How Startups Are Changing the Book Publishing Industry

As an author, people have told me time and time again, “You’re getting into a dying field!” Of course, this naturally makes me want to run for this hills, but what I’ve learned is that I don’t have to. The publishing industry isn’t what it once was and with the rise of self-publishing, hybrid publishing and social media, almost anyone can be an author these days. But there are two main problems authors who aren't signed with a traditional publisher face today: funding and marketing. Thanks to new startups in the publishing world, those problems now come with new solutions. 

Crowdfunding Your Book

While most authors have a knack for writing, they don’t know much about funding. That’s where Pubslush enters the picture. Pubslush is similar to the Kickstarter platform, but specifically for authors who want to crowdfund their books. The idea for the company was inspired by great writers like J.K. Rowling and many other authors who had a hard time getting published. In addition to helping authors raise money and awareness for their books, Pubslush also donates a children's book to a child in need for every book sold–a concept inspired by the TOMS business model. “Publishing a book is not cheap,” said Amanda Barbara, Development Director for Pubslush. Barbara goes on to say, “Self-publishing is easy but being successful is not. Pubslush gives you the tools you need to be successful: access to capital, information about your initial audience so you can market effectively, and resources to navigate the publishing industry.” Pubslush helps authors build book campaigns by allowing them to submit summaries and samples of their work. They then promote their books to readers who financially support their favorite submissions, in exchange for a reward like a first edition or digital preview. The company also operates an independent publishing imprint and acquires books exclusively from the site, providing authors with the opportunity to get published. “New technology is greatly influencing publishing,” Barbara says. “Pubslush has introduced advanced analytics for authors so they can gain insight about their supporters, including: age, gender, geography, traffic source, and more. This information will help authors market their books by providing concrete information about their target readership. If authors wish to approach an agent, this information will be extremely helpful for demonstrating who their audiences are.”

Spreading the Word

I’m fortunate enough to have a background in marketing that helped tremendously when I began promoting my book series, Shy Town Girls, with my coauthors—but that’s not the case for most authors. There are more tools for marketing and selling than ever before. Authors, along with publishers, need to figure out how to effectively wrap their efforts around the most important tools by taking a more holistic approach to their online promotions and sales. I recently caught up with Joshua Cohen, one of the co-founder’s of the start-up Ganxy, who helps authors promote their books by creating showcases. “Think of a showcase as a kind of vending machine for digital content that can be put on any website,” Cohen said. “The showcase makes it simple for any author, publisher, or musician to sell their digital content directly to audiences. With this, they can avoid investing resources into building and maintaining sub-par shopping cart systems.” Cohen added that the role of the author has become even more crucial in terms of promoting a book. This applies not only to self-published authors, but also to authors who have signed with traditional publishers. He also mentioned that connecting with customers, understanding what they do, and using them as a basis for marketing efforts have become crucial components for every marketing strategy.

What’s the future of publishing? Collaboration.

Self-publishing a book (i.e. marketing, designing, editing, etc.) is not a skill everyone has, or has the time to do. Net Minds is a new concept that allows authors and publishing professionals to work together. Whether you have an idea for a book or the skills needed to create one, you can find a team of people to fill in the missing skill gaps. “While self-publishing is cheap and quick, it often leads to low-quality work because the author doesn't have a great team working on the book,” said Tim Sanders, CEO of Net Minds. “Our service provides an alternative: team publishing." Remember those group projects in college? Well, Net Minds is essentially creating your own group project—except you get to pick who’s in your group. You can either create a book proposal and invite graphic and web designers, editors, and marketers to join your project, or they can express interest in joining yours. You then negotiate the details of the project and agree on compensation. I love this idea because it gives authors the support they need from people who want to help them. So, authors and aspiring authors, if you want to get your story out there, be sure to connect with these three new publishing resources that will help turn your book idea into a reality.