William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before becoming published. Several of Isaac Asimov’s stories were rejected, never sold, or eventually lost. Agatha Christie had to wait four years for her first book to be published. Madeline L’Engle’s masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time faced rejection 26 times before willing the Newberry Medal. Chicken Soup for the Soul received 134 rejections. Marcel Proust was rejected so much he decided to pay for publication himself.
While inspiring, it begs the question: how many talented novelists gave up at rejection number 15? Or 40? Or even 60?
Clearly, there’s something a bit off between what publishers regard as worthy and what people want to read. Enter: PUBSLUSH Press, a full service publisher that has adopted crowdsourced funding models like Kickstarter and applied them to the publishing industry. PUBSLUSH even has a brilliant TOM’s Shoes charity model baked in. For every book sold, a book is donated to a child in need.
Here’s how it works: Authors upload a sample of their work to the website and then users read, share, and support what they’d like to see published. If it reaches 2,000 unique supporters, PUBSLUSH publishes it as a full service publisher.
Check out this beautiful video with music by Explosions in the Sky illustrating the PUBSLUSH cause.
The privately funded company was founded by Jesse Potash, who launched the site at the end of this past August. Since launch, PUBSLUSH has gained around 1,000 users through word of mouth. The company says it’s in the process of finalizing “some exciting partnerships with literature focused websites and top writing workshops.”
PUBSLUSH will publish titles in printed and digital formats. “While we plan to place a huge focus on ebooks, we believe printed books have significant value, particularly in establishing visibility to increase online sales. We think it’s equally important to make sure all of our authors have a presence in brick and mortar as well as click and mortar retailers,” says Erin Eber, the Community Manager at PUBLUSH.
Social media is key to the PUBSLUSH experience, allowing authors to fully exploit their online presence to specifically benefit their current writing projects. On every book page, users are able to share the book with practically anyone with one click. And on author profile pages, authors can import all of their virtual selves into a central venue so their Twitter feed, Tumblr, Facebook, blogs, etc., will be displayed directly on their profiles. PUBSLUSH is also engaging in a partnership with Odyl, a social marketing platform for publishers and authors wanting to better market themselves in social media, which will essentially permit PUBSLUSH to exist within the Facebook infrastructure, allowing Facebook users to access and browse book projects.
While several projects on the site are gaining momentum, no book ideas have reached full support yet. Unlike Kickstarter which asks for video submissions, PUBSLUSH author profiles are a bit bare. But the logic and infrastructure is there, and I’m very excited to throw up an idea for a book on the site.