Miral Sattar, the Founder of Divanee.com and Weddings.Divanee.com is a new media entrepreneur whoÂ has worked in the media industry for 10 years who reads a book a week on her Kindle. Her mission is simple — to innovate the publishing industry with technology. Ms. Sattar is a contributor for TIME and teaches entrepreneurial journalism sessions at CUNY from time to time. Ms. Sattar has contributed to Metro and Jane Magazine. Ms. Sattar is a 2000 graduate of Columbia University’s school of Engineering and Applied Science and a graduate from NYU with a M.S. in Digital + Print Media. Working on her new startup, BiblioCrunch, Ms. Sattar was interviewed byÂ Anshul TewariÂ on her views about the online publishing industry and about BiblioCrunch.com.
1) How did the idea of BiblioCrunch.com come to your mind? Was it about bridging a gap?
I was looking for ways to diversify revenue streams for digital and print media as part of my thesis at NYU. I realized that there was a void in the epublishing space for digital books and bookazines. Currently, it is cumbersome for publishers and authors to publish, distribute, and sell their own stories via ebooks. The existing tools just don’t cut it. It takes several steps to publish and package content into ebooks. There are different formats and different devices. We have taken the ‘write once, publish anywhere’ philosophy to make it easy for people to tell their own stories. At BiblioCrunch.com we are bridging the gap between writers and readers. The readers are key in deciding what they want to read.
3) What do you think about the current state of the publishing industry, and how tough has it become for young people with innovative ideas to get published?
Right now the publishing model is broken. Publishers are more likely to invest in celebrity or well-known authors that they think will sell. This results in quality or young, first-time authors being overlooked. In additon, publishing a physical paper book is expensive and it takes a long time for books to get to market and oftentimes publishers don’t invest the marketing dollars in promoting new voices.
4) How does BiblioCrunch.com plan to solve these challenges? Tell us a little about the concept of BibiloCrunch.com.
BiblioCrunch.com is a free platform that empowers writers and publishers to create and market their own digital books and bookazines. Through our platform anyone can share their stories. We’ve socialized the interaction between bloggers, authors, students, writers, journalists, publishers and created a community where they can connect with each other to write and publish the best possible ebooks. If you need to connect with a designer or editor, you can do that from our online community. We’ve simplified the cumbersome process of publishing an into an easy-to use interface which will convert your book into any format any eReader!
5) Is BiblioCrunch.com open for anyone and everyone? How does a writer qualify to get their book on BiblioCrunch.com?
Anyone with a good story to tell can join BiblioCrunch.com. If we notice your book getting great reviews, then we’ll feature you.
Also, BiblioCrunch.com isn’t just for authors or publishers. It’s for designers, copy editors, book cover designers who are also essential to creating the best ebook possible.
6) What were the initial challenges you faced in setting up BiblioCrunch.com? How has the response been, which are the most popular sections on the website and which are the most published genres?
The initial challenge was just getting the right team of people to start working with. Once that was settled the response has been great. We’ve already signed on two publishers and only been live in our beta launch for 2 weeks. The most popular sections is the Featured Books sections and our virtual Book Clubs. Right now we have a few new books coming out that focus on business and politics.
7) What are your expansion plans?
We have lots! We’re hoping to incorporate fun social elements into the site and sign on more and more publishers. We’re in talks with a few digital publications to sign them on, too. If Youth Ki Awaaz readers have suggestions we’re open to hearing them and implementing them! Tweet them to us @bibliocrunch!
8) How can readers of Youth Ki Awaaz leverage from the platform? Can you explain the process?
Signing up is easy. Writers can go online and create their profile. Once they’ve validated their account they can start writing by going to the ‘Write’ tab and begin writing their books. Once they’ve written all their chapters they can start publishing and promoting their books. We just came out with a Pakistan flood series here which is easy to share on FB and Twitter and other social media outlets.
Once a writer has their book page they can send it around to friends and family to get reviews.
Members also have their profile pages that they can send around to friends which has all the books they’ve written in one easy place.
We have a special group created for Youth Ki Awaaz: http://bibliocrunch.com/groups/youth-ki-awaaz/
Members can come together and exchange ideas on that group.
Also, if writers have a book, tweet it to us (@bibliocrunch) and we’ll help you promote your book.
The ebook publishing territory is uncharted. The future of the industry depends on experimentation and new business models. Paper books are slowly dying but there are still stories that need to be told. With the BiblioCrunch.com we provide that platform.
You can catch Ms. Sattar on Twitter @bibliocrunch.