Three questions for…Jesse Potash

Pubslush shifts from crowdfunded publisher to crowdfunded publishing platform

1. It’s been awhile since we interviewed you about Pubslush. How is the business going and what have you learned over the past year?

We’ve been in beta for the last several months and have just relaunched the site after processing all of the amazing feedback from our community. We’ve transitioned from primarily being a crowdfunded publisher to primarily being a crowdfunded publishing platform. One of the biggest lessons we learned was that given the plethora of publishing options available to authors, we needed to fine tune our concept to be a risk free starting point that facilitates success no matter the publishing route.

2. So there’s a “new and improved” Pubslush now. What are the key differences between it and the previous version of the service?

The most important difference is that Pubslush is now an independent platform open to authors, agents, and publishers to raise funds and understand the market for new book ideas. The process is simple:

  1. Authors build a book campaign, submitting a summary and sample of their work, and setting a fundraising goal and reward levels.
  2. Readers financially support their favorite submissions, in exchange for a reward (like a first edition, digital preview, etc.).
  3. Authors raise money and use supporter analytics to publish via any publishing route they prefer.

Fundraising on Pubslush can be used simply to mitigate financial risk and afford professional publishing services (marketing, editing, design, etc.) or to replace increasingly scarce advances. With the proliferation of low quality, self-published content, the need to produce a high quality product is pressing, and requires significant expenditure. Though perhaps most importantly, fundraising on Pubslush can be used to attach a financial value to market feedback. By using Pubslush to collect preorders, for instance, authors and their proxies can tangibly measure demand for their book. Meaning that other demand measurement methods (ie. Facebook “likes” or email lists) that lack financial association are less valuable. Having 40,000 subscribers to a blog is fantastic, but what’s it actually worth? Pubslush provides the answer.

Market analytics are equally as important on Pubslush. The question, “who is your audience” is ubiquitous in publishing, and we aim to answer this in advance of publication. By using Pubslush before actually publishing a book, authors, agents, and publishers can produce books with built in demand and collect valuable information about the initial market that would otherwise be inaccessible. This includes information such as age, gender, referral traffic, click through rates, and geography, enabling a more targeted, advanced marketing campaign. Actionable insights about initial audience will undoubtedly help sell more books and decrease costs by eliminating futile marketing efforts. The platform also encourages readers to leave feedback for books and allows authors to survey their audience much like a focus group.

Simply, Pubslush is a risk free platform that facilitates an informed publishing process.

3. Tell us about the Pubslush Foundation. How does it work and who benefits from it?

Our heart, the Pubslush Foundation, is the nonprofit component committed to aiding children’s literacy initiatives worldwide. We operate an independent publishing imprint powered by readers, and for every book we sell, we donate a children’s book to a child in need. In addition, we allow independent authors using the site to elect to donate a portion of their proceeds raised to our foundation and we’ve seen an incredibly positive response. We work with established giving partners to understand the literacy needs of their children, and provide books, relevant resources, and logistical support accordingly. We never donate our own books. Also, our work is punctuated by a focus on digital publishing technology, specifically through the distribution of ereaders when appropriate. Our first giving partner is an orphanage in Kenya, Flying Kites, and we are also in the process of planning programs with partners in Brazil and Israel.

Jesse Potash is the founder of Pubslush.

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