The Nigerian publishing industry has a lot of challenges, top of which is the fact that traditional publishers in Nigeria tend not to treat writers with respect and dignity; and a general unwillingness to publish new, upcoming writers and artists in general.
Many Nigerians have turned to self publishing or digital publishing in a bid to figure out their own path. Nigerian startup, Publiseer, launched late last year focusing on digital publishing.
Publiseer lets authors (and music artists) publish and distribute their material across a variety of mediums. A variety of mediums translates to Publiseer getting the artists' work onto more than 400 stores worldwide including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play Books, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, Playster, OverDrive for books; and Amazon, Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple iTunes, Deezer, Shazam, Claromusica, Tidal for music. For free.
Well not totally, they make money by taking a cut of whatever revenue is generated from those platforms. When a piece of work is sold, the author gets 25% of the selling price, Publiseer gets 25% too, and the stores typically keep the remaining 50%.
When asked about competition from the likes of BookBaby and CDBaby, cofounder of Publiseer, Chidi Nwaogu, made a significant distinction:
"They charge artists and authors a hefty publishing fee. Most of these authors and artists spend so much on publishing that they have very little money left to market their book or album. That is where we come in. We are the publishing company for the third world."
Publiseer started as a self-funded startup, but they have seen significant traction with authors and musicians. They're averaging more than five submissions daily, and they currently have over 135 writers and musicians on the platform, published 65 books and 144 albums.
The self-funded startup has now been announced as one of the 14 finalists of the 2018 Harvard Business School's New Venture Competition, taking place in Boston, United States in March. The winner and the runner-up of the competition will be awarded cash prices of $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
With the number of creatives on their platform, Publiseer is now one of the largest independent digital publishers in Africa.