The old model is dead, reports Porter Anderson. And he is right.
So what are we going to do about it?
I have to confess, I am flattered. As a young company, we have to work hard to get noticed. And yet this week we got mentioned by Porter Anderson in the Bookseller. Nor were we merely mentioned in passing; he was bothered by us. Enough to take a screenshot of our cute home page. (Thanks for noticing and no, I am not being sarcastic!)
Anderson, like many who love books — enough to drop promising careers in order to dedicate our lives to publishing — is frustrated.
And I get that so well, for who isn’t? I am so frustrated with the current state of affairs that I put aside comfort and security to found a company. The simple mission: bring the publishing industry in line with the digital era. Make it a win-win industry. Use the internet to bring power to the community.
Anderson points out how many of the publishing startups are focused on taking money from writers, rather than giving money to them.
That is true, and here is why:
The publishing industry is saturated, and that is the same for most creative industries. There are way too many talented people in this world and they all have a story to tell.
It is not news that publishing houses cannot possibly cater for the new trend created by this surplus of writers. The shift we currently have is that writers are no longer mere providers; they are also consumers. Some people would rather pay for publishing services than watch their manuscripts rot in their drawer.
And that is where companies such as FicShelf come into play. Startups are born out of a problem. An existing need. Any serious publishing startup couldn’t possibility ignore the needs of self-publishing writers.
Our first task, therefore, is to help these writers to have a shot at making their books as competitive as any other in this extremely crowded market.
Most writers are aware of the importance of professional publishing services, but good editors and cover designers do not come cheap. The reason that many promising manuscripts lack the finesse needed to achieve success is often due to lack of funding, and not lack of talent.
So we have added our funding platform as a feature of our marketplace, so that authors can reach out to their network and beyond in order to fund their art. Patronage. If it worked for Michelangelo, why shouldn’t it work for us?
But by no means is this all that our company is about.
A very successful writer whom I respect said today: “Writers are an intelligent bunch. It is up to them to choose what is better for them”.
Because we know how true that statement is, we work hard to make sure that our solution is not only cute, but also that it does what it is meant to do.
We have set out to bring the publishing world in line with the digital era, but we are doing that by respecting traditional practices and social trends. We are concerned with visibility, promotion and sales. We are not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but neither are we cobbling together some kind of half-baked digital version of traditional publishing. Because the internet changes everything when it comes to how an author can reach readers, funders and yes, partners too.
Building such an ambitious platform takes time. We will get there though, and soon, because we too are very frustrated, and that frustration fuels us. So we invite Porter to drop us a line — we would love to have a chat — and we invite everyone — writers, readers, and publishing professionals — to join us on our journey.
CEO @ FicShelf