I recently spoke to Amanda Barbara, creator of Pubslush, about the niche crowdfunding site for authors and publishers. The future of crowdfunding is in these niche platforms that create a vibrant ecosystem.
As a voracious reader, Amanda saw great talents pushed into a slush pile of manuscripts. Books such as Harry Potter and The Help were rejected multiple times before their discovery and massive success.
Amanda’s mission was to reduce the slush pile by allowing authors to put their manuscript or excerpt online and make the process “more democratic”. She compares it to American Idol in that the readers get invested in the authors so when they do publish, they already have an audience.
How It Works
Like many new-generation crowdfunding platforms, Pubslush does more than offer a way to raise money for a project. Amanda and her team strive to promote social good, something that she defines as “people donating to a cause, or someone or thing they believe in.” Pubslush provides support and advice to authors to create a following, and provides resources and advice for getting an editor or literary agent.
Campaigns offer a preorder tool for authors to gain momentum and allow them to start marketing the book before getting a publishing deal, and to start getting reviews to create buzz. It also allows them to provide samples to readers to get them hooked on a story and want to read more.
The Pubslush team also provides moral support for authors whose campaigns are slow. One campaign for a children’s picture book was 30 days in and hadn’t raised any funds. The team reached out to the creator and found that he hadn’t told anyone about his crowdfunding campaign because he felt like he was asking for charity. They gave him “out of the box” ideas for rewards, and within 10 hours of changing his mindset and offering rewards, he went from $0 to $1000. That story really illustrates that you can’t give in to fear. People want to support you and stand behind you.
Pubslush has attracted the attention of companies in the publishing industry that love their mission. The company is launching community pages that allow publishers and industry leaders to create customized pages to provide crowdfunding for their authors, and showcase other authors from similar genres that expose readers to new authors. By keeping it fresh, readers continually come back to see great new books.
The site really stands out for its niche community and support for each other. Rather than authors competing for support, the team believes that support for each other leads to good crowdfunding karma. “Readers are always going to keep reading”, says Amanda. So any readers that an author attracts to the site are exposed to other authors in similar genres and that’s what Pubslush tries to do…create social good and promote reading.
To listen to the entire interview click here.