Innovation That Matters

Crowdsourcing site helps publishers find new authors

Publishing & Media

Back in 2008 we wrote about Authonomy, HarperCollins’s Sellaband-like effort to recruit the crowds to help spot the next bestseller. Suggesting the concept may be starting to stick, a new Dutch website has teamed up with not one but three book publishers on a crowdsourced effort to choose what gets published next. Aspiring writers register for free on TenPages and post the first 10 pages or more of their book. Those pages then become viewable to the site’s prospective shareholders, who can buy up to 200 shares in any book for EUR 5 each; a widget is available to help them promote their favourites among their own social networks. The books that sell 2,000 shares during the four months they remain active on the site—garnering EUR 10,000—get put into production at one of TenPages’ partner publishers, which include Pearson, The Workers Press and The House of Books. Authors get paid EUR 1,000 from the initial funds raised, while the remainder is held over for publishing and promoting the final book. The author then has eight months to write the tome with the help of a professional editor. For books that don’t sell 2,000 shares after four months, investors get 80 percent of their money back. The site accepts submissions in virtually all genres with the exception of science books, it says. Following publication, authors earn standard royalties of 10 percent, while publishers earn 30 percent. Shareholders as a group earn 10 percent for up to four years, divided according to the number of shares they bought; in addition, their names appear in the back of the published books they helped discover. Will this become the new model for publishing? Time will tell. In the meantime, one to watch! (Related: Crowd-finding the next blockbuster.) Spotted by: Daniel Ogertschnig



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