In a time like this, when digital content distribution seem to be a herculean task for most people, we came across a startup that is doing this for FREE. Yes, you definitely heard right. TechMoran chatted with one of the Nwaogu twins, Chidi where he shared a lot of insights into what they do at Publiseer.
Chidi and Chika Nwaogu are the brains behind startup Publiseer, an online book and music (digital) distribution company. It is important to note that they are solving a salient problem and doing it for free too.
Chidi talking about what inspired the launch of Publiseer…
After starting two Internet companies and eventually selling them to American companies, my twin and I asked ourselves, “What’s next?” This time, we wanted something that is actually solving a problem. We wanted something that will actually challenge us as entrepreneurs. The question remained, “What’s the big idea?” This question was left unanswered for years. During these years, I wrote a book and my twin brother recorded a song. After writing my book, I started searching for a publisher, and my twin was hunting for a record label.
For years, we couldn’t find any who didn’t demand money. Eventually, I became my own publisher, and my twin brother started a small record label. We were both successful with our projects. I was able to get my book across hundreds of platforms and my twin was able to get his song across hundreds of websites. This was when the question was finally answered.
The big idea is “start a publishing company for struggling writers and musicians to get their works seen by the rest of the world.” Publiseer was eventually founded.
Your stat of 81 releases is quite impressive for an early stage startup. Tell us how you reached this point.
Recently, I was chatting to someone on Whatsapp, and she asked me, “How did you achieve such feat in so little time?” My answer was simple: “We created something that people have been waiting for.” We haven’t run any paid advertising. Publiseer has gained its clients through word of mouth. We have created a platform that meets a need and not a want. We saw a problem and we provided a solution. We see our figures growing exponentially without the nearest future. It’s been amazing these past two months, and we are determined and dedicated to seeing this project grow from a startup into a company.
Are your services restricted to the Nigerian market, or beyond?
At the moment, Publiseer is only open to Nigerian writers and musicians living in Nigeria, although we hope to expand in the near future. But our services are not restricted to the Nigerian market. We sell our books and songs on over 400 online stores across 100 countries, so our reach is extensive and also free.
Tell us about your competitors, how you’ve been able to deal.
We have competitors like BookBaby and CDBaby, but our service as a publishing company still stands out because it’s free. While these companies, charge a lot of money, we do the same for free. We are the publishing destination for writers and musicians who have great works but who don’t have the financial resources to push it.
One thing that stands you out is the mostly free service you offer. How have you been able to stand even at that?
People ask me, “Since all your services are free, how do you earn?” The answer is simple and clearly stated on our website. We share in the revenue when a unit of a work we publish, sells. Apart from that, we have paid packages like fast-track publishing. Publishing usually takes two weeks at Publiseer due to the high volume of submissions we daily receive. For writers and musicians that want immediate publishing, they can purchase our fast-track publishing service and get their work published immediately without having to wait. It’s like boycotting a long queue, straight to the front of the line.
Let us in on your business model as a startup.
Apart from sharing in the revenue generated from sales and the fast track publishing services, we have many paid services that build up a strong business model. We draft and distribute dedicated press releases for our clients for a certain fee. Our press releases are guaranteed to be featured on Yahoo! News and many premium news outlets. We also charge to design realistic mockups for our clients, which they can use to promote their works, especially on social media. For a client who wants us to create a beautiful presentation video or a one-page website for their work, they also have to pay a fee. All our paid packages go for a reasonable fee. After all, Publiseer is brought to them by an author and a musician, so we know their pain.
How is the venture funded? Bootstrapped, or otherwise?
Publiseer, as well as our two Internet companies, have all been self-funded.
Tell us about the team behind Publiseer.
At the moment, we are a seven-person team and we are still fun and growing. We are a team that believes digital publishing is the future. Publiseer is simply bringing publishing, design and technology together in one place because we know that technology can and will transform the world of publishing. Publiseer is simply the platform that will make that happen.
In your own view, what is the greatest challenge of the industry you’re operating?
Many people confuse us for a recording studio. They ask if we can help them record their songs for free. That’s not what Publiseer is about. We only publish the works of recorded musicians. The same problem exists in the book publishing division. Writers ask if they can send their handwritten manuscript to us for publishing. Again, we do not offer typing services. Writers have to send their manuscript to us in a digital format. These have been the greatest challenge since starting Publiseer.
In 5 years, how big do you envisage Publiseer?
In 5 years, I see Publiseer being the number one destination for digital publishing in Nigeria and beyond. I see us catering the publishing needs of thousands of writers and musicians.
What has kept you going since you started, till this point?
Since inception, we have received so many possible reviews. People love what we do, and that makes us happy and most determined to continue and put in our very best. As long as there is a growing need for publishing, Publiseer will continue to exist, and be meeting that growing need.