
Bliss: Will your strategy to publicity even be completely different?
Owens: I don’t wish to wait round for an enormous deal superstar to possibly choose up a ebook. I would like, from the beginning, for somebody who has a much bigger platform than the writer to be an outspoken champion. With our Ebook Championship Program we are going to give a share of internet income to the Ebook Champion so that they have an fairness stake.
Bliss: I really like that everybody has incentive for these books to succeed.
Owens: Leigh and I labored actually laborious to create this new idea. We all know that when folks really feel valued in each degree of a corporation, their motivation is totally completely different. It’s not about doing a job or about feeling obligated. We’re all collectively constructing one thing collectively from each worker to each writer. We’re creating one thing new and making an attempt to make a distinction. I don’t imply to disparage publishers, however they’re so large. They could wish to change, however it’s way more difficult for one thing large and established to pivot. Not all our concepts will work, however then we are going to simply provide you with extra.