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Amplify Publishing Group Welcomes Mel Robbins to Board of Directors

We’re thrilled to share some incredible news with our community of authors, readers, partners, and supporters: Mel Robbins has joined Amplify Publishing Group’s board. As a hybrid publisher committed to empowering authors and revolutionizing the industry, we couldn’t be more honored to have Mel join our executive leadership. Her remarkable achievements as a podcast host, bestselling author, self-publishing phenom, and expert in mindset and behavior change make her a valuable asset to our organization. With Mel’s unique insights and expertise, we’re confident Amplify Publishing Group will reach even greater heights in supporting our authors and delivering exceptional content to readers worldwide.

“Amplify is the leader in disrupting the traditional publishing business model, and I’m here for it! I love our mission of empowering authors to own and control their intellectual property while still leveraging traditional retail distribution. I am excited to align with an organization that upholds my own values as a thought leader, entrepreneur, podcast host, and innovative author.”

—Mel Robbins, host of The Mel Robbins Podcast and New York Times bestselling author with millions of books sold

A World-Renowned Expert, Accomplished Author, and Entrepreneur

Mel Robbins’s name resonates across the globe, and we’re privileged to have her on board. Her widely acclaimed podcast, The Mel Robbins Podcast, has captured the hearts and minds of millions of listeners, and we are truly humbled to have the opportunity to collaborate with a trusted authority on personal development and self-improvement. Mel’s expertise in mindset and behavior change has made a profound impact on individuals worldwide, and we are excited to leverage her knowledge and experience to further enhance our books and offerings.

Beyond her podcasting success, Mel is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have transformed the lives of countless readers, guiding them on a path toward personal growth and fulfillment. We admire Mel’s ability to connect with and motivate her audiences through various mediums, as evidenced by her millions of books sold worldwide, seven #1 audiobooks on Audible, and the billions of views her videos have garnered.

Empowering Authors with Amplify Publishing Group

At Amplify Publishing Group, we are dedicated to empowering authors and supporting their creative endeavors. We believe that authors should retain ownership and control over their intellectual property while benefiting from traditional retail distribution. Mel’s passion for empowering others aligns perfectly with our core values. Her extensive experience as a thought leader, entrepreneur, podcast host, and innovative author will undoubtedly strengthen our mission to revolutionize the publishing industry.

A Promising Future

We’re thrilled to have Mel join our executive leadership team at Amplify Publishing Group. Her appointment to our board reinforces our commitment to excellence, innovation, and author success. With Mel alongside Amplify CEO Naren Aryal, chairman and New York Times bestselling author Josh Linkner, and editor-in-chief and former CEO of Inc. and Fast Company Eric Schurenberg, we’re confident that we have an exceptional group of leaders guiding us. We’re excited about the endless possibilities that lie ahead and believe that Amplify Publishing Group will continue to lead the way in the ever-evolving publishing landscape with Mel’s invaluable support.

Join Us in Welcoming Mel Robbins

On behalf of the entire Amplify Publishing Group team, we invite you to join us in extending a warm welcome to Mel Robbins. Together, we are poised to shape the future of publishing, provide unparalleled support to authors, and deliver exceptional content to readers across the globe.


About Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins is the host of one of the top-ranked podcasts in the world, a New York Times bestselling author, and a trusted expert in mindset and behavior change. She has seven #1 audiobooks on Audible, millions of books sold, billions of views of her videos, and her globally renowned The Mel Robbins Podcast is syndicated in 194 countries.


About Amplify Publishing Group

Amplify Publishing Group is a leading independent hybrid publisher dedicated to amplifying voices, elevating brands, and supporting ideas that change minds and shape conversations. APG has over twenty years of experience acquiring, producing, marketing, and distributing books, and is home to six imprints, including #AmplifyPublishing and #RealClearPublishing.


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Announcing Our Next Chapter

We’re thrilled to announce the next chapter of Amplify Publishing’s story: for the first time, our six imprints have been brought under the umbrella of Amplify Publishing Group (APG). With this rebrand comes fantastic additions to our leadership team, a comprehensive new website dedicated to the APG mission, and upcoming initiatives that further our commitment to providing the best author services in the industry.

Joining our board as chairman is Josh Linkner. Linkner is the founder and CEO of five tech companies, an internationally recognized expert on innovation, a New York Times bestselling author, and the founder of ImpactEleven, an industry-leading keynote speaker training organization. With significant contributions and experience in business development, Linkner is looking forward to helping shape the next generation of APG authors. 

Eric Schurenberg will also be joining APG’s board as editor-in-chief. Schurenberg is a media executive, award-winning journalist, and the former CEO of Mansueto Ventures, which owns Inc. and Fast Company media properties. Dedicated to fighting misinformation and polarization, Schurenberg has a vested interest in acquiring business, politics, and other thought-provoking titles.

