Reedsy, which describes itself as a curated marketplace, soft-launched a few weeks ago in order to sign up industry-experienced editors, marketers, designers, etc, and on Monday it is opening up to authors.
You may have read about Reedsy earlier this year on TechCrunch:
Created by Emmanuel Nataf and Richard Fayet, the company is, to be fair, another in the long list of DIY publishing outfits. Like Tablo and Softcover, Reedsy offers a one-stop-shop for writers. However, the team has decided to create a services marketplace for authors who are looking for interior and cover designs as well as editing help.
That description might sound familiar to some of my readers; other startups have tried similar ideas with less than complete success. Most notably, BiblioCrunch launched in 2011 with almost the exact same business model as Reedsy, only to pivot less than a year later.
BiblioCrunch pivoted from a marketplace focus to offering a mentorship/concierge service on a monthly/yearly subscription. They still have that marketplace, but they found that there was less of a need for a marketplace than there was for guidance (via Skype, phone, email).
So does that suggest that Reedsy is pursuing an idea which is already proven to fail? I asked Ricardo Fayet, the co-founder of Reedsy, how he planned to differentiate its marketplace from BiblioCrunch and he told me:
Our first difference is in the quality and vetting of the people displayed. We go over each profile manually to make sure it fits our standards, and are able to attract real professionals.
That is because Reedsy is author-friendly as it is freelancer friendly. We don't make freelancers pay to be listed on the marketplace, and never will. Also, Reedsy is not a "bidding" marketplace where authors post projects and wait for the hungriest, most reactive freelancers to submit their offers. Authors will have to select the people they're interested in (based on the information showed on their profiles), and request a quote directly from those.
Finally, we are developing collaboration and project management tools to allow authors, editors and designers to work more efficiently together, and keep the workflow in one single place.
In short, this is more of a listing service than a competitive marketplace like, say, Fiverr. Correction: And to be fair, that is not a good description for BiblioCrunch's marketplace either.
I got Fayet's email on Monday, so I've had most of a week to ponder Reedsy. Do you know what I think?
One, BlblioCrunch's lack of success means less than one might assume, and two, I'm still not convinced there is a need for this type of service.
I think it's been 3 years since BiblioCrunch launched, and two years since it pivoted to offer their VIP service. I think the market has changed radically in those three years, and that what didn't work in 2011 may work now.
That said, I can understand why BiblioCrunch pivoted and I don't think the situation has changed all that much. To put it simply, authors who don't need any guidance don't need a marketplace,and those who do need guidance need more than a marketplace.
I am not a book author but I can see both paths, in fact. If I wanted to find people to hire to help finish my book, I wouldn't need a marketplace or listing service; I would ask the dozen or so indie authors I know for referrals.
But in all honesty, I might still sign up for BiblioCrunch (after asking for opinions on the value of the service).The option of pestering someone with questions could well be worth the $120 a year.
Tell me, have you tried either service?
We won't know their true measure until after indie authors try them and comment. Speaking of which, if you would like to pen a guest post on your experiences with Feedsy, drop me a line. If you have something to say, I have a soapbox.