Amanda Barbara cofounder of Pubslush: Crowdfunding for the Literary World

Amanda L. Barbara

Amanda Barbara co-founder of Pubslush says she can help authors publish more books.

Amanda Barbara is the co-founder of Pubslush, a crowd funding platform connecting aspiring authors and book lovers.

Today she shares how she and her mom started their company, and also why she wants to help writers publish more books.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Pubslush all about?

Pubslush is a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. Authors and literary trendsetters can raise funds and gauge audience response for books and other literary-based projects while supporters make financial pledges, bringing projects to life. By offering publishers and industry professionals their own unique pages, Pubslush gives these innovators the power of customized crowdfunding. Highly-rated personalized service and focus on user education helps to ensure campaigners are as successful as possible. Pubslush’s niche community bridges the gap between writers, readers, publishers and industry leaders, facilitating a more open and comprehensive publishing process. The Pubslush Foundation was established to promote social good and serves to aid in the fight against illiteracy by providing books to children with limited access to literature.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?

My mom, Hellen Barbara, and I started Pubslush. We both had business background but really relied on our advisory board to help us identify the problems in publishing and help us narrow our goals.

The idea for Pubslush is a direct tribute to J.K. Rowling. We were shocked to learn that 12 publishers rejected her first Harry Potter book. Upon further investigation, we learned many bestselling books were rejected, which means countless bestsellers might never reach the shelves. As with all creative projects, writers can’t share their work without monetary backing. We felt the publishing industry was lacking a niche way for authors to fund the publishing projects, so we decided to fill that void. Enter Pubslush.

Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?

Currently, Pubslush is expanding its doors more broadly to the publishing and literary world. Starting May 1st, Pubslush will expand the types of projects we accept to include all literary projects. Our campaign pages have been redesigned to support any type of crowdfunding project that is not a written book. These projects may include philanthropic causes, mobile apps, newsletters, screenplays guest speaking engagements, and any other project that is related to the literary world.

Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?

Pubslush is a global company that can accept projects from anywhere in the world. We plan to grow to accept many other currencies as well as branch into multilingual sites. We just launched Pubslush UK on April 1st and will be accepting the pound sterling currency moving forward as well as US Dollars. Canadian and Australian currencies are the next we hope to incorporate into our site.

Q: What was the top mistake you made starting your business, and what did you learn from it?

When we first launched Pubslush in September 2011, our platform was different. Pubslush was the publisher, and if an author reached 1,000 pre-orders in 30 days, we published the book. Ultimately, we felt that it closed our doors from working with many great people. After realizing that the platform wasn’t the best it could be, we reworked our idea to develop a more effective Pubslush process for all. I learned that just because the initial idea didn’t work, it didn’t mean the company had failed.

Q: Please share some advice for new entrepreneurs, someone who’s just starting out.

Be very frugal. Run your business on a bare bones budget. You don’t need a huge PR firm or corporate web development team. Build an organic company and a team that believes in your mission. Be loyal to those who help you grow and stand by your side in the beginning.

Q: What was the best business advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?

I was meeting with an investment banker friend who reminded me the importance of being really strong and good at what you do and stay focused. Don’t lose sight of your goal and the best way to achieve it. Trying to grow too big, too quickly, with multiple avenues in your business model will spread you too thin. Pubslush today is focused on being a personalized crowdfunding platform for the literary world.

Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?

In order to better understand and connect with our target audience, we utilize a variety of online analytic tools such as Hootsuite, Manage Flitter and Google Analytics. Google Analytics gives us a broad understanding of key user demographics. We are also able to gain important site statistics such as how long these users are staying on our site, how often they return and the purpose of them coming to our site (are they perusing or simply coming to read a particular article or visit a campaign). Having this data allows us to continually improve and customize our content to meet our reader’s needs.

Aside from this, we find that most of our engagement and promotion is done via Twitter. That being said, we use Hootsuite to schedule posts based on our marketing calendar and Manage Flitter to breakdown when and what to tweet to be most effective. A feature we love on Manage Flitter is the audience breakdown, which allows us to see who are most influential twitter users are, who frequently tweets and what accounts are inactive. It is important to invest time and money into analytic tools as it helps you to maintain a better grasp on your target audience as well as how to effectively engage.

Q: What’s your definition of success?

Success (n): the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

Success is very hard to measure because there are always different levels of success to achieve. Every day we have little mini achievements in our office and having a great team contributes to feeling successful. Our platform inspired an author who lost her son to finally publish her book in his memory. That was a great success moment. Of course I would love for our company to be mentioned in big media like NPR books or LA Times. But for now, we are helping people and making steps toward our ultimate goal.

Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?

(1)   – Lean In: Sheryl Sandberg

(2)   – Lean Startup: Eric Ries

(3)  – How to Sell Your Book like Wildfire: Rob Eager

Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?

My absolute favorite quote from Steve Jobs,

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Q: How can our community get in touch with you?

If you want to get in touch we can be reached at hello@pubslush.com but also connect with us on some of our social media outlets:

Twitter: @Pubslush

Facebook.com/Pubslush