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Connecting authors and publishers with the world`s best publishing professionals to create high-quality books

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Reedsy (Connecting authors and publishers with the world`s best publishing professionals to create high-quality books)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-07-31

In the last decade the publishing industry has undergone fundamental shifts via the application of digital technologies, which led to parts of both the content design and production processes to be fundamentally transformed. The changes have been driven mainly by the needs of publishers to adapt to changing reader tastes and sales processes, on example of which, is the shift to eBooks sales at the expense of traditional paperbacks. However, one important stakeholder in this creative industry process, the authors, both established and new, were largely left out of the process, resulting in the
development of publisher-centric platforms.

At the same time, the applications of digital technologies led to an increase in the number of self-publishing platforms: (i) established authors were increasingly frustrated that they were not being consulted, as publishers rushing to harness a digital-first future, and resented both the consequent lack of the loss of editorial control and the ever higher royalties requested by these publishers to recoup their digital technology investments; and (ii) new authors felt that established publishers, with the need to recoup their investments had become too risk-averse and were too quick to refuse books from new authors.

For all their advantages, there are several issues with existing self-publishing platforms, that are major drawbacks, even today: (i) Marketing and promotion remain the author’s responsibility. With approximately 1,4m books published each year on Amazon Kindle Store alone, most books, remain largely unnoticed; (ii) Online book editing is still, not possible. Authors must make changes offline and upload the modified texts as a ‘new-version’, making reconciliation, track, trace and editing, very difficult, (iii) Reviewers and critics ignore most self-published books, as they are unsure of the Quality process undertaken and wait till an authoritative 3rd party vouches for a published tome and (iv) while Supporting tools, such as formatting toolbars, offer a poor user experience.

As a result, most self-publishing authors do not get their book properly edited or do not work with a cover designer to create a good jacket that is attractive for readers. Lastly, they often lack a marketing strategy to make a difference in today’s competitive environment. As a result, they are inclined to introduce a product to the marketplace that lacks polish and underperforms.

Reedsy is the world’s only curated self-publishing digital marketplace, connecting authors with the world`s best freelance publishing professionals, who, working together collaboratively, using Reedsy’s well-integrated set of online editing and publishing tools, can create high-quality books, beautifully designed and typeset, and promote them to a wide audience through multiple channels. It is the only digital marketplace from Europe of its kind that can compete with the major global publishing platforms such as Amazon, offering high quality self-publishing at a competitive cost point, and thereby enabling both (i) the growth of Europe’s creative economy in this creative industry pillar and (ii) supporting Europe’s authors and creative minds to find a global audience in a hyper-competitive publishing world.

The purpose of the project is to refine the functionalities of the platform and scale up through partnership building activities – two of the foundations of Reedsy’s success and expansion plan.
In relation to its Technical Objectives, Reedsy has: (a) Developed and Launched a new Version the MarketPlace, (b) Developed and Launch a new Version of the Book Editor, (c) Deployed Reedsy for Publishers, (d) Launched Reedsy Discovery

Regarding its Exploitation, Reedsy has: (a) Increased its user-base from 10,500 to more than 105,000 in August 2018; A growth of 976% for the entire duration of the project.(b) Improved marketplace conversion and analysis: The company’s objective was to improve its conversion rate through better search on the marketplace, smart recommendations and better reactivation of users, reaching a 55% conversion rate between requests for services and actual collaborations. (C) Increased its Partner network, achieved through a robust communication planning, including notable success stories, such as its Partnership and Integration with a prominent book distribution platform which offers Reedsy users the opportunity to have their books printed and distributed, (ii) Reedsy's Affiliate Partner Program with online influencers making a significant impact, as well as (iii) Sponsorships of large writing competition worldwide providing significant exposure and visibility, as well as incoming customers. The product improvements and the commercialisation efforts have yielded considerable results. We have been collecting reviews from our users about their experience on the Marketplace, achieving a NPScore of 82.93%, showing that customers love Reedsy.
As a digital marketplace for self-publishing is a part of Europe`s Creative Industries cluster. In particular, Reedsy’s innovation of digital technology for independent publishing makes possible the crucial connection between authors and renowned professionals (for example: editors, designers, marketers), which would otherwise, be difficult for most newly established indie authors to achieve. Creative Industry innovation like the Reedsy platform are encompassed in the EU’s “creative economy” concept. This concept helps us assess their impact on the global economy. Creative industries, currently account for 3% of the world`s GDP or $2,250 billion in revenues.

With regard to its stakeholders, the impact of the project is unchanged and as such, Reedsy meets the needs of:

a. Authors: Reedsy offers all-in-one publishing services to Authors. Via the Marketplace, Authors have at their disposal top professionals in editing, design and marketing. Reedsy provides, upfront, full-stack estimates to authors via analytics of average costs per type of service: editing, design or marketing. Overall, Reedsy contributes to decreasing the price-quality ratio for authors by supporting a competitive market for professionals. With higher competition, the quotes requested for their service will fully correspond to the quality offered. These analytics helps authors understand the range of fair price for their requests and lets professionals price themselves appropriately vis-à-vis the competition.
b. Freelance publishing professionals: For freelance publishing professionals, Reedsy represents an exponentially growing pool of customers that are in need of services. Top professionals are promoted on the Reedsy Marketplace increasing the amount that an experienced freelancer can make. Whilst only the top 1% of applicants have currently access to the online platform to market their services; those professionals that have access to the marketplace can benefit from a high increase in the work they receive and their revenues, as well as in the working tools with which they can work with.
c. Benefits for publishers: Reedsy for Publishers, is a suite of tools designed to work in synergy with the Book Editor, facilitating the direct collaboration between publishers and professionals, and enabling to create and manage teams of in-house employees for a quicker and optimized publishing process. To publishers, Reedsy will offer the possibility of increasing their number of titles published and their revenues.