Part I of an Exclusive Two-part Interview with PENTIAN CEO & Founder Enrique Parrilla
By R.J. Huneke
On May 31, 2014 PENTIAN launched its revolutionary publishing and crowdfunding model in the US at the Book Expo of America.
Things will never be the same.
I was fortunate to sit down with Founder and CEO Enrique Parrilla, just hours after the exciting debut going on in the Jacob Javit’s Center in New York City, and his vision of the future of the publishing world is keen and bright for both readers and artists taking part in Pentian’s “everyone wins” platform.
Mr. Parrilla was very pleased when he stepped away from the buzz of the Pentian booth at the Book Expo to talk to me. Dressed in a sharp suit jacket and button-down shirt that was happily tie-less, his passion for books immediately became contagious.
He started off saying, “[we’re] launching as we speak, and people are going [crazy] over it.”
Pentian is invoking their crowdfunding platform, as a publisher, and their business plan calls on potential readers and investors to crowdfund their Pentian favorites so that the cost to create, print and distribute the book on the market is covered by the determinate readers who wish to bring their authors’ works to life.
Pentian believes that invoking a community around funding a book helps to add to the media exposure and burgeon its success.
Mr. Parrilla spoke very candidly that Pentian “seek[s] to reward . . . the backers with financial compensation for 3 years . . . with profits from [the funded] book. What this essentially does is create an army of sales people for that book working for you.”
Authors everywhere rejoice!
Rarely has a business model helped to provide them with such free marketing prowess or incentive.
He went on to say that with the “small army of people who are financially invested [in the projects] . . . we have a very fair mechanism to reward those people who have taken a risk.”
Who as an avid reader would not warrant risking a few hundred dollars on an author and/or idea they are passionate about – and feel would take the world by storm, whether hitting the best-seller list or becoming a successful Hollywood film – especially when they would be compensated a set percentage of sales for three years for their investment?
Readers and stockbrokers beware: there is a new investment portfolio in town!
“Being a publishing company ourselves,” says Pentian founder Enrique Parrilla, “we own the production process.”
The process is quite simple:
- Authors submit their work to Pentian, and they judge the project strictly based on the quality of the work
- Pentian and the author come up with a plan of how many and what types of mediums the book will be produced in order to get it on the market and place the project on Pentian.com’s crowdfunding site
- Pricing levels are suggested: reward levels $10 gets you e-book, for instance, or $25 gets you a hardcover copy and more money might get you a signed hardcover.
- Readers and investors contribute to financially cover the costs of the project’s production and receive a part of the profits from the sales of the book
- The author’s work is published at the very best of quality in both paper and e-format.
For Enrique Parrilla, the way that technology has opened up the world continues to amaze, and the connections between writers and readers can be made instantaneously, as working Pentian’s “crowdfunding platform . . . enables ‘disruptive’ financial connection between authors and readers.”
“In thirty days we can have a book sold worldwide,” says Mr. Parrilla, as he smiled proudly.
The reason Pentian promotes a “disruptive” connection is because they eliminate the old barriers – disrupt them completely – in favor of a more direct model.
Published books used to be only held by the traditional publishing industry model and, in more recent years, by self-published authors (the majority of whom do not provide readers with quality product, whether in the physical paper printed or in the actual written material on the page).
This is not the case now that Pentian has created a publishing uprising and Renaissance of written works, of all genres, in Spain.
Since launching its beta test model six months ago, Pentian has captured over 6% of the self-publishing market and that number is growing exponentially as the company launches in the United States.
Mr. Parrilla believes Pentian has “great potential because it’s all over the world . . . you can push a button and your product is everywhere.”
And now the US is eager to see Pentian’s newest headquarters location in Los Angeles, California thrive.
“The reason we set up shop in L.A.,” said Mr. Parrilla, “is because we are seeking relationships with the media producers, the people that are in charge of acquiring content and licensing rights and stories are having a hard time finding original stories . . . and we have a situation where the market can determine what is hot.”
How did Pentian first come about?
Enrique says that they “saw a need that wasn’t being met.”
He spoke of a scenario he witnessed being played out on a major crowdfunding site: “One day . . . somebody looking for four or five thousand dollars [on a Kickstarter or Indiegogo-like campaign] got $20,000 . . . and did not publish the book” and they fulfilled their contractual obligation, took the profits, but the readership did not get the product they wanted.
Pentian strictly adheres to planning the production of a book and crowdfunding for that cost alone.
The cost is associated with getting a book on the market, not on the traditional crowdfunding for books, like the Kickstarter model, of continued funding through a certain period.
Once a book is backed, the crowd-funding campaign ends and the book creation begins. This as Enrique Parrilla says, “instills a sense of urgency” to back a project while there is still the opportunity to invest in it.
And Pentian already has a host of worldwide distribution partners, including Ingram, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google, Apple, El Corte Ingles and more.
This is turning the publishing industry on its head – as Pentian’s P/R release depicts – by allowing the readers to choose what a best seller will be, not the big publisher’s President and their marketing budget.
“Everyone Wins” as they say in their press release (except maybe the “Big 5”).
In terms of the “Big Five” traditional publishing houses determining most of what readers in the world get to see published, that time is quickly passing. Their business model is being shaken dramatically at its foundations.
Everyone looks to benefit from a more hands-on approach to publishing, as Pentian is happy to point out.
How exactly does Pentian decide what is “quality” and will be put up for funding?
In order to maintain a relationship with reputable distributers, Pentian adheres to a strict quality control – if a book is illegible or not up to snuff in terms of its overall shape and idea, Pentian politely declines the submission; if it is raw or “not 100%” on the surface, but the project’s idea and content is great, they will offer a team of experienced editors to polish or format the project, but not to alter any of the key creative plot or character elements, only to streamline the grammar and finished product.
The writer does not have to worry about compromising their creative work based on the publisher.
Mr. Parrilla was emphatic that at Pentian they “do not get into the content, in terms of editing . . . [he has] friends that have been going back and forth with a traditional editor [and publisher] for a year and a half to publish a book with an adulterer as the protagonist,” but because the US market does not like adulterers they required the ending changed to reflect poorly on the adulterer.
Pentian does NOT get involved in the writer’s content.
Pentian is looking to do what many of us have as a fundamental basis of our reading and writing souls desired: art is made and published as it is meant to be depicted by the artist, and the readers who are interested will actually see it as such.
In terms of creating art and writing, Pentian only offers an editing team as part of the production process if the work needs help polishing its grammatical and clerical work.
Successful authors are currently flocking to Pentian, because of their favoring the artists that create the work, not the publisher.
“The 'Big Five' houses . . . are going to start losing quality content from authors,” said Enrique.
He immediately cited an example of an author that has a following of 70,000+ social media followers, and has published two books with one of the traditional publishers, and when he went to have his third book published, they said simply that they had no interest in doing it.
He could come back to them with his next project. The author went looking to take advantage of the fan base he built himself and fund the book that the publisher callously discarded without even testing the market for interested readers, and Pentian was where he ended up. [We’ll hit on this author, by name and in detail, in part II of this interview, folks.]
Coming Monday: Part II of the Exclusive Interview With Enrique Parrilla.
In the second part of this two-part article, you can look forward to the following topics:
- Pentian’s authors will be highlighted, as well as their concerns
- The FCC’s involvement in Pentian joining the US market
- The “quality comes first” mentality at Pentian
- Graphic Novels and comic books are currently 4-6% of Pentian’s offerings.
- The book making process will be looked at in further detail, and as Mr. Parrilla points out Pentian is NOT “Createspace where your book looks like crap, and they’re like ‘sorry’” when it comes out and does not sell.