Proving that nothing good can survive in the hellhole that is 2017, I got this in my email today:
Two years ago Pronoun set out to create a one-of-a-kind publishing tool that truly put authors first. We believed that the power of data could be harnessed for smarter book publishing, leveling the playing field for indie authors.
We are proud of the product we built, but even more so, we’re grateful for the community of authors that made it grow. Your feedback shaped Pronoun’s development, and together we changed the way authors connect with readers.
Unfortunately, Pronoun’s story ends here.
While many challenges in indie publishing remain unsolved, Macmillan is unable to continue Pronoun’s operation in its current form. Every option was considered before making the very difficult decision to end the business.
As of today, it is no longer possible to create a new account or publish a new book. Pronoun will be winding down its distribution, with an anticipated end date of January 15, 2018. Authors will still be able to log into their accounts and manage distributed books until that time.
For the next two months, our goal is to support your publishing needs through the holiday season and enable you to transition your books to other services. For more detail on how this will affect your books and payments, please refer to our FAQ.
Thank you for the time and attention you’ve contributed to this experience. It has been a privilege to publish together, and we look forward to meeting again. #keepwriting
This. Just. Blows.
I was so looking forward to using this service for my next novel, and to take my other books into neglected markets. Now, the ease it provided is kaput. Back to the hard work of being an independent author and publisher.
Let’s not forget that, indie writers — we are publishers, too. No matter which platform(s) you use, you are doing the pushing to get it out there. And it’s challenging. Pronoun, by all accounts, made that much simpler. It’s sad to see something good go.
There’s still Pressbooks and Vellum to help with formatting beyond the basics, and — with any luck at all — someone will swoop in and pick up where Pronoun left off (and add a print option, too). We don’t need that to be free, just affordable.
With this sad news, I’ve made the decision to cough up the dough for Vellum. It’s not easy to do (because I’m cheap), but this is an investment in my publishing house. At $249.99, it’s not an epic amount, all things considered, but it’s also not $0, which is what you can pay if you publish the hard way. Each ebook is at least two different e-formats (Amazon and iBooks…because you do want to do both), and then there’s going to print. While I believe in keeping the overhead of a book as affordable as possible, I have also learned that having my carefully formatted passages blown out by these free conversion, I can’t afford to lose the time or remainder of my mind fixing a 300-page book. You can try Vellum for free to see if it’s right for/worth it to you (and, no, I’m not getting anything for promoting it).
I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next great thing for independent publishing. If you read the wording of the email carefully, it says “in its current form”, so maybe there will be another “form” of Pronoun down the road. But, if you stumble upon something wonderful, please share it here. It takes a village, people. Cheers!