Publisher Macmillan has bought Pronoun, the free platform that was among the pioneers of self-publishing way back in 2009 when it was set up as Vook.
Before switching names to Pronoun in 2015, Vook gathered together an impressive portfolio of services, taking over several small firms, including ebook data analysis operation Booklr, the highly regarded literary ebook publisher Byliner, and Coliloquy (an adventure platform featuring enhanced ebooks and apps).
Traditional publishers like Macmillan are constantly searching for data solutions and the Booklr business must have been a particularly attractive target.
Pronoun CEO Josh Brody says, ‘Macmillan were interested in the data we gather at Pronoun and how it could impact the broader Macmillan publishing program. We’ve got new features coming and full commitment from Macmillan to support our growth.” Macmillan will also look to find and develop authors from the Pronoun platform.
The service has been used by about 10,000 authors. Up to now, it has been particularly notable for offering its suite of publishing, distribution and data services to authors at no cost, giving 100% royalties on ebook receipts and charging nothing for the use of the platform. Most distributors charge authors around 10-15% of royalties.
Pronoun may look at adding paid services in the future which could be on a revenue-sharing basis, although Brody says Pronoun’s platform will continue to be offered for free to individual authors and the service will continue to “pay royalties on Pronoun’s existing payment schedule”. He adds that authors will retain creative and financial control of the books they publish through the platform.