From humble beginnings to our new leadership team, we’ve come a long way. We were founded in 2003 with the publication of a single book by our CEO, Naren Aryal. In the twenty years since, we have published bestselling titles by thought leaders, changemakers, and subject matter experts; secured coverage in major news outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Time, Business Insider, and Good Morning America, among others; and established ourselves as a premier hybrid publisher. 

Through our evolution, APG has been and continues to be dedicated to amplifying voices that need to be heard. We’re proud of the books we’ve published and the authors we’ve supported over the last twenty years, and we’re looking forward to the decades to come. 

Our new website is home to information about our publishing process and comprehensive services, our six imprints, and our many exceptional authors. The new APG bookstore includes Amplify Publishing, RealClear Publishing, and Tagged Publishing front and backlist titles, while our Mascot bookstore includes titles from Mascot Books, Mascot Kids, and Subplot Publishing

To join us on this new chapter of our journey, follow us on social media or explore our website.

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Consolidating the Traditional Publishing Industry: What Will This Mean for Authors?

Penguin Random House parent company Bertelsmann announced on November 25 that they will be purchasing Simon & Schuster for $2.175 billion, further consolidating the “Big Five” trade publishers into the “Big Four.” The deal will create what many are already calling a “megapublisher.” What does this mean for current and future authors?

Deal or no deal
The merger between PRH and S&S will likely take about a year to close, and many have concerns about whether the deal will go through due to possible legal issues. The Authors Guild released a statement criticizing the potential increase of PRH’s market share, which would rise to between 18.4% and 33% of all book units sold if the merger is completed. They have called on the Justice Department to challenge the deal and all future consolidation between publishing houses. The Guild was joined by the American Booksellers Association and the Association of American Literary Agents, both of which noted the loss of a traditional publishing choice for many authors.

What stays the same
While critics of the deal have been vocal about the way it will change traditional publishing, there are some constants authors can expect.

Retaining Core Identity. PRH CEO Markus Dohle stated that the company has previously demonstrated its ability to “successfully unite company cultures and prestigious publishing teams while preserving each imprint’s identity and independence,” referring to the merger of Penguin and Random House in 2013. Editorial autonomy will remain with each imprint’s publisher, so it is possible little change could trickle down to authors.

What changes
Many authors are wary of the PRH-S&S deal based on the history of consolidation in traditional publishing.

Lower Advances. With fewer competitors, PRH-S&S is more likely to acquire the books it wants for a lower advance. Imprints under the same parent company often don’t bid against one another, so the merged company has less incentive to offer higher advances to authors as there will be fewer imprints competing in auctions. Lower competition and fewer bids for authors mean smaller advances.

Less Diversity of Books. Different publishing houses choose to publish different projects. With fewer voices in traditional publishing, the range of published books will become more homogenous. Big Five publishers are more likely to focus on acquiring fewer books that are sure to sell, offering higher advances to secure those deals rather than taking many chances on “riskier” deals by debut authors. This trend has not gone unnoticed. An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times noted this merger comes at a moment where diversity in America is a focus, and an op-ed in The Atlantic raised concerns about preserving democracy through the diversity of thought. The Association of American Literary Agents echoed this in their statement by arguing the deal will “diminish the diversity of viewpoints and the vibrancy so essential to the future of books.” If a lack of diversity ensues, even more authors will be excluded from traditional publishing avenues.

What does this ultimately mean for authors?
It will likely become more difficult for authors to secure a traditional publishing deal in an already-competitive market. Professional writer and publishing industry commentator Josh Bernoff argues that “basically, as an author, you have to take more responsibility than ever before for your own books.” If the merger goes through, pursuing traditional publication through a Big Five publisher may be a less attractive option for authors. Authors may turn to alternative publishing options such as:

Independent Presses. Indie presses may give more time and attention to each author even if they can’t promise a big advance.

Self-Publishing. Promising total creative control, self-publishing is an option for the author who is willing to produce the book themselves in totality in order to retain full creative freedom.

Hybrid Publishing. Hybrid publishing bridges the gap between traditional and self-publishing, and appeals to authors who want the guidance of publishing experts yet have the final say on their book.

Whether or not the Bertelsmann acquisition of Simon & Schuster will go through remains to be seen. The merger of two large traditional publishers has drawn attention and speculation as to what it means for the future of publishing. What’s certain, though, is that the future of alternative publishing options has never looked brighter for authors of all genres.

