Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Creative Dock is venturing into the world of books and literature. The new Pointa
publishing house promises to democratise the book market. Even unknown authors
will finally have a chance to attract an audience for their work. To find out more, we
spoke to the project's leader, Veronika Mahdalová.
POINTA HAS BEEN A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION AT CREATIVE DOCK FOR A WHILE NOW. ONE OF THE BUZZWORDS RELATED TO IT THAT WE’RE HEARING A LOT IS “P2P PUBLISHING HOUSE”. WHAT DOES THIS TERM ACTUALLY MEAN?
Above all, I don’t want to be pigeonholed. There still isn’t a concept or established
terminology for what we do. We’re partly P2P and partly self-publishing. But we aren’t
a traditional publisher. We describe ourselves as an online platform, a community
allowing people to publish books. To put them together, give them away, to sell them,
and all more easily and freely. We want to democratise the publishing market.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PUBLISHING MARKET NEEDS
DEMOCRATISING? IS SOMEBODY SECRETLY DECIDING WHAT CAN AND CAN’T BE PUBLISHED TODAY?
There are many large and small publishers in the Czech Republic; fortunately, there
are many readers. Competition is fierce, and in this respect the market is open.
We’re mostly about with authors who are starting out. They find it extremely difficult
to get publishers and to convince them that their book is worth issuing. We’re not
necessarily interested in compulsive writers with thousands of titles to their name but
about budding authors who believe that they’ll succeed without the often lengthy
rounds of “I’ll send the manuscript. Then I wait. The publishing house holds
discussions – My proposal goes in the bin.” Therefore, the core of democratisation is
that the readers themselves decide what will happen, not the editorial board.
SO, YOU’RE TARGETED ONLY AT NEWBIES?
No, Pointa is open to all, novices, as well as authors who have won the Booker prize.
Pointa will be a great help especially to beginners.
In the process of publishing a book, the writing is almost the easiest part. Then it’s
the turn of editors, proof-readers, graphic designers, typesetters, and finally
This is the contrast, for example, with today's popular HitHit books, which often don’t
look professional. Even if people have money for the publication, they need to
connect with professionals with a very narrow focus. And if the authors don’t have
loads of contacts, most editors won’t even speak to them.
But this isn’t an issue at Pointa. The authors will get to know all the people who will
be involved in the book, let them choose, and help them find money before sales,
and if they want to, we’ll also sell the book for them.
BUT, IF I UNDERSTAND CORRECTLY, POINTA DOESN’T HAVE ITS OWN IN-
HOUSE PRINTER OR GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
That's right, Pointa is a platform. A common marketplace through which authors
connect with those who can help them embellish the work. Graphic designers,
editors, writers, etc., are referred to as “book colleagues”. Although we’re always
looking for others.
The authors find out who they need via the marketplace. They’ll exchange examples
of their work, will talk about the volume of work, the timetable, and when they
become partners, they can start working.
As far as printing and other more demanding operations are concerned, we use our
sponsor network, Albatros Media Group.
SO, AT POINTA, FIRST-TIME AUTHORS WORK AS A SORT OF PROJECT
MANAGER? DO THEY FORM TEAMS AND FULFIL PLANS?
We say that they’re building their book projects, yes. Our motto is “The Book You
Want. Read. Write. Publish”
HAVE YOU GOT SOME INTERESTED AUTHORS ALREADY LINED UP?
We’ve already made deals with 15 authors. More than half of them are already
published, or are already known, personalities in the book world, especially in the
lifestyle sector. By the launch we’ll have prepared our own exclusive edition of curator-issued books.
HOW EXACTLY DOES IT WORK ON THE OTHER SIDE? HOW DOES THE AUTHOR ATTRACT READERS OR EVEN CONTRIBUTORS, THROUGH POINTA?
Besides the main platform, we’re building a pre-sales portal, where we’ll present the
books before the release. We’ll promote the authors through social networks, and
we’re also planning offline events.
But much of the work is the responsibility of the author. The colleagues in the book
world are also influencers or marketing people, but also the reader base, which can
be built up only through literature.
We’re also planning a whole range of educational events and podcasts, for example.
Through this, we want to prepare both authors and readers for the experience.
AND THE LAST QUESTION, THE LAST PHASES OF THE WHOLE PROCESS AND A PARTICULAR ISSUE. HOW DOES POINTA DEAL WITH DISTRIBUTION?
Two ways: creating our own e-shop, where all the titles are available, and building an
alternative distribution system. For example, a fashion periodical or a book about
design doesn’t have to be sold just in a bookstore. Why shouldn’t readers buy them
at a design store? Or at a club for fashion people? We want books to reach the
community that they are targeting. We don’t feel obligated to a bookstore or standard
distribution. But we always want to find a balance. And to make sure that as many
people as possible read the books and that the author can earn a living from them.