We Have Published Over 70 Books And Distributed Over 200 Songs At No Charge-Chidi Nwaogu-Co-founder, Publiseer

Publiseer founded by Chidi and Chika Nwaogu has just been announced as a finalist at Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition 2018. We had an interview with Chidi Nwaogu who gave his reaction to Publiseer being selected as one of the finalists, talked about the challenges Puliseer is facing and he also touched on what motivated the twins to setup Publiseer. Enjoy!

Can we meet you?

I’m Chidi Nwaogu, Co-founder and CEO of Publiseer. I’m a Nigerian computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience. I’m a Physics graduate of the University of Lagos. I’ve co-founded, built and sold two Internet startups since 2009, with my twin brother Chika Nwaogu.

Can you tell us about Publiseer and what it has to offer Nigerians?

Publiseer is the digital publishing company for the third world. Many young and budding authors and artists in Nigeria live on a dollar per day, just as in any third world nation, and thus cannot afford to publish their works by paying for the publishing process. As a result of this, these works remain unpublished for years. Most of these works are breathtaking and many of these authors and artists are exceptionally talented, but their talent is put to waste because they don’t have the money to pay for publishing. That’s what Publiseer was created to do. Publiseer was created to publish these beautiful works for free. Publiseer lets Nigerian authors and artists sell their books and music respectively, on over 400 major online stores worldwide, including Amazon, Google Play store, and Apple store. Publiseer is the lifeline for every young and budding Nigerian author and artist. Even more so, for established Nigerian authors and artists, who are seeking for ways to sell their work on the World Wide Web. It’s critical for authors and artists to reach their fans and attract new fans that rely on trusted stores like Amazon, Google Play store and Apple store to drive their discovery experience.

What is the motivation behind setting up Publiseer?

A few years ago, I wrote a book and my twin brother Chika recorded a song. After writing my book, I began searching for a book publisher, and my twin was hunting for a record label. For months, we couldn’t find any who didn’t demand money from us. Eventually, I became my own publisher, and Chika started a small record label. We were both successful with our projects. I was able to get my book across hundreds of platforms, generating revenue, and Chika was able to get his song across hundreds of music streaming websites. This was when the idea for Publiseer was birthed: “Start a publishing company for struggling Nigerian writers and musicians to get their works seen by the rest of the world.”  Publiseer was eventually founded on August 4, 2017.

How you make money if you publish books and distribute music for free?

When a unit of any work (book or song) we publish is sold, Publiseer shares in the revenue. Also, for artists and authors intending to fast-track their publishing — instead of waiting for 2 weeks — Publiseer charges a sum for them to boycott the long queue of submission straight to the front, and get their work published immediately.

How will you describe the reception of Publiseer by Nigerians?

The reception has been more than we expected. Since August 2017, when we launched, we have published over 70 books and distributed over 200 songs, at no charge. We haven’t run any paid advertising campaign. All our clients knew about us via word of mouth. Publiseer has become a viral solution ever since.

Copyright and piracy are huge problems in Nigeria. Does this affect your business and how is your startup dealing with this?

Yes, of course. It affects our business as a digital publisher. When we notice a different merchant selling a book or song in our catalogue, we contact our author or artiste to verify if they are aware of this, and if they aren’t aware of this, we take legal actions against such merchant. The reason why we contact our author or artiste first is that Publiseer doesn’t take away the publishing rights of our authors and artists. We let them retain their rights, which means they are free to republish or redistribute their creative works elsewhere without our permission or our help.

Publiseer is a finalist at Harvard Business school’s New Venture Competition 2018. How do you feel about making the final?

It’s an amazing feat. We all at Publiseer are overwhelmed. It’s an honour to be recognized by such a prestigious academic institution. The journey so far has been challenging but yet exciting. We feel excited about the finals.

You are twins running a business. How will you describe the experience so far?

My twin brother Chika has co-founded two Internet startups with me in the past. We have always been a compatible pair. We complement each other’s weaknesses. The experience so far has been amazing. Having your identical twin brother and best friend as your business partner is an amazing feeling.

What are the challenges of running your startup?

Some authors send in their manuscript via snail mail. They expect us to re-type it, and that’s not what we are. Publiseer only accepts book submission via digital file formats like DOC or DOCX formats. We only copied the manuscripts for spelling and grammatical errors and format them to industry standards. We do not offer typing services. The same challenge we have with experienced artists. They think we are a recording studio that can turn them into recording artists. Again, that’s not what Publiseer is. We are not a recording studio. We are only for already recorded artists. We distribute already recorded songs. We do not record songs for artists, although we offer free re-mastering services for songs that have poor mastering quality.

What advice do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?

Choosing to be an entrepreneur means adopting a challenging lifestyle. You have to be open-minded. You have to be willing to take constructive criticisms and build a better business model around it. You shouldn’t be emotional about your business idea. Being emotional stops you from developing. You need to be flexible. Challenges will definitely come your way, but you don’t have to let that deter you. You need to give your business your everything. Never say “I tried”. Keep trying until you get it right.