Pronoun, a self-publishing system that aims to help authors get their books edited and printed, is beginning the long road to making it easier for self-published authors to get noticed. First stop? Getting authors onto the platform.
The company, founded by Josh Brody and Ben Zhuk, raised $3.5 million in June to create books that people will read. The goal is noble: by bringing all of the tools authors need into one place the team hopes to ensure that self-published books will maintain the quality and readability of traditionally published work.
“Pronoun is different because it’s the only platform that gives authors everything they need to create and publish their book, track its performance, and improve its online visibility over time,” said Brody. “Second, we’re the only platform that performs data analysis on the entire book market to help every author position their book for maximum visibility. Third, we bring together a network of professional service providers – editors, cover designers, and publicists – all of whom have been endorsed by authors and vetted by Pronoun. Finally, it’s all free.”
Brody is the founder of Booklr, a company that supplied data and analytics for the book industry. They currently have 3,000 authors on the platform as well as 150 service providers. The providers ensure that the content coming out of the site is up to snuff and does not contain typis.
“There are two prevalent models in book publishing: traditional and self-publishing. We’re competing with options that have long underserved, disappointed, and taken advantage of authors,” said Brody. “Many companies have some overlap with what we do. Traditional publishers take care of everything needed for publication, but also take ownership of the author’s rights, the vast majority of their earnings, and the control an author would need to help their own book in the market – if you’re a mid-list author, it’s very hard to get a publisher to fix a small mistake in your book’s online description, much less to change it to better connect with your readers.”
“For authors who self-publish, many companies charge to perform one or another of the many steps that are needed to get a book to readers. This complex ecosystem of providers, who charge vastly different and often large amounts for confusingly overlapping services, makes self-publishing a hard and intimidating prospect for most authors.”
Pronoun offers the best of both worlds and will also put your book onto all major book stores. It also offers promotion optimization and meta-data updates.
“In the past five years, we’ve seen first-hand the challenges and intricacies of publishing books in a digital world,” he said. “Though publishing is filled with people who care deeply about books, the industry always privileges someone above the author — whether it’s the retailer, the distributor, or the publisher. When there’s a conflict of interest, the author loses. When margins increase, the author is the last to benefit.”
Will Pronoun be able to pull off everything it promises? There’s no telling but Brody has a established track record and the industry is ripe for disruption and/or destruction. So far authors can request their own public URLs and prepare for a experience that may or may not finally punch a hot poker into the benighted publishing industry. Here’s hoping.