Yes, it was too good to be true – a magical place where authors could easily self-publish their indie books to the Big 5: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Kobo and Barnes & Noble with a simple click of a button and for FREE. It was called Pronoun.

And then MacMillan purchased it and 18 months later it was shut down.

What to do? Let’s talk about how this happened, the dangers of relying on such great services and what you should do instead.


Hi, everyone. I’m Lisa, and I wanted to go over the dangers of being tied to any particular cloud-based software for where you store book content and what you use for conversion and for publishings.

If you hadn’t noticed, Pronoun went out of business. Pronoun had so much promise. If you don’t know what Pronoun is, it started out as a cloud-based application, where you could take your book and you could publish it to all five publishers for free. Let me repeat that, it was free. Now, don’t get too excited because they’re gone. But they would publish your book to Amazon, Apple, Google Play, Kobo, and I’m missing one … Barnes and Noble, so all the five major ones. Not everywhere in the whole world, but you would be able to publish your book through them with just a click of the button and because they didn’t take anything from you, it was advertised as an author-first service, where they just wanted to help authors.

They received about $3.5 million in venture funding about this time last year, so they were definitely on the way up. As soon as they received that funding, they were purchased by MacMillan. I believe that was summer of 2016. So everyone was really excited. I mean, MacMillan own this, right. MacMillan is huge. Now, if you don’t know who they are, MacMillan is a publisher owned by the Holtzbrinck Company, and the Holtzbrinck Company is a group of publishing houses in the UK. Holtzbrinck is listed, I believe that it’s the number 15 or 16, according to publishers weekly, for publishers around the world, and they made $1.2 billion last year, so it’s not a small company.

There were some authors that were affected more because they had some royalties that were being set up through their premium imprint, but for the most part, other people just no longer have a place to publish their books, which also means that all the reviews that they received for those books are now also gone, for the most part. I think Amazon will carry your reviews over, but the rest of them, you just have to start again from scratch. So it’s another reason that I really love self-publishing and, you know, once you publish that book under your own imprint it is yours. You don’t have to worry about, unless you want to go out of business yourself, or losing any of that material.

This brings up a really good point because you’ve heard me, in the past, recommend Reedsy. Reedsy won’t publish your book for you, but I store pretty much all of my book material on Reedsy and they convert it for you for free. It’s a free service, just like Pronoun. They also have a huge database of vendors that they recommend for developmental editing, for book covers, for PR, all of those things that authors need. I’ve always loved Reedsy. I still like them, but I think this is a good wake up call for all of us, to not be too reliant of any of them.

Now, StreetLib, since I recorded that first half, did come out with an offer to all the Pronoun users, where they are actually going to let you import directly into StreetLib from Pronoun so that it’s super easy, and then you can start pushing all of your books out using StreetLib instead of Pronoun. Now, the catch is, StreetLib is not free and if you go over to pricing, they’re going to tell you exactly how that works and the split that you now have with them. Again, I think this is a great option if you just want to quickly and easily transfer everything over. But you think should think about a long-term plan that does not, maybe, include StreetLib, or as a backup plan in case StreetLib should go the same way as Pronoun, or if the prices should change drastically, such that it is no longer in your favor from a cost standpoint to continue partnering with them.

I hope that was hopeful, and let me know in the comments below if you were a Pronoun victim and you are now searching for a new home, or what solution you came up with instead of using Pronoun.

All right, I hope everyone’s having a great end of the year, and I will talk to you guys next week. Bye.

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