How to accelerate your book sales and making publishing a community experience
by Lee Constantine
Book geek turned startup founder goes through 500 Startups Batch 13 and brings the family-like approach to the first ever book accelerator program, poised to give authors a better publishing experience.
The family-like experience was created by being among awesome people. Because it’s curated and hand-selected, you feel a part of something special. Struggling, succeeding and learning together reinforces powerfully deep bonds.
Seed accelerators, also known as startup accelerators, are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day.
Mimic this idea onto publishing and consider the key players:
- Founders into authors
- Startup idea into book idea
- Investors into publishers
- Funding into advances
- Customer sales into book sales
- Seed funds into campaign funds
- Demo pitch into query letter
- Mentors into publishing team
How it works
Just like a startup accelerator increases in value over time, through the quality of their founders, investors, mentors and team, a book accelerator also increases in value through the quality of their authors, publishers, mentors and team.
Authors apply to be part of the program, or a batch lasting a few months, in which they obtain mentorship, publisher connections and investment, usually in exchange for a small fee only if they obtain a minimum number of book sales in the first 30 days. The accelerator program hopes to enable exciting new book ideas and of course help authors land an advance-paying publisher.
The secret sauce of any accelerator
To enable the big wins, an accelerator must create a cycle — a good accelerator will attract great authors and book ideas, which will in turn attract strong publishers and subsequently lead to higher book sales and a better publishing experience, which will just repeat the cycle of attracting better authors and publishers. Paul Lee, partner at Lightbank, backs this notion.
In accordance with this rule, Publishizer is drastically cutting down the amount of authors they take on. I’m talking about going from fifty per month to just ten. And they are not just taking on any author who applies to the program or submits a proposal. These are carefully vetted authors, often times hand-picked or recruited, and who stand the best chances of completing a successful book launch and landing a major publishing deal.
We save the publishing community time and make book deals and advances more efficient for them.” — Guy Vincent, Founder/CEO at Pubishizer.com
Book accelerators may share with the other institutions that support book authors the goal of cultivating early-stage book ideas, but it is clear that they are different, with distinctly different business models and incentive structures.
**Publishizer is the only book accelerator at the moment
Why are accelerators appealing
This question was posed to Brad Feld, a cofounder of TechStars, and he likened the accelerator experience to immersive education, where a period of intense, focused attention provides company founders an opportunity to learn at a rapid pace. Learning-by-doing is vital to the process of scaling ventures, and the point of accelerators, suggests Feld and others, is to accelerate that process. In this way, founders compress years’ worth of learning into a period of a few months.
Have you ever heard that the most lucrative books are backed byentrepreneurial authors who treat their books like a startup? Imagine this immersive education and intense, focused attention when applied to an author’s book idea.
“I’m not in it for the vanity. I’m in it for impact.” — Kristyna Z., CEO, Author
These authors test things, learn and then test again. Entrepreneurial authors are realizing that you can break the rules of publishing, hack growth and redefine what it means to be a successful book author. These are the types of authors who apply to the book accelerator program at Publishizer. These are the types of authors who stand the best chances of having standout success and spreading their message with more of the world. These are the types of authors whom other authors want to work with, side-by-side.
It’s validation and credibility of your idea. It’s a right of passage.
— Gregory Nicholas, AngelPad Graduate, Author
Entering an accelerator without a product is like going to a car race with a bicycle. You have to have something to accelerate. Authors usually have many book ideas; a.k.a. products, prototypes. These need testing and validating to ensure market fit and potential to scale. Rapid experimentation and hacking some sales is the best way to validate an idea in the short term. What authors learn at Publishizer they will be able to execute immediately, and the connections they make will last a lifetime.
Elizabeth Yin, Investor at 500 Startups, Batch 2 graduate and former CEO of LaunchBit, acquired, told us ,“The 500 Startups accelerator program has changed a lot over the years, but one thing that has remained the same is the 500 family. When I went through the program, I got to be close with some of my batch-mates, many of whom helped me throughout the growth of my company, and whom I’m still friends with today.”
What if you could launch your book side-by-side
with Stu Krieger (screenwriter of The Land Before Time with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, first-time novelist), Lucas Carlson(raised $10.5m, was featured in bestselling book The Lean Entrepreneur, now fiction thriller writer), Lydia Lee (founder of Screw the Cubicle with growing support all over the world, including Tim Ferriss), and other successful authors and entrepreneurs in your cohort?
What if you had their support in reaching your sales goals, your publishing goals and your personal life goals that come via a successful book launch? What if this is the community, the family, that brings your book and your publishing path to the next level?
To summarize [delicately], accelerators can have a positive effect on performance.
— Ian Hathaway, Harvard Business Review, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution
So far, 500 Startups has invested $100 million in over 50 countries and in 1,000 investments over the past five years. The firm (and it is now a firm) has had 18 accelerator cohorts, which have graduated over 400 individuals. All of that investment activity has produced 2 “unicorn” companies worth over $1 billion and 25 “centaurs” (a term that McClure applies to the companies that exit at roughly $100 million).
To model any accelerator program after 500 Startups is quite ambitious — especially when they are 2 for 1,000 (instead of 2 for 10) and can include the word ‘billion’ in any given sentence.
But does this mean Publishizer should treat their authors as investments? As cohorts to be ‘graduated’ from this accelerator program? Do they plan to invest in ten authors a month and then hope two unicorns are produced?
Well, kinda. But more on that later…
If this resonates with you and the book you’re writing (or thinking of writing),we’d love to have you apply.