Thursday, January 19, 2017

A new way to publish - Pronoun

As I've been doing another round of edits on my new book, I've heard about a new website for publishing to the market. It's called Pronoun. It sounded rather like the excellent Draft 2 Digital site, although it's offering higher royalties at Amazon, it's not charging authors, and it's making payments to Paypal.

I have dipped my toe in the water so I can give you a few impressions. The first one (which amuses and annoys me) is that the site truncated my surname  to 'G. Van'. That's on the pages of the website, not the author field. Over the years, I've had this often - a badly constructed program written by somebody who doesn't understand that people really do have spaces in their names and that truncating at the first space isn't always correct. I even got that from the bank!

The site asked for feedback and that's the first suggestion they got from me! I think it's sloppy at best and actually, quite rude. The solution is a surname field. Simples.

The user interface is pretty intuitive. I uploaded a Word .docx which uses styles. I wasn't impressed with the format of the resulting epub. I complained about that and received a prompt response. This software doesn't want you to add title pages, copyright and the like (it adds those for you), but does expect you to use styles. So please do read the guidelines before loading. It also offers a number of different layouts from which you select the one you like.

If you'd rather, you can use your own epub and mobi files.

Entering the blurb was a trial because it was impossible to cut-and-paste from a document. I was asked to clear my cache and reload the page, which worked. So that's easy.

And then there's adding the categories and key words. Choose your categories by typing in a word or two. The software does a targeted search. For keywords, the software will show you key phrases which match your categories, or once again, try to filter whatever you enter. Good stuff.

Prices must end in .99. You don't even have to type that in.

There is provision for an author page to which you can link all your books, provided they are on  Amazon. That went pretty well - but I did hit a glitch. The cover for The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy was the current one, but the cover for  The Iron Admiral: Deception was several versions old. On this one, I was told the cover would update in time. If it was still wrong in 24 hours, I was asked to provide details. It has updated to the correct cover.

I cannot fault the customer support. It was prompt, friendly, and accurate.

A few things you should know: Pronoun is owned by Macmillan, so if you put a book through them it will say Macmillan is the publisher. But you own all the rights. It's explained in simple English in their contract. One significant item caught my eye. You MUST have your book on Amazon, either through Pronoun, or by some other means. So that suggests there's some interplay here between Amazon and Macmillan. I received an email the other day stating that Pronoun would pay 70% royalties for books at under $2.99, which is Amazon's threshold for 70% royalties. Here's a press release explaining.

I have asked the company how they make their money and this was the response.
"As for how we make money, Pronoun is part of Macmillan Publishers, and we offer paid ebook services to large media companies like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. We also plan to start offering optional paid services down the road (such as cover design or editing -- we trust authors to tell us what they want)."

Anyway, I'll put a foot in the water and see what happens. I've loaded two books with them - both times using my own epub and mobi files. Next time, I'll use a Word docx.

By the way, The Stuff of Legend is nearly here. Myths, legends, action, adventure, romance... what's not to like?


  1. I like the idea of a distributor who also covers Amazon (Smashwords needs you to be earning thousands at Son to even qualify for distribution or some such madness) and the idea of having 'published by Macmillan is definitely going to appeal to many. I think I'll stay where I am for now though - formatting is not my strong point. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Interesting. Keeping my eye on this one for now. Thank you for testing the waters, Greta.

  3. Interesting. I don't quite see how they are working the Amazon end of things, because you still load your own book, right? But it dies sound like it has possibilities. I look forward to updates!

    1. You load your own book - but via Pronoun. If you go direct to Amazon, you'll get the usual Amazon rates - I think.

  4. I'm wondering about their long term plans and what they actually have in mind for the ultimate benefit to them. Not saying it's bad, just curious why a corporation is paying the higher royalties. Corporations don't usually do things out of the goodness of their little it'll be fascinating to watch it all play out and in the meantime, lovely for people who do go through them and get the higher royalty! I'm going to continue uploading my own books...but thanks for testing the waters and reporting back so rapidly!!!

  5. Good to know. I hate formatting too. But, it will be interesting to see where it all goes.

  6. Thanks for reporting, Pippa. Very interesting info. I'll have to check this out.

  7. Oops! Meant to say Greta but typed Pippa. Wish these comments had an edit function!


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