Self-publishing platform Pronoun launches

Self-publishing platform Pronoun launches

Pronoun, a new self-publishing platform backed by venture capitalist firms, has launched.

Formed in May, the platform brings together the "technology, data, and expertise" developed by multimedia publishing platform, Vook; data and analytics platform, Booklr; and short-form e-book publisher, Byliner.

The New York-based company will enable authors to create their own “professionally designed” e-books, “instantly” distribute to all major retail channels including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and access Pronoun’s network of vetted professional service providers, including editors, cover designers, copy editors and publicists, the company said.

Backed by several venture capital firms including Avalon Ventures, Floodgate, Tribeca Venture Partners and VantagePoint Capital Partners, it allows authors to control their work and rights and receive 100% of their earnings.

Pronoun is able to offer services to independent authors free of charge because it powers the publishing programs of large media companies including The New York Times, Forbes, and Fast Company, which are paying partners. Although the company may offer optional paid services or tools in the future, a spokesperson said: "The focus right now is on making the core publishing services the best they can be, and those will always remain free," a spokesperson told The Bookseller.

Josh Brody, chief executive officer of Pronoun, said he thought the publishing industry treated authors like "cogs in its machine – not as the creative foundation upon which their long-standing businesses are built."

He added that Pronoun puts authors "at the heart of every decision we make as we invest in the power of technology to transform this market."

Ben Zhuk, chief product officer at Pronoun, added: “We’re clearing away more than a hundred years of dust that has settled on the publishing industry and its business model. Over the past few years, our team built a platform that respects everything we love about books, but embraces the new reality of how people discover, purchase and read them."

Vook was launched in 2009 as an "easy-to-use" e-book and interactive content production company. It has published over 6,000 titles to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo. Vook was rebranded as Pronoun in May this year.

Booklr’s data and analytics engine tracks performance, customer behavior, and pricing statistics on over 5 million books each day. It is used by book publishing companies including Penguin Random House. It was acquired by Vook in 2014.

Vook acquired Byliner in 2014 as its first in-house imprint following rumours Byliner was struggling financially. Byliner has published original titles and backlist stories from bestselling authors like Jon Krakauer, Jodi Picoult, and Nick Hornby.

Pronoun secured $3.5m in funding from Avalon Ventures earlier this year.