[quote style=”boxed”]”Always go back and ask, “Why?” You need to remember your goals and objectives for the company and make sure you’re putting new plans in place to achieve them.”[/quote]
Amanda L. Barbara is the vice president of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding publishing platform for books where authors raise funds and gauge audience interest in new book ideas. In addition, trendsetting readers can pledge their financial support to bring books to life.
What are you working on right now?
We’re building a program we just launched called Pubslush Pro. It’s a platform for publishers, agents, or anyone representing a book project. Publishers who join the program receive a page on the Pubslush site to raise money for their books.
By building a direct connection with readers, a more successful and informed publishing process is established while brand engagement is increased. Publishers are able to gauge interest and understand their audience through our market analytics, which provide important supporter information such as location, age, gender, and traffic source.
Pro account holders gain access to a continually-growing database of supporters that can be used to promote future projects. All books with successful campaigns remain on the site as long as the Pro account is live, and a link is included on the book’s page to direct readers to purchase. Pubslush Pro provides a risk-free marketing platform and lessens the financial burden of publishing.
Where did the idea for Pubslush come from?
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.
What does your typical day look like?
We start with a team meeting, where we discuss what we’re working on, along with new developments. Once the team members have their assignments, my day is filled with calls to authors, publishers, and industry people to discuss a variety of topics — from what we do to how we can work together.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Fortunately for us, there are many voids in the publishing industry. We’re continuously meeting industry people who want to make a change, and we use our resources to bring ideas to life.
We have an amazing team here at Pubslush; our people constantly bring new ideas to the table. We brainstorm how to make these ideas possible and create change in a positive way.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The obvious answer is crowdfunding. Talking to authors and letting them know this service is available can be a game changer — it can determine whether they’re able to bring their books to life. Traditional publishing hasn’t changed in a long time, and we hope to see a shift to a more democratic model of discovery for authors.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
I was a coordinator for a hotel chain’s corporate office. I was fresh out of college and hungry to work, learn, and grow within a company. My boss was a poor leader who didn’t give me assignments, so my days were spent staring at a computer screen, asking for work.
I lasted all of four months before moving on. That job taught me to never settle and to enjoy what you’re doing. I went from waking up every day, hating my job, to wanting to work 24/7 because I’m passionate about where I am and what I’m doing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always go back and ask, “Why?” You need to remember your goals and objectives for the company and make sure you’re putting new plans in place to achieve them. It’s not just about providing a service that’s profitable right out of the gate.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
That’s one secret I won’t reveal!
Tell us a secret.
Okay, I’ll spill one here. I have a girl crush on Julianne Hough. I wish I could pull off that amazing bob, but I’m too chicken to cut off my long locks.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
I’m always on Twitter because there are constant updates on developments in the industry, and I find so many new people each day who are doing great things for writers.
LinkedIn has been a great tool for me lately. I’ve been able to connect with readers, writers, publishers, and people in the industry.
BiblioCrunch’s website is easy to use and provides an opportunity for every writer, no matter what his publishing goals are, to gain access to top-notch industry professionals.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
This is a trick question! I’d have to say Pubslush Press’s debut title, “A Beautiful Mess” by Ali Berlinski. Berlinski’s narrative is a memoir, survival guide, and love story. It’s a deeply inspiring story about Berlinski’s choice to embrace, rather than run from, it all. It’s a perfect summer read, and for every copy we sell, we’re donating a children’s book to a child in need.
What’s on your playlist?
I’m a huge country music fan, so Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, and Jason Aldean. I also love Rihanna, Maroon 5, and John Mayer. My new top songs are “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey and Miguel.
If you weren’t working on Pubslush, what would you be doing?
I’d be planning events. My dream is to one day open a wedding planning company. I love taking an idea from start to finish, especially when the end results in a huge party.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
For industry folks, follow PubPerspectives. They keep you up-to-date on everything happening in the wide world of publishing. They offer links to articles about changes in publishing and tips on writing, as well as a couple of jokes thrown in for good measure.
Book Riot: Not only am I a fan of local companies (shout-out to this Brooklyn-based company), but Book Riot’s serious about books. I love its fun, quirky voice. It spices up my Twitter feed.
Grammarly: I’m the first to admit my grammar isn’t perfect, but I love to learn, and it’s particularly important for writers to be well-versed in the rules of grammar.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laughed yesterday watching “Friends.” Ross just kills me. I own all 10 seasons and am usually quoting the show all day long and laughing out loud to myself. I might have a small addiction.
Who is your hero?
As corny as it sounds, my hero is my mom. She’s the president of Pubslush. She’s taught me so much about life and has always been there. She’s trusted me to lead this company and has stood by me as we work to make our dreams come true. She’s an inspiration to me and our team.
Tell me about a time you failed. What did you learn?
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 it closed our doors from working with many great people. After realizing the platform wasn’t the best it could be, we reworked it to develop a more effective process for all.
I learned that just because the initial idea didn’t work doesn’t mean the company failed.
What would you have done differently in your personal life?
I regret my major in college. In my freshman year, I declared a public relations major, but a year later, I decided I absolutely hated it. There was no way for me to change it without going to school for an additional year. I picked up a second major in creative writing. I learned so much about my writing style and myself those last three years of college.