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The Rapidly Changing Marketplace for Political Books

As the November election approaches, we are in the heart of the political book season. And just like the election itself, the battle for readership is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before. There are a slew of titles from the large publishing houses that cycle in and out of the news, with the most recent entry being Rage by Bob Woodward.

Here’s what’s new and notable in the political book arena:

From the “Big Five” traditional publishing houses:
Rage by Bob Woodward revealed that President Donald Trump concealed the threat of the coronavirus from the American people, Live Free or Die by Sean Hannity argued against leftwing radicalism, and The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton accused Trump of colluding with Chinese officials to secure re-election. Each of them managed to secure media attention surrounding their publication date in an attempt to claim readers’ attention.

A recent self-published title:
Donald Trump Jr.’s new book Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and The Democrats’ Defense of The Indefensible is markedly different from its contemporaries. Trump Jr. self-published Liberal Privilege on Tuesday, September 1 and, at the time of writing, was ranked #12 on Amazon and #30 in the Kindle Store. It claimed the #1 spot in the following Politics and Government categories: “Ideologies & Doctrines,” “Political Conservatism & Liberalism,” and “Nationalism.”

From the latest entrant into publishing, hybrid publishing:
RealClear Publishing, a new imprint of Amplify Publishing in partnership with RealClearPolitics and Gotham Ghostwriters, also has several political titles in the mix. Its hybrid model allows for a variety of authors to join the national political conversation while retaining creative control and an advantageous royalties split. Contract to Unite America: Ten Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic by Neal Simon prescribes ways to bring America back from the frenzy of political partisanship. From longtime advocate of basic income, Steve Shafarman, comes Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity, a book that discusses a potential plan for Universal Basic Income (UBI), a prominent policy that has taken center stage in the 2020 election. Andrew Yang, former Democratic presidential candidate and proponent of UBI, writes the foreword. And Bob Worsley, former Arizona state senator, in The Horseshoe Virus: How the Anti-Immigration Movement Spread from Left-Wing to Right-Wing America traces the origins of anti-immigration sentiment in the United States and urges for a return from extremism.

The Rise of Alternative Publishing

After hitting a home run with his first book, why would Trump Jr., or other respected authors, choose a non-traditional pathway to publishing this time around? Some reasons include:

  • Speed to market. With the November presidential election looming, the time is ripe for political books. Trump Jr. turned his book around from draft to printed book in a matter of months, whereas traditional publishing usually takes at least a year.
  • Creative control. Self-publishing means Trump Jr. can produce his book the way he wants it, without editorial or design interference. He’s beholden only to himself, and that means he can write anything (including typos on his book cover) and has total creative liberty.
  • Potentially greater financial upside. Trump Jr. reportedly turned down the advance Hachette offered for Liberal Privilege. However, if he’s able to leverage his audience, he’ll do just fine with this second book and will receive a much high royalty percentage than he would have otherwise.

Access to readers is key for self-publishing and hybrid publishing success and has long been the biggest obstacle to self-publishing in the past. Author platforms don’t get bigger than Trump Jr.’s 5.5 million Twitter followers (not to mention his father’s 85.7 million). Trump Jr. has access to his readers and the counter-establishment mindset to reach them. RealClear Publishing’s platform taps into RealClearPolitics’s political news audience to make waves with its titles.

Of course, the appeal of traditional publishing has been high editorial quality, access to bookstores, and robust marketing support. But ever since Amazon came onto the scene in the early 2000s and rocked the publishing world, no longer is the only legitimate way to get an author’s book read by going traditional (and dealing with literary agents, acquisition editors, and bookstore buyers). Now anyone can upload a PDF to their CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing services and create a sellable book.

The rules are different now, and Trump Jr. is just the latest in a long string of authors finding publishing success by pursuing alternative routes.

Here are a few others:

But it’s important to draw a clear distinction between Trump Jr.’s approach to self-publishing versus the average self-published author. Trump Jr. likely retained experts to help him throughout the editorial, design, and printing steps of the publishing process, essentially opting into the hybrid publishing model. These are some critical book production tasks many self-published authors either neglect or don’t have the resources to do well.

The hybrid publishing model offers high editorial quality, premium book packaging, and widespread marketing and distribution, while keeping the advantages offered by self-publishing, such as copyright ownership. RealClear Publishing follows the hybrid model to give authors the combination of creative control and publishing industry knowledge. Typically, the hybrid model works best with authors who (1) are authorities in their field but want the advice of book experts, (2) ready to leverage their own emerging or established platforms for success, and (3) ready to be part of a collaborative experience.

To break away from the pack, authors used to have to chase traditional publishers for a book deal. Now, with alternate respected publishing pathways, there are new ways to remain prominent in the 2020 election discussion.

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Phone: 703-437-3584|
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