Relaunched Self-Publishing Platform Pronoun Raises $3.5M

Pronoun, a self-publishing platform that says it places authors’ needs first, announced today that it has raised $3.5 million in new funding.

The company is actually a new incarnation of book creation and distribution company Vook, combining Vook’s capabilities with data company Booklr and digital publisher Byliner (both acquired by Vook last year).

While the new platform hasn’t actually launched yet, the company has already outlined its goals in a manifesto with the grandiose title, “How to fix book publishing.” The manifesto acknowledges that self-publishing companies often offer deceptive promises to authors while sticking them with all the costs.

So how is Pronoun going to do things differently? Well, the company boils its approach down to a few key things that authors deserve — support (particularly after the book has been released), transparency, control over things like pricing, and the ability to profit from advances in technology, particularly the increased speed and lower cost.

Can Pronoun live up to this rhetoric while growing as a venture-backed, for-profit company? CEO Josh Brody argued that the answer is yes:

The problem with the existing value chain is that it isolates earning potential to a certain set of players — large corporate publishers, agents, etc. We think that as technology continues to change the publishing landscape, new ways to make money will continue to develop, and we are aligning ourselves with authors (i.e., the people who actually create what is sold) for two reasons: We love books, and empowering authors is the fairest way to support the evolution of the written word. It’s also the smartest way to identify business opportunities as they emerge.

As Vook, the company previously raised $7.8 million. The new funding comes from Avalon Ventures, with Avalon partners Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann joining the Pronoun board of directors. TheStreet CEO Elisabeth DeMarse is also joining the board.

Pronoun says it will spend the money on product development and hiring.