October 14, 2014 Last Updated 8:50 am

Book self-publishing services site, Reedsy, opens up its user profile pages of early members

Each Monday (and very often on Tuesday!) TNM looks at books and book publishing – either a new book on the publishing industry, a new digital book release, or industry news 

The self-publishing book publishing website Reedsy today opened up access to its member profile pages, essentially becoming open for business. I know this because the site wisely informed me I could create my member profile page – a lesson for many tech companies of the value of media contacts (are you listening Microsoft, et al?).

Reedsyprofile-tnmThe idea behind the site, which launched in early September, is to assist in book self-publishing efforts – an area of exploding growth. Launched by Emmanuel Nataf, Richard Fayet, Matthew Cobb, and Vincent Durant, and with seed money from from Seedcamp and Scottish publisher DC Thomson, the site allows authors to find help with their book design and editing.

“Authors, whether they’re self-published or traditionally published, are only as good as the people they work with,” Ricardo said in the company’s launch announcement last month. “Being a great writer is just one part of succeeding as an independent. In a few weeks, we will be opening to authors, and letting them connect with our network of freelancers.”

Reedsy has sent out beta invitations to freelancers and authors to get them to sign up for the service. As of today there are 93 freelancers listed under editing available to assist authors, though one guesses that number will increase quickly.

The monetization part, if you are interested, comes when reeds takes a ten percent cut of the transactions.

The real idea behind Reedsy is an old one, to be a disrupter of the traditional process in any industry. The company’s founders, Fayet and Nataf, are way to young to have know much at all about the book publishing industry (and, in fact, have never worked in it) but that would be irrelevant to their business, which is to set up an online tool for authors. They found a need and are filling it.

The end game here seems pretty obvious: sell out to a self-publishing house (Amazon, Blurb, etc.), though right now I am sure they are just looking to get those first transactions under their belt and build up a reputation.

Is there a need for this? Absolutely! The number of self-published books (both print and digital) is growing, while at the same time the quality of many of these books is atrocious. Best of luck, Reedsy, it’s launch day.

A couple of years ago I could have imagined a similar service launched for digital magazines. A number of new companies were created offering digital publishing services that take the potential publisher’s PDF files in order to launch a digital magazine app into the Apple Newsstand (some offer Google Play apps, as well).

But the quality of these digital magazines is only as good as the ability of the publisher to design. The result has been a flood of poorly executed new digital magazines. Not a week goes by that I don’t get solicited to look at one of these new titles. I abstain as there is little to say about them (they are PDFs, right?), and if I did writing something I would have to add that the quality of the work was poor.

Design is hard. I know this because I am a publisher, not an art director, and I am always struggling to make sure the eBooks and digital magazines TNMDM has been producing is at least at an acceptable level. To do this, I’ve often partnered with others on the design work (or, as in the case of the Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms, consulted with designers to seek their opinion of fonts, page designs, etc.)

I doubt there is a business for such services for self-published digital (or print) magazines, but if there is one, it could be as an additional service of companies such as Reedsy (or Blurb, which has gotten into the short-run print magazine business).

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