I have been on record many times saying that Ash Davies, founder of publishing startup Tablo is upping the ante in his market.
Earlier this year, he closed a funding round of $400,000 which had a list of impressive names attached, including Paul Reining, former CEO of Catch Group, Kevin Hale, Partner at Y Combinator, and John Buck, one of Tablo’s most successful authors who reinvested his books’ earnings into the business. The seed funding followed some pretty amazing organic growth of the company. Currently Tablo has over 10,000 authors on the platform from 100 different countries.
The lessons Davies learned at AngelCube, a mentor driven startup accelerator in 2013, have obviously faired the young CEO well – particularly in his execution in the area of user growth and joint partnerships.
Closing a strategic partnership that is of real value with any publisher in Australia is a feat unto itself, Davies has managed to do just that with Australian Publishing House, Pan Macmillan.
The publisher, which is responsible for publishing works from people such as Waleed Aly, Ben Cousins, Mark Donaldson, Pete Evans and many other authors from all genres, has entered into a partnership with Tablo through the digital arm of its business called Momentum.
“This is a huge opportunity for emerging authors. Every author has a level playing field and the passion of readers will decide which books have the chance to be published,” said Davies in a media release.
In a nutshell, they are looking to crowd source the next ‘best selling’ author via the platform. Beginning November 1st, writers from around the globe using the platform to write their 50,000 novels, on any genre, will be monitored by Tablo, with a focus on readers and followers. At the end of the month, Tablo will put forward the five most popular and promising works to Momentum for assessment.
Joel Naoum, Momentum’s publisher, says the partnership with the Aussie startup was an exciting next step for them, as they look for new ways to discover talented authors in the digital age.
This is shaking things up across the publishing sector in a couple of ways. The first and quite obvious one is that many publishers and producers of content have a strict no solicitation code and the second is that publishers are able to build relationships with up-and-coming authors before they have even finished their manuscripts – a feature that Tablo is well aware makes it stand out in the crowd.
But Tablo and Pan Macmillan are not the only companies in publishing trying the crowdsourced approach. In fact, this week, Amazon announced its new crowdsourced publishing venture Kindle Scout.
The premise of this new service from retail giant Amazon, will enable would-be authors to submit their novels to Kindle Scout for readers to peruse, who can then vote whether or not Amazon’s e-book publishing company, Kindle Press, should publish them as e-books. This ‘e-book’ proposition is the exact same play that Momentum uses for publishing. In terms of revenue for authors, both are royalty based with Amazon paying a small advance of US$1500.
Tablo and Amazon, are both in the game of democratising an industry, that until now has been extraordinary hard for the general public to break into. Much in the same way Youtube has uncovered new superstars and Instagram has uncovered new models and ambassadors for products, Tablo definitely has the potential to be THAT application for authors.
The synergy between a company like Tablo and Amazon revolves around the feature that allows users to follow authors and the books as they are being written as opposed to them being published. This ‘social’ aspect is something that Amazon are advocates for, as seen in its recent strategies around Amazon Prime and Amazon Studios – its arms for creating Internet TV content and movies.
Amazon allows users to follow and interact with the projects as they are being vetted and then created, listening to their feedback and building up a legion of loyal fans that will then consume and share the content once it is finished. Examples include the critically acclaimed Amazon Prime shows Transparent, BETAS and Alpha House.
As part of this, Amazon has also launched two new tech plays called Amazon Storybuilder and Amazon Storyteller that allow content creators to plan and write scripts, create and map storyboards and develop characters.
That is why Tablo and Amazon will probably be chatting one day, Davies has created a technology that places itself well in Amazon’s grand plans around all things content.