Tag: start-up

Let frustration be your fuel: 7 lessons for start-ups from Salomé Magazine

Salomé is one of the newest publications to hit the independent press scene. Launched in April this year, Salomé is the literary magazine for emerging female writers, and gives self-identifying women the platform, confidence and experience to get their writing published. Jacquelyn Guderley, the magazine’s founder, shares lessons she’s learned along the way.

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Startup snapshot: Sweek

Sweek, a Dutch mobile platform, are working to make mobile reading and writing attractive for everyone. Here we interview Sweek co-founder, Veronika Kartovenko. Veronika is a reading fanatic and a real traveler. With a background in Business Information Management and International Business Administration, she is taking care of the business development for Sweek.

1) What exactly is Sweek?

Sweek is a mobile platform that allows everyone to write, read and share stories all over the world. In an instant and at no cost. On Sweek you can find stories from both aspiring and well-known authors, in all genres. We offer an excellent reading experience for the smartphone, allow users to save stories offline and send notifications when new updates from their favourite authors are available.

2) What problem does it solve?

First, convenience of reading anywhere, anytime. Chances are you don’t have your ereader or book with you, but you’ll always carry your smartphone. Secondly, we’re bridging the distance between the reader and the writer. Currently, a lot of writers can’t know who their readers are. On Sweek, there’s direct interaction between them. The publishing industry is having a hard time, we need stimulate growth and development by introducing new ways of reading and writing that fit the current lifestyle.

3) Who is your target market?

Although we believe the smartphone generation (15-30 years old) will be the first to use Sweek, we want to make mobile reading and writing attractive for everyone. This means we have a diverse set of content that’s interesting for different types of readers. The classics, thrillers, short stories, fanfiction, stories from top authors and much more.

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

Of course, we would like to welcome many, many users to Sweek and grow our content base. We see stories from all over the world being uploaded, and both aspiring as well as top authors are joining Sweek. In a few years we want to be the platform of choice for publishers and professional authors to build their online fanbase and engage with readers. Also, we hope fresh writing talent will be discovered via Sweek by the crowd and consequently by traditional publishers.

5) What will be next for Sweek?

Many things! We’re launching our iOS app anytime now, meaning you can use Sweek on Android, iOS and web. Also, commenting is one of the first new features to be implemented. We’ll be improving our algorithms and filters, so you can directly see and find stories that you want to read. We’re also considering different spin-offs, but for now our focus is on building the best platform for mobile reading and writing.

Startup snapshot: Lost my name

AsiSharabiAsi Sharabi is a recovering ad man, a passionate advocate of ‘making stuff that matters’ and was most recently the MD of innovation lab Sidekick Studios. He once read 12 bedtime stories to his three little daughters in a single evening.

1) What exactly is Lost My Name?

Lost My Name is a marvellously unusual, award winning startup that plays in the intersection between storytelling and technology. We’ve created both the best-selling and the most technologically advanced personalised picture books in the world. And have made over 1.6 million children gasp and giggle in 170 countries.

2) What problem does it solve?

Personalised books have been in the market for over forty years but have remained, pretty much exclusively, a commercial gimmick. They’ve never been taken seriously as a creative canvas for storytellers and have rarely had much concentrated technical attention. We set out to create something genuinely inspiring and magical.

3) Who is your target market?

Our magical, personalised books are perfect for children up to the age of 7.

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

More creative superpowers – for grownups and for kids. We want to create the best personal content for children and to keep blending print and engineering in ways that have never done before.

5) What will be next for Lost My Name?

Whatever we do in the future, we’ll always emphasise an approach of ideas and creativity over format, a transition from digital to physical and bonding over babysitting a child with a screen.

 

Startup snapshot: Futureproofs

life as a freelancerJohn Pettigrew is CEO and Founder of Futureproofs, where he is trying to make editors’ lives better with software designed for the jobs they actually do. A recovering editor himself, John has been working in publishing since 1997, including stints on academic journals, educational textbooks, and print and digital materials of all kinds. Here we interviewed John on Futureproofs and what’s next in the pipeline.

1) What exactly is Futureproofs?

Futureproofs lets you proofread effectively on-screen. It provides simple markup based on the BSI (or Chicago) standard, effective collaboration and powerful project management with real-time data. Bottom line, it helps publishing teams to publish their books at the required quality, faster and more cheaply.

2) What problem does it solve?

Many of us still proofread on paper – it’s simple, reliable and well-understood. But it’s also slow, surprisingly expensive and not environmentally friendly. But the existing software isn’t really designed for proofreading, so it’s slow and clumsy, which translates to ‘more expensive’. Futureproofs is designed specifically for publishing, based on long experience of the industry.

3) Who is your target market?

Currently, we’re targeting illustrated-book publishers – education, trade non-fiction and children’s. But Futureproofs can work for anyone who’s creating books, magazines or large-scale documents. We have customers who publish mostly narrative text, and we’re also talking to several academic publishers.

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

I set up Futureproofs to make editors’ lives better. So, I hope that we’ll help to build a confident editorial community that can do its job effectively and demonstrate its value to the wider publishing industry (traditional and self-publishers alike). And for Futureproofs to be the default choice for proofreading!

5) What will be next for Futureproofs?

We’re always releasing new features for Futureproofs (usually a couple of times a month). The next Big Thing, though, will be support for ebooks via the EPUB format (they’re a real pain to check at the moment), which is coming later this year, probably around the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Read more on the Futureproofs blog and website.

Books On The Underground

On launching Books On The Underground: Hollie Belton interview

You just finished that amazing book you’ve been reading, and you want to share it with the world? Well that’s what Hollie Belton wanted to do, so she created Books On The Underground. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Hollie about how it all works and what we should look out for next from the creative due behind this successful venture.

1. Please introduce yourself, and the others behind Books on the Underground, and give us a brief overview of your careers?

I’m Hollie, I started Books on the Underground in November 2012. I’m originally from Lincolnshire, but I moved to London 7 years ago after graduating from university. I’m a Creative at an Advertising agency, where I’ve been for the last 4 years. I met my BOTU partner, Cordelia, on Twitter. She reached out to me to to help out and now has become an integral part of the project and we’ve been doing it together ever since.

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