Everyone knows at this point that the traditional publishing industry is in trouble. Between ebooks and ereaders and the whole internet in general, the old-school paper and ink book backed by a major publisher seems to be going the way of the illuminated manuscript.
While I’m definitely a little bummed about this trend (personally, I love “real” books), I’m also excited to see what crops up in the gap left by the major publishing houses when they fall.
One startup that’s getting the jump on that trend is Publisher Free. Their goal is to support writers, famous or not, by providing a platform on which they can anonymously publish their work and get paid for it. Publisher Free aims to be for literature what YouTube is for video… an open democracy with free access for all.
How does it work?
Publisher Free employs a “pay as you read” system. Books are written and published piece by piece, as each piece is produced and funded. Readers choose whether or not they want to compensate the writers through a crowdfunding system.
The writer releases the work in “bites” – the first bite is free for all readers to access – and then the readers declare whether or not they want to see the next part by dedicating funds. Once the writer has reached her funding goal, she can publish the next piece.
Writers can also set their own prices for their work, which can be zero if that is their preference. In that context, crowdfunding is optional.
Interactive reading and writing
In traditional publishing, an author writes a book, publishes it, and may or may not get feedback in the form of reviews. If the book isn’t a hit, chances are they’ll never hear what the public thinks of it. Maybe people love it (and maybe they hate it), but there are few avenues for the author to find out what’s working and what isn’t.
With Publisher Free, however, the readers can send direct feedback to the writers throughout the process of the book being written. Not so into that character introduced in chapter three? Think the setting is a little unbelievable? Want the author to focus more on grammar? With Publisher Free, you can let the author know and potentially change the course of their work.
You’re not only supporting one writer…
Publisher Free gives 80% of the money raised directly to the author and 5% to “organizations that support the role of literature in our society.” That means that your donation goes the extra mile toward making sure that even if traditional publishing dies, literature will stay alive.
Whether you’re an aspiring writer, an established author, or just a reader looking to discover something new, head on over to Publisher Free and check out what they’ve got. Connect with Publisher Free on Facebook and Twitter for updates and more information.