Crowdfunding Industry Spotlight : Amanda Barbara

  • Amanda Barbara
     by Josef Holm . Amanda L. Barbara is the vice president and co-founder ofPubslush, a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world.   A philanthropist at heart, she serves on the board of directors for the Pubslush Foundation, which supports children’s literacy initiatives worldwide, and is a founder and director of The Barbara Family Foundation, an organization committed to assisting charities and children in need. Amanda is member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and is an advocate for crowdfunding in the publishing world.   She has spoken at various conferences, such as Exceptional Women in PublishingCrowdfunding East Conference, and the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit and has contributed to Elite Daily, Yahoo Small Business, and Tech Cocktail.     Q: How did you get into crowdfunding and what was it that attracted you to this industry? My mom and I were inspired to create a more democratic publishing process after learning about the struggles of authors like J.K. Rowling, whose original Harry Potter book was rejected by the 12 publishers to which it was initially sent. So many great authors have been dismissed to the infamous “slush pile.” Our name is derived from our mission to give authors the opportunity to get out of the slush pile, prove their talent and market viability, and successfully publish quality books.   Self-publishing was and still is on the rise and a lot of the financial risk falls on the author. With Pubslush and crowdfunding, authors have a platform to not only raise funds, but to start building an audience for their upcoming book. It is the best marketing tool out there right now.   Q: What’s the most common question people ask you about your job and how do you respond? “So you’re Kickstarter but for books?” Yes but no. We are like Kickstarter because we let people raise money for new projects BUT we are so much more than just a crowdfunding platform. We are a community dedicated to the publishing industry and aim to bridge the gap between readers, writers, publishers, and industry leaders. We also have a ton of author-centric features you won’t find on Kickstarter…or anywhere else for that matter.   Q: Did you have a mentor or is there someone who inspires you as a leader? How did/do they impact on your career and life? As corny as it sounds, I view my parents as my mentors. My mother is the president of Pubslush. She’s taught me so much about life and has always been there for me. She has trusted me to lead this company and has stood by me as we work to make our dreams come true. Even though I might not work with my father in a business setting, he inspires me every day to be the best person I can be. He encourages me to think with a different kind of hat. He is a successful businessman and has so much experience and wisdom. I take everything he says to heart. Of course, you want to make your parents proud whether or not they are your business partners.   Q: What is the biggest challenge facing crowdfunding as an industry today and what solutions would you suggest? Crowdfunding is still so new as a term and an industry. It is important to educate the consumer on its value. Creators need to do research on which platform is right for them. More and more platforms are launching each day so it’s important to find one that is reputable and works best for your project.   Q: What advice would you give someone trying to get into crowdfunding right now? There are so many resources available, so make use of them. There’s absolutely no reason anyone should blindly start a campaign without first educating themselves about what it takes to be successful. Also, what I’ve found is that successful campaigners are always more than willing to share their insight with others, so I would suggest finding some success stories and reaching out to the project creators to pick their brains.   Q: What resources and events (blogs, books, conferences, podcasts, videos, etc) would you recommend to someone looking to become a crowdfunding expert and why? Global Crowdfunding Roadmap in Las Vegas hosted by Ruth Hedges is the premiere crowdfunding conference in the US.   CrowdClan is a website filled with informative and educational articles about crowdfunding.   CrowdsUnite provides crowdfunding platform ratings and reviews so potential crowdfunders can find the best platform for their campaign.   Q: What are you doing to make sure you continue to grow and develop as an industry leader? Pubslush is constantly evolving to the needs of the industry. You need to not be afraid to grow, change, evolve, modify whenever you need to. Our model doesn’t allow for any type of projects and that’s okay. We want to be really great at helping authors before they publish.   It is critical, especially in an innovative industry such as crowdfunding, for myself and my company to stay on the cutting edge of technology. To be informed and knowledgeable about all that is new and happening and forthcoming. Personally, it is important for me to stay connected with all players in the industry and to build and maintain relationships. I am passionate and confident about the concept and future of crowdfunding and I believe it is extremely important as an industry leader to form strong collaborations and partnerships with people with similar visions and values and work together to help each other grow.   Q: Can you tell us a little bit about how social networking and Web 2.0 have affected your organization or you personally? We are in the digital age. Social media isn’t a maybe option. It’s a must do, every day. At Pubslush, we connect with a lot of our authors through Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. My team never has nothing to do because if they aren’t busy, they are checking out great new authors through social media. It has helped us get our platform and brand out there and has opened our doors to finding so many great partners that need Pubslush to better their business.   Q: What do you think the crowdfunding space will look like five years from now? Crowdfunding is still a new industry and will only continue to rise. It is a magnet for innovation and serves as a catapult for new businesses. Crowdfunding continues to prove market viability for new ventures and has the ability to change lives. If you think I am being a bit dramatic, I’m not. Pubslush has received countless thank you’s from authors for our platform, helping to bring their books to life, and making dreams possible.   Q: What ultimate goal are you working towards? The ultimate goal is for ultimate knowledge and 100 percent awareness of what crowdfunding is and the value. Our goal and dream is for Pubslush to offer all authors and literary trendsetters the opportunity to thrive and become successful. Not all authors will become bestsellers but we will be able to provide the opportunity to fund to produce a high quality published book. To allow those that would never have the chance, the chance.    @AmandaBabs1

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