It is not an overstatement to say that the internet revolutionised the publishing industry. Whereas once before writers were limited to selling their books in brick and mortar stores and physical copies as the only way readers can engage with their work, now virtual offerings are available to all. In turn, self-publishing has exploded in popularity and evolved from being the last resort for writers unable to secure a publishing deal, to the first port of call due to the autonomy and freedom it provides.
But with such a myriad of information available online for writers looking to self-publish, it can be far too easy to get lost in the weeds and bogged down in deciding which path to pursue as opposed to actually making a plan and taking action. It makes sense then, that a number of companies now offer self-publishing secures to help writers on their journey, in what is often referred to as the ‘Hybrid Publishing’ model. But much like the various options involved in self-publishing, the Hybrid Publishing model is so popular that it can be hard for writers to ascertain which companies' services are the best available.
Therefore, this review will aim to break down and analyse one company's offerings, Mindstir Media, to provide writers with clear insight as to what they do and whether or not they are worth considering.
What is Mindstir Media?
MindStir Media™️ is a self-publishing company operating under the hybrid publishing model that aims to help people from all walks of life self-publish, distribute and market their books. They have experience self-publishing books on Amazon and other retail outlets in virtually every genre. They have published a number of bestsellers and some of their notable projects include books by Sho Kosugi, Arnold Kane and Don Miller.
They are also ranked number 1 among self-publishing websites & best self-publishing companies as per Penny Matters and BestTechie whilst also partnering with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and actress/author Mariel Hemingway. Their number 1 status, however, should be taken with a pinch of salt, as various review sites and list aggregators hold different rankings so it is best to not consider these claims as gospel.
Authors at MindStir Media receive ongoing mentoring from USA Today/Wall Street Journal bestselling author & MindStir Media founder J. J. Hebert. As well as this, a dedicated, friendly author representative (aka project manager) is also assigned to every MindStir author to help with the book publishing process. They also provide book designers, editors, illustrators and marketing experts to authors who require services rendered by those professionals. MindStir authors retain their publishing rights — and copyright — and enjoy royalty rates from 50-100%. Books published by MindStir Media are available through renowned booksellers such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and thousands of other retailers in over 100 different countries.
What packages are available to Writers?
Mindstir Media offers a number of different package options for writers looking to use their services. A full breakdown of these can be found below.
Custom Package – This is the introductory package that comes with their professional custom book design service, meaning writers receive a one-of-a-kind front/back cover and interior according to their vision. This service does not use pre-designed cover templates or themes, everything is custom and original. They also provide exclusive mentoring from a bestselling author; unlimited image insertions; back cover copy editing; ISBN and barcode; global book distribution; one-on-one support; quarterly royalties. $2999
Pro Package – Everything in the Custom Package plus the following upgrades and extras;
⁃ Author sets retail price
⁃ Author sets wholesale discount
⁃ 10 free copies
⁃ Higher paperback & ebook royalty rate
⁃ Author website ($1500 value)
⁃ Press release creation and distribution to NBC, CBS and FOX websites ($799 value)
Gold Package – Everything in the Pro Package plus the following extras and upgrades;
⁃ Professional proofreading of your entire manuscript ($2000 value)
⁃ More free copies
⁃ A higher royalty rate
⁃ Paperback return program ($500 value)
Platinum Package – Everything in the Gold Package plus the following extras and upgrades;
⁃ More free paperback copies
⁃ 100% paperback royalties ($1000 value)
⁃ 100% ebook royalties ($1000 value)
⁃ Social Media Publicist program ($1500 value)
Emerald Package – Everything in the Platinum Package plus the following extras and upgrades;
• Google advertising for 60 days ($1000 value)
• 5 guaranteed author interviews ($600 value)
Endorsed Package – Everything in the Emerald Package plus the following extras and upgrades;
⁃ Twitter Blast to 500k Twitter followers ($1500 value)
⁃ An endorsement/blurb from USA Today bestselling author J.J. Hebert
⁃ Ingram iPage listing advertising your book to thousands of booksellers and librarians ($1500 value)
As well as the above there are various other endorsement package options as well as similar packages for non e-Book services such as hardcover.
What are the alternatives to Mindstir Media?
Broadly speaking there are three main alternatives to working with Mindstir Media.
The first of these would be to work with another hybrid publishing company. A writer may consider this if they think that their work is better aligned with a company due to things like location, price points, ethos or genre published.
The second option would be to pursue a traditional publisher/writer relationship, whereby they submit a manuscript or proposal to a publisher and await to see if it is accepted. This route can be lucrative both financially as well as the prestige that comes with such an option but the competition is fierce and ultimately leaves the fate of the writer and their work in others' hands.
Finally, a writer may continue to pursue self-publishing but instead of utilising a company such as Mindstir Media for their expertise and services, feels they are able to go it completely alone. This naturally places more responsibility and pressure on the writer but the lack of any fees combined with complete creative control regarding the schedule and their own work makes this incredibly attractive.
Ultimately each writer will be best served by weighing up the pros and cons of each in tandem with their key aims to ascertain which is best.
Mindstir Media Review – Final Thoughts
In conclusion, Mindstir Media operates at the centre of the hybrid publishing world. Their services are exactly what you would expect a company like theirs in to offer and there is a reassuring confidence and familiarity with how they operate. However, there are a couple of things that should give every writer food for thought when evaluating their options.
The first of these being the price point, with all of their packages costing at least four figures and the upper tier being five, this is a considerable expense that many writers will simply not be in a position to afford.
Moreover, there are a number of claims that do appear grandiose or exaggerated which naturally creates some doubt or at the very least the feeling that a writer is being sold to as opposed to partnered with.
The best course of action then may be to expire Mindstir Media’s services via their free consultation as advertised on their website. This would provide a no risk opportunity to have a more in depth discussion that wouldn’t result in any commitment from the writer.
Many writers may however feel that even this step is unnecessary due to the price points of the packages on offer and therefore may be best placed to pursue self-publishing in another form.