By R.J. Huneke
Continuing the exclusive interview with the publishing revolutionary Pentian’s founder and CEO Enrique Parrilla, he felt the need for a publisher-crowdsourcing hybrid became evident when frustrated authors were repeatedly being given less-than-fair treatment.
This is why Pentian purchases the right of first refusal publishing rights, but does not try to tie up authors in long-term contracts that forfeit much of their percentage of royalties and rights.
In the last article, I touched upon an author who had two successful books for a big publishing house and was refused any attempt at producing his next work, despite a huge following of avid readers; that author was Andres Gonzalez-Barba, and his novel Titania’s Dream is one of Pentian’s flagship titles.
When Pentian’s projects are picked up the investors in the book benefit from it for three years.
But it should be noted that an author could always buy out the invested partners, should they deem that a more lucrative option as the book flies off shelves. The point is that the author has far more rights retained and options, even when it is funded on Pentian.
As Mr. Parrilla says, the investment in a potential best-seller smash hit is a ”powerful incentive to find backers.”
Some of the readers and entrepreneurs funding projects are so fervently behind books they believe in that they will donate more money than they can benefit from.
Enrique has watched some donors “do the hundred dollar package three times,” even when they can only cash in on a reward once.
Mr. Parrilla was certainly happy with that fandom adding, “we’re not sure why [they do it]. We never asked why.”
Passion is a driving factor.
Even with a dream of furthering the international market by breaking into the United States, Pentian’s new disruptive invention was met with some hurdles, especially from the FCC as the word “investor” cropped up in the crowdfunding platform.
Enrique said that the “FCC concerns of investment” and regulation required a lot of hard work to get the right system in place along with the right “legal framework,” the right team, capacity, and connections to launch in a compliant and successful manner.
And the day of Pentian going online in the US has commenced, bringing a flurry of excitement with it across the Atlantic.
In as little as a month a book can be put together and printed in the highest quality formats.
“Make it look good,” said Enrique. “That means that unfortunately we have to look at everything that comes in [to publish] and many get politely declined.
“This is NOT Createspace where your book looks like crap, and they’re like ‘sorry.’”
Pentian has printing partnerships throughout the world, including Ingram International (which handles distribution as well), and the emphasis is first on quality and second on speed.
This is possible because of Pentian’s extraordinary business model.
Pentian has partnered with the very international printers and distributers, like Ingram, that have the resources to put a hardback on every shelf in the world (or at least close to it).
“You can sell a million copies of your book, one book at a time,” said Mr. Parrilla.
The agreements with industry companies for a print-on-demand platform puts the typical publisher’s year long (or often times even longer) turn around time to shame.
The antique process is one that the traditional “Big Five” publishers have held to for decades, despite increasing technological prowess, because there is so much red tape, handled by so many hands, that slows the book making process to a crawl. Plus, why should they bother to increase their turn-around times – the authors did not have a choice if they wanted their books distributed to the market.
Authors have a choice, as Pentian has cut out the red tape.
Since Pentian’s model is already thriving, it is clear that if you cut the fat from the bureaucratic mechanisms that bloat the larger publishing houses in the industry that you can put professional products on the market, at less cost, in a much more timely manner.
“Authors are primarily concerned with getting their book out tomorrow,” says Mr. Parrilla, “once the book is on the market, it’s on Amazon Kindle . . . it’s in Barnes & Noble . . . and then the author can decide to spend a thousand dollars . . . or a 100K [on marketing].”
Media and marketing comes after a book has been fully funded, and is being printed and put on the market.
Pentian also offers professional options to help authors advertise their product and feed their readership with fanfare.
But Mr. Parrilla is adamant that “quality comes first” at Pentian. Books are made the best they can be.
Great works are selected, put in the crowdsourcing engine, and the world determines if there is a commercial market to justify their funding for printing and distributing.
The process continues far after Pentian puts a book on the market, however.
For instance, Pentian works closely with Apple‘s e-book store. Every 2 weeks Pentian talks to Apple about what is selling well, what the trends are, to feature that book on their e-book platform.
Anything can take off.
Graphic novels have solidified 4-6% of the books funded on Pentian, and a host of quality children’s books are also doing well.
Part of the beauty of the fairness to Pentian’s model is that a book on a subject, like agoraphobia, which would never be deemed to have enough of a commercial market to get printed by a traditional publishing house, has a chance to test the market.
And as Mr. Parrilla remarked was put out on bookshelves and proceeded to do extremely well as a “theme of interest to what we call a great minority.”
When the subject resonates with an audience across the world, in Chile for instance, Apple downloads of the agoraphobia e-book from Pentian goes through the roof.
Another reason for Pentian enthusiasm from the authors’ community is that a longtime success with a huge fan-base, like Spanish sportscaster Gaspar Rosetty, does not have to settle for pennies per book sold from a traditional publishing deal on royalties.
Pentian is currently hosting Rosetty’s The Alchemists’ Night [La Noche De Los Alquimistas] for funding, but remember once it reaches 100% there will be no more chances to crowdfund the title.
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