Today, we report on a subject not often reported on this Website – e-publishing. Softcover, an e-publishing platform that just came out of private beta, is, according to the founders, a “frictionless self-publishing platform” for tech-savvy e-book writers. To be specific, it allows you to create, host & sell professional looking e-books in multiple formats.
The best part is that you just need to be able to provide the Content, & use a text editor & a terminal window. There’s none of the usual hassle of setting up a Website or Online store with an attached payment gateway for selling the e-books.
You also don’t have to take on the task of creating e-books in HTML, PDF, EPUB & other formats, & inserting media files in the right format for each one.
As an author, you’d be writing in Softcover-flavored Markdown or PolyTeX language on Softcover while you’re editing the e-book & getting it ready. Once you’re done, you can auto-choose which formats (HTML, PDF, EPUB & MOBI) you want to publish them as. With one command, you can thus build all 4 output formats & upload these to Softcover’s integrated sales platform. You also get to include screencast videos & other media files & bundle the whole thing up for publication on the Softcover platform.
Authors get the right to retain copyright on everything they produce, get access to their entire customer email list, and can use a custom domain (including Google Analytics) so that they can own traffic. Payment is done by Stripe. In return for all this, Softcover takes 10% of the revenue. Payments from any sales are instantly divided up, & you get your 90% right away. Unlike other publishing platforms, you don’t have to sit around waiting for a monthly royalty check or minimum payment thresholds.
The platform is also quite flexible as far as your pricing model is concerned. You can put up an e-book for free if you want, or make it a premium package. Writers also maintain full control & access to all their sales & other data.
The self-publishing platform is based on the business model & production system used by the Ruby on Rails tutorial that was created by Michael Hartl, who is one of the co-founders of Softcover.
The Venice, CA-based Softcover was founded in Aug 2013. Apart from Hartl, the other co-founders are Nicholas Merwin & Lee Donahoe. Merwin works on startup development, & Donahoe on front-end design & development.
Since Softcover is now out of private beta, so you can sign up now as an author if you want to give it a whirl.
Image Credit: Softcover