Saturday, April 27, 2013

Startup Leadership Series: For the Love of Books. 7write

Tiffany Hart, CEO of 7write in conversation with Jonathan Marks

Tiffany Hart, CEO of 7write

Originally from Canberra, Australia, Tiffany Hart and her team are currently on a world tour to develop and grow their startup business. is a fresh approach to an old problem. It’s a publishing platform designed to empower authors, publishers and the reading public. So what’s different about Tiffany’s thinking?

“No-one can imagine a world without books. In this increasingly competitive world, the number and type of books published in a country is an important index of a nation’s self-awareness. For me, it’s also an index to both the standards of living and education.”

“But the whole journey that authors take to get their stories in the hands of readers reminds me of the music industry that I used to be involved in a few years back.”

“It urgently needs new paths. Especially as we’ve passed the tipping point where more books are published electronically than on paper. Remember that Amazon alone has 1,8 million titles for their Kindle”

The 7 write team recently arrived in the Netherlands, a country with a strong literary tradition. Tiffany points to a study by TNS-NIPO researchers a few years back. It revealed that around 1 million of the 17 million Dutch are actively writing something. One in six hopes to get published. Yet only 93,000 will actually submit their work to a professional publisher this year.

“I feel that since the e-book revolution, those figures must be even higher now. Like everywhere else in the world, publishers in the Netherlands only publish less than 1% of the manuscripts they receive. We’ve been talking with various publishers across the world to find out why 99% are rejected.”

“Sometimes it’s the quality of the writing.”

“But more often than not, it’s that the potential readership and sales are getting harder for publishers to judge. Recent discounting by large on-line retailers is disrupting the business. And the buying patterns of libraries and the public are going through enormous changes. “

7 write founders team:  Mark Harrison, Tiffany Hart, Paul Hayes
“We’re responding to many requests we’ve had from publishers to help develop new revenue streams. We believe the secret lies in re-examining that huge number of rejected manuscripts. History is littered with publisher rejection slips from H.G. Wells to J K Rowling. There are websites full of rejection letters. Of course it’s amusing with hindsight. But it also highlights that there’s a lot wrong with the selection process.”

“And yet the pressure on publishers to discover first time authors has never been greater. Look at how fairs like those in London or Frankfurt have evolved into festivals where book and film rights are bought and sold.”

7write is building an online platform to help authors simplify the publishing journey. They’re integrating a suite of useful authoring tools to make publishing a book to the 14 different e-platforms a few clicks work.
“Each e-book platform has its own style requirements. If you don’t get them right, you won’t get accepted; even if you’re publishing the book yourself. Reformatting is a terrible waste of an author’s time. It’s the least creative part. So 7write does it for you! Our platform also incorporates useful reference tools to guide you – just at the moment you need them”

“We’re in closed beta at the moment. We’ve invited selected authors to try and test our technology. We’re 48 hours away from launching our open beta. And we’re working with publishers, broadcasters and enthusiastic readers to improve the business for everyone. We’re passionate about getting this right.
7write created their first partnership with a Dutch publisher, Bertram + de Leeuw this week.

We’re encouraging those interested in what we’re creating to sign-up for advanced details of our public beta. And we’re looking forward to memorable conversations with those who love telling stories”.

7write is currently based in Amsterdam, participating in Europe’s leading accelerator program Startupbootcamp. Tiffany Hart can be reached at
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