Winner of Echelon 2014 Singapore Satellite, Publishizer is a crowdfunding platform for authors; it helps gauge demand, as well as solicit pre-orders
Are you an author struggling to get your book printed by traditional publishing firms? Now, thanks to digital technology, a writer has a range of options.
Publishizer, a Kickstarter for books, is a crowdfunding platform for authors to solicit pre-orders from the community and gauge demand for the work. They can use Publishizer as a springboard to self-publish or leverage on it to negotiate a deal with a publisher.
The platform can print hardback and premium edition for books, in addition to publishing e-books. Authors have the freedom to set their own funding goals for their books.
The Publishizer story began in 2009 when Vincent was curious about the rise of e-books. He self-published an e-book called ‘Waking Up Early’, and sold it via Google AdWords. Despite doing well, he wanted a better way for it. His early experiments in using Publishizer on a blogging platform failed and the idea was on the back-burner until he realised the potential of the crowdfunding model, while he was working for Tien Wah Press. He subsequently quit that job, and started Publishizer.
When asked if his experience working in a traditional printing firm inspired the idea for Publishizer, Vincent stated that though there was little inspiration, he met great people in that organisation. His e-book division was doing well, but he felt that the “stifling weekly sales reports and cubicle life was crushing (his) spirits”.
The Founder said that building a startup is the hardest thing he’s ever done, and the most rewarding. He quoted Paul Graham of Y Combinator in saying, “Building a startup hurts.” He elaborated that it hurts, financially, emotionally and physically; it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to build a startup alone.
Vincent was previously a solo Founder, but later took in his engineers, Martin and Tobi, as Co-founders, when they impressed him with their work on the minimum viable platform, streamlining many less important features.
So far, Publishizer has sold over 2000 different books, and garnered US$75,000 in pre-orders. Majority of this has been in the past three months. It is holding back on a bigger push until operations are streamlined further.
Prominently, best-selling author Scott Bales decided to use this platform, as well as serve as an advisor for the business. His book, Mobile Ready, achieved much more than its funding goal, breaking previous records at US$28,865 and 868 pre-orders.
Singapore is a small market in terms of self-published output, so the team would have look to bigger markets, primarily the United States. Though Vincent says that Singapore is an excellent environment for startups, ones like Publishizer should have a focus on international expansion right from the start. He foresees managing this transition as a massive challenge, and one that he is looking forward to undertake.
The firm is looking to expand presence in Southeast Asia, Australia and the United States.
Publishizer is also geared up for its next main product release — the book proposal builder. This will guide users step-by-step through the process of crafting an awesome 5000-word book proposal, he shared.
“Winning the Echelon Singapore satellite is a milestone. We’re looking forward to showcasing Publishizer to the audience at Echelon in June. e27 team is doing amazing work for the startup scene in Asia; they’re right at the forefront, and we feel honoured to be pitching at Echelon 2014,” concluded Vincent.
Echelon 2014 is a two-day Startup, Technology and Business event where Asia’s most innovative startups, early-stage investors and tech industry leaders as well as tech media, gather to celebrate and build Asia’s growing tech industry, as well as make valuable relationships.