New York Startup: PubSlush Crowdfunding Book Publishing For Good
Kyle / July 20, 2012
Writers and authors take heed we found an awesome startup in New York called Pubslush. Not only do they have an uber cool name but what they do is fantastic. We actually get amped up when we find a startup that has a unique idea that doesn’t fall under one of the normal categories like SoLoMo or discovery. Pubslush is a publishing platform for authors to crowdsource the funds that they need to actually publish their works. Pubslush is building up a healthy following of people who love to read, write and check out new books from new authors. Sure there are authors out there crowdfunding their books on KickStarter and Indiegogo but with PubSlush there’s another great incentive. With every book sold through Pubslush they donate a book to a child in need. This is perfect for the slacktivist set. You know the type, the people who buy Tom’s because they donate a pair of shoes to charity. Well PubSlush is even better. They’re putting more physical books in the world. Needy children are reading books and passing them along to the other children around them. Great idea right? Pubslush has a trifecta of problem solving. New authors are getting their works read. Authors are also getting their works funded and books are going to people in need. Add in the fact that Pubslush is putting more books out there in the world at a time when print publishing is down thanks to the advent of e-readers, tablets, Amazon and iPads. We got a chance to talk with Amanda Barbara the development director at Pubslush in the interview below: What is Pubslush? Pubslush is a global publishing platform. Authors raise funds and gauge theaudience for new book ideas, and trendsetting readers pledge their support to bring books to life. Our publishing arm, powered by readers, acquires books from
this platform, and for every book we sell, we donate a book to a child in need. Pubslush combines the crowd sourcing power of American Idol and the philanthropy of TOMS Shoes. We are creating a company that is all about giving; giving an opportunity to authors, giving a voice to readers, and giving books to children without access to literature. Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds? Jesse Potash, our founder, is a social entrepreneur with experience in finance and intellectual human rights development. Prior to Pubslush, he founded and directed College Corps NY, an organization connecting college students with NGOs focused on international development and human rights. He has a BBA in Finance from Baruch College in New York City, and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Summer Venture in Management Program. His professional experience is primarily in finance, but also encompasses advertising, publishing, and fashion. Hellen Barbara, our president, a philanthropist and educator, Hellen’s endeavors are broad and accomplished. She has an MS in Education from Hofstra University and a BBA in International Management from Pace University. She is the founder and former president of For the Kids Foundation, a nonprofit focused on education improvement in New York. Where are you based? Pubslush is based in Manhattan but is a mobile company. We pride ourselves on being able to work from anywhereand always keep the line of communication open between our team and our writers. Our days are constantly changing and you need to be able to take on any role at any time. I think the thing I love most about working for a start-up is the feeling that your opinion matters and you can make a difference. What’s the startup culture/scene like where you are based? The startup culture in NY is amazing. It’s in full force and people that were working in fashion, advertising, and finance 5 years ago are now working at startups. I think NY based startups have a unique energy, fueled by the city, that I
haven’t encountered in other places. Everyone comes from such varied backgrounds and the only common denominator is intelligence. It’s a group of people committed to innovation across every field. Do you have access to all the resources you need where you are based? Well of course New York has everything you could ever need, and more. But basing ourselves in NY is more of a personal preference. Professionally I believe we could thrive anywhere. How did you come up with the idea for Pubslush? Pubslush was inspired from the flaws and bureaucracy in the publishing industry’s talent discovery process. Our founder, Jesse Potash, is a huge JK Rowling fan and was appalled when he learned of her struggle to get published. He was motivated to reimagine the existing models of the industry with an unbiased and innovative mindset. Of course, Pubslush is also a tribute to the TOMS Shoes one-for-one movement. By implementing this giving model, we re able to create a sustainable nonprofit brand. What problem does Pubslush solve? Pubslush will allow authors, agents, and publishers to trend towards a more informed publishing process. Publishing is such a guessing game, but it no longer has to be. By using data science, and attaching a financial value in the form of crowdfunding, publishing will benefit immensely. The reality is, if a book can’t establish a considerable audience and funding in advance of publication, it probably isn’t going to be the next Harry Potter. I hope that Pubslush will do for publishing what American Idol did for music and Threadless did for fashion by reintroducing readers back into the publishing equation. Also, I hope Pubslush will increase the professional quality of self-published books. Self-publishing is fantastic because it’s so accessible, but the quality often suffers because of financial restrictions and lack of knowledge. Pubslush provides the solution.
What’s one dilemma you’re having in the startup process? One of the trickiest parts of a startup is establishing business relationships with people and companies that share the same values and work ethic. In the beginning we weren’t in a position to know who those people were, but after some trial and error we’ve been able to establish a truly incredible and competent team of professionals. What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process? When you’re a start up, you have a vision but you have no way of knowing what the end result will be. When we launched last September, we were just a publishing company with a mission to invigorate publishing to be more democratic and philanthropic. Since then, we’ve paid attention to what our authors and readers want and what the most beneficial ways to help them are. As we evolve from our beta phase, our concept needs of our members. The challenge was to landscape while staying true to the vision of committed to providing a platform for authors platform available to all authors. What’s next for Pubslush? We are currently in the process of relaunching our website. Pubslush will now be the perfect, risk-free way to gain visibility in an over saturated market, whether authors want to self-publish or be traditionally published. We will provide the tools to know exactly who your audience is and if there is a market for your work. The goal of the platform is to help authors publish successfully, regardless of the route they choose. Authors will be free to use the funds they raise to self- publish, or as proof of a successful Pubslush campaign to entice agents and publishers. Most importantly, Pubslush will be exclusively for books. We will provide the resources to help any author bring their book to fruition. Authors are able to become a part of a major movement that supports literacy initiatives, new authors, new book ideas, and reader involvement! Additionally, we will continue to operate a crowdsourced, philanthropic publishing imprint. By acquiring high potential books exclusively will evolve as well to reflect the adapt to a changing publishing the company. Pubslush remains and will transition to make that
from the platform, readers decide what books get published. For every book sold, a children’s book is donated to a child in need.