Ask any author about how they feel about the publishing industry and you are bound to hear a litany of complaints. From small advances to even smaller royalties, a dated distribution system, and a lack of a publicity push for all but the top writers—there is a lot that’s simply not working.
Zibby Owens is aiming to change all that by launching her own publishing company with the writer, editor, and publishing veteran Leigh Newman. Zibby Books has reimagined a new partnership between writers, editors, publishers, booksellers, and influencers, where everybody shares profits and has a financial stake and incentive.
Owens leaped onto the publishing scene in 2018 with her podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. She quickly became an influential figure in the book world, regularly doing events and interviews with well-known authors. After publishing three books and hearing many gripes, Owens envisioned a new kind of publishing house with the author at its center. Writers will receive advances and royalties but also be part of a profit-sharing program, which will divide 75% of all net profits equally between the author and the company’s employees.
The publishing world has been abuzz with the announcement this week. “Zibby has been such a great supporter of authors and books and I am thrilled to hear this news. I am certainly intrigued by the profit-sharing model. Anything that tries to shake up the traditional publishing format is always welcome,” says Alison Fargis a partner at the New York-based literary agency Stonesong.