Publishizer Explains Crowd-publishing
Publishizer is a ‘crowd-publishing’ platform that challenges the traditional publishing model. They attempt to do this by giving authors support through the submissions process, and uniting them with interested publishers directly. Rachel chatted to Guy Vincent, Publishizer’s CEO, to find out how it works and why might it appeal to indie authors.
R: Publishizer aims to match up authors’ manuscripts with interested publishers. Can you give us a bit more information about how this process works?
G: All authors are welcome! All you need is a book proposal, which can be submitted using our book proposal template. If you’re a fiction author, you’ll need a manuscript handy for interested publishers. After submitting your proposal, one of our editors will work with you on your proposal to ensure it’s ready for readers and publishers. Then, you launch a 45-day pre-orders campaign, where more pre-orders result in more interested publishers. Interested publishers message you directly and at the end of the campaign, you select the best publisher to work with, and receive your campaign funds minus fees. Authors walk away with 70% of campaign funds, plus a publisher. We call this process crowd-publishing.
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R: How, if at all, do you feel Publishizer fits into the crowdfunding landscape?
G: Publishizer started out as a plain vanilla crowdfunding platform for authors. I was working at a book printing company in Singapore and many of my friends wanted to publish books but couldn’t afford printing. That’s how the idea started. We soon realised many of our authors were struggling with self-publishing, and simply wanted to have choices around working with a publisher, or choosing to self-publish if it makes more sense for them. So, the idea came to match authors with publishers during the crowdfunding campaign, where authors can rally a community of early readers and publishers can also gauge demand for a book. We’re the first company to blend crowdfunding with the services of a literary agent. We don’t consider ourselves a literary agent, since we don’t take a cut of advances or royalties. As advances are declining, especially for first time authors, I believe crowdfunding offers a seriously viable alternative to the traditional literary agent model.
R: What do you envisage the next steps being for Publisher?
G: First, we’re aggressively growing our publishers list from hundreds to thousands of publishers. We’re seeing the magic and potential of crowd-publishing accelerate as our publisher list grows. In the meantime, we’re starting a ‘book accelerator’ programme, where we take batches of authors from book proposal to publishing deal in eight weeks, which has experienced great success so far. In 2017, we’re launching the world’s first book proposal contests, on topics like LGBTQ literature, psychedelic journalism, magical realism, young adult, thrillers and sci-fi/fantasy. We’re aiming to hit our first $1 000 000 milestone early next year and move the company to Brooklyn in New York, so we can work more closely with authors, publishers and players in the industry. We envisage Publishizer re-imagining the literary agent in the age of platforms and algorithms, and delivering crowd-publishing with a personal touch and friendly service. Also, the founder of CouchSurfing, Casey Fenton, is launching a campaign early next year for The CouchSurfing Story: Changing the world one couch at a time, which I’m super excited about as it will open doors for us to work with traditional publishers.
R: I’d love to hear more about your own experiences of self-publishing. The background story on your blog is very entertaining! Apart from beer money, what attracted you to self-publishing in the first place?
G: It’s been a wild ride. While studying at university, I wanted to publish a book about early rising, since it was something I was experimenting with myself so I saw potential for it, and I also thought it would be cool. I self-published using some nasty sales copy on a website, and sold it as a PDF. It was a huge learning curve, and many friends wanted help publishing their own book too. As destiny had it, this experience qualified me to land a job starting up the digital division of a book printing company in Singapore. I met many independent authors wanting to publish children’s books, cookbooks, art books, novels and more, but they often lacked the money for the printing. So I quit my job, moved to India and began work on building Publishizer with Martin, a German engineer I met in Singapore, and his partner Tobi. We’re still working together and in the meantime we’ve been building Publishizer from Thailand, Bali, Mexico and Peru, as well as spending six months in Silicon Valley. It’s been an incredible journey. All because of that early rising ebook!
R: Finally, what would be your top tip to anyone thinking of self-publishing?
G: Self-publishing has opened doors to so many incredible opportunities for creativity and innovation in the publishing industry. I also think self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Our goal with Publishizer is simply to bring as many choices to authors as possible, including self-publishing companies (we call them service publishers), hybrid publishers, independent presses and possibly traditional imprints, to allow authors to choose the best publishing path for them. My top tip for all authors would be to think of your book as a startup, and yourself as an entrepreneur. This mindset sets the stage for success, where you accept responsibility for your own success or failure. This idea is the foundation of the book accelerator, which prepares authors for book marketing experiments, testing, rapid learning, and figuring out what is the most effective way to connect with their audience. Authors who treat their book as a startup will inevitably have a more successful, enjoyable and rewarding publishing experience.
Publishizer is on Twitter if you’d like to get in touch.