“Black women are hugely underrepresented in the book publishing industry,” said Morgan Wider, author of A Worthy Wardrobe (New Degree Press, 2020) and the founder/CEO of Wider Style. “I am so grateful this book has allowed me to connect with women on a deeper level. Publishing this book with New Degree Press allowed me to build an incredible community of women who supported me through the publishing journey – I thought authors just did the book alone but building a community around my book has been transformative for me and the book itself.”
Wider is part of a growth type of author who is turning to new book publishing approaches to make a name for themselves. Her publisher New Degree Press has published more than eight hundred authors in the past three years by innovating on a business model that hasn’t changed in centuries.
“Every author should be the owner of their work,” says Brian Bies, the head of publishing at New Degree Press. “Right now, an author is lucky if they get a 10% royalty from most publishers – and that means they may keep less than 4-5% of the revenue from every book they sell. We think given the changes in the creator economy, there had to be a better way.”
New Degree Press turned to some of the most innovative minds from technology to develop its unique pre-sale publishing model that helps authors develop a crowdfunding-style campaign that unlocks their community and helps dramatically expand the reach of their book. The publisher counts on an incredible network of change-makers and disruptors including Shane Mac, bestselling author of Stop the BS and venture capitalist, Catherine Spence, Co-Founder and COO of Murmur, Megan O’Connor, CEO of Clark, Daniel Houghton, former CEO of Lonely Planet, one of the largest book publishing companies in the world, Robert Stephens, the former GeekSquad founder and Chief Technology Officer of Best Buy, David Marquet, the President of Intent-Based Leadership Institute and bestselling author Rated #1 Business Book by Forbes, and others.
“I want to help authors sell books so they don’t have to give up their ownership stake in the book just to get it published,” continued Bies. “This way we never have to take any ownership in the books of our authors. We’ve published three national book award winners or finalists just this year — and all of them own their books completely which is unusual in the traditional book publishing industry. But it’s core to our philosophy of the author as the creator and owner of their work.”
New Degree Press facilitates this model through its use of a pre-sale publishing approach, guiding every author through a pre-sale campaign of their book to sell the first two hundred copies of their book before the book goes through publishing. The publisher has found that not only does this approach ensure the author owns their work, but it drives a much bigger reach for the author.
Said Wider, “I didn’t realize I had such a supportive audience already, but when I began to ask people around me to support the book everyone was incredibly gracious and wanted to be a part of it. It’s truly a community-launched book.”
New Degree Press is a social venture having applied to be a certified B-corporation (benefit corporation) in 2020 and is a certified hybrid publisher from the International Book Publishing Association (IBPA) headquartered in Maryland.
“We work with authors all over the world and from an incredibly wide range of backgrounds and experience levels,” said Mackenzie Finklea, author of Beyond the Halls (New Degree Press 2019) and the lead author coach. “We’ve realized that our secret advantage is the ability to help every author sell more books in their pre-sale campaign than they thought they could — we have 94-96% of our authors exceed their pre-sale targets which is a testament to the model and the power of community.”
Shane Mac, chairman of the New Degree Press publishing advisory council, said he’s been blown away at the impact in just the past four years.
“When we set out to change publishing, we didn’t realize how important it would be to embrace the community-aspect of the writing and publishing process,” Mac shared. “But what we’ve realized is that writing a book is one of the loneliest jobs out there – we figured why not create a community of authors writing and publishing their books and see how that approach changed the experience.”
As the $26 billion-dollar industry has failed to grow over the past few years, new models such as New Degree Press’ pre-sale publishing offer a new opportunity to open the gate to new authors otherwise underserved today.
“My book has changed my life and my business,” shared Wider. “I’m a business owner so no reason I shouldn’t be the owner of my book too.”
New Degree Press accepts submissions directly from authors on their website – NewDegreePress.com – and works with all genres.