The hybrid publishing model has increasingly become an efficient and empowering first choice for emerging authors eager to get their books into the hands of readers. And with offices in New York City, London, Cambridge, and Sharjah, Austin Macauley is at the forefront of the international hybrid publishing landscape. Recognizing that no two books or authors are the same, Austin Macauley takes a personalized approach to each project while offering a full range of author services, including editing, design, and distribution. Jade Robertson, international publishing director at Austin Macauley, spoke with PW about the benefits of hybrid publishing, recent book highlights, and how Austin Macauley is meeting the demand for today’s authors.

Austin Macauley embraces a unique hybrid publishing model. Explain what you offer authors and why publishing with Austin Macauley is an ideal option for writers.

At Austin Macauley, we believe in the free movement of writers being able to tell their stories and share their knowledge across a variety of topics. Having an open submissions policy allows us to support local and new emerging authors that have credible, well-written stories but have not been given the opportunity to highlight their titles in the market. Our hybrid publishing model gives us the option to offer both contributory and non-contributory contracts. Every manuscript submitted is reviewed by our editorial team; after this, we either offer a contract or decline the opportunity to publish the work.

All contracts include paperback and e-book formats. We also publish audiobook and hardback editions. Royalty rates for hybrid publishers are in line with, or even higher than, average.

From typesetting, editing, and design to distribution and marketing, a contract with Austin Macauley includes the essentials needed to enhance the potential of each title. Once the work in production has been finalized, a publication date is assigned. The marketing team creates a strategy tailored to the title that includes targeted pitches for promotion in the media, in-store stockings, events, and reviews. Austin Macauley has a wide reach through international distribution, and we continually strive to enhance accessibility to the titles we publish.

We are also members of well-recognized associations such as the Publishers Association (U.K.) and Emirates Publishers Association (UAE), which represent our commitment to adopting professional hybrid publishing practices that benefit authors.

You’ve had a very eventful five years! Tell me about how Austin Macauley Publishers has grown and evolved.

In 2017, we opened offices in New York and Sharjah. This has given us wider access to different markets and incredible opportunities to also publish in Arabic languages.

Internationally, we have broadened our familiarity with different markets through attendance at key international exhibitions: Austin Macauley now attends more than 14 exhibitions around the globe.

Understanding the importance of accessibility, we have onboarded a multitude of new suppliers and emerging subscription sites over recent years to enhance awareness of our e-books and audiobooks. We were delighted to be the official book licensee for World Expo 2020 and published the Expo 2020 Dubai Mascots Activity Book, which was available across the six-month-long exhibition. We are proud to give back to local and international communities by donating to several charities, including the Book Trade Charity and Book Aid, as well as to a number of local schools.

In 2021, we won gold at the SME National Business Awards in the business innovation category for our new CRM system—which we designed to enhance communication with our authors—as well as a silver award for employer of the year.

We continually gauge interest with authors at an international level when selecting titles, which strengthens the diversity of our catalog. In 2021, we published The Moving Type, a book created by 122 authors and illustrators across the globe during the pandemic. All proceeds are donated to the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

We have published many fantastic books over the past five years, but to name a few: Author Latii Xi’s, Inspirational Poems and Thoughts Over the Current Times is a poignant poetry collection. All proceeds of this title are donated to Dubai Care, an organization dedicated to providing access to education for children in developing countries. The Caterpillar and the Butterfly by Michael Rosenblum is a children’s title that introduces young readers to a caterpillar named Fear. A chance encounter with a wise butterfly named Faith helps Fear find the courage to experience the world in a bolder and more joyful way.

Lastly, we published Emirates: Nothing Is Impossible by Giovanni Bozzetti, a leading Italian expert in internationalization processes toward the Middle East.

This year, we are due to establish a sustainability initiative on our websites. With each order, we donate to One Tree Planted, a charity that helps to plant trees around the world.

How does Austin Macauley personalize its approach to publishing each book?

Our titles range from children’s and young adult to an array of fiction and educational nonfiction. At AMP, we take an author-centric approach to each published title; we recognize that requirements and strategies differ from book to book. Each book has a personalized marketing strategy that is not limited to traditional practices. Our digital and marketing teams keep up with trending marketing techniques, such as the use of social media platforms like TikTok to promote titles.

Are there any limits to what you publish?

We are reasonably and understandably selective. Our books are our pride and reputation; therefore, we must ensure that every title we publish has not only commercial potential but also meets internal parameters. When looking at a book, we consider narrative structure, attention to plot and characters, quality of the writing, and awareness of the readership and audience. To ensure this, we also have the help of a proactive production department whose members provide an extensive editing process. Due to also having an office in the UAE, titles must be in line with National Media Council guidelines surrounding topics.

Can you share a few of your upcoming titles?

Kasie Kennedy, author of Grandpa Is Now in Heaven, will release a second book in the series, Grandma Is Now in Heaven. It’s a heartfelt children’s book that explores the experience of loss and grief in young children.

Bestselling non-contributory author and relationship expert, Annabelle Knight, has a third erotica/romance release with us, The Matchmaker’s Match. Annabelle will also be the official love expert on the upcoming Love Island series in the UK, so we are very much looking forward to releasing her next book.

Lastly, we are looking forward to releasing a new children's book in partnership with The Big Heart Foundation written by a Syrian refugee working in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. It teaches the importance of reading to children and the joys any child can have from picking up a good book.

How is Austin Macauley investing in both new and previously published authors?

We have published many talented authors and produced respectably selling books. Our talented marketing team members have relationships with a large network of bookstores, media, and distributors, all working toward the aim of increasing circulation and sales for our authors. We actively sell and have sold rights on behalf of our authors around the globe. Accessibility is paramount; therefore, we continually look at developing a wider readership for our titles through additional distribution and marketing opportunities.

What are your plans for expanding your national and global presence going forward?

We are always looking for new opportunities for our authors to gain the recognition they deserve. That means exploring new markets and sources of revenue for them. As we represent a very diverse catalog, we plan to continue developing relationships in GCC markets! We also have plans to translate selected titles into Spanish.

This story has been updated.