At Heidi we are avid readers who were regular users of online reading platforms like Wattpad. Through correspondence with other writers and book lovers, we became aware of the tedious and expensive process of getting published. Authors generally pay literary agents to read and market their works to publishers. If successful, the author will then relinquish a wide range of rights and more than 90% of their royalties to publishers in exchange for publication. Publishers exclusively decide on how, when and where to publish. Authors often find publishers not considering them a priority, usually because of low sales figures.
So what does Heidi do?
Writers submit their works on the Heidi platform. Users then read the work for free and give it feedback. If the book gathers enough interest, an investment campaign is launched. Users can invest in the book using their crypto wallets, via the platform, if they think it has good potential. These reader-investors thus get two things from the platform: a new and potentially good read, and financial returns if they have identified a high potential book that ultimately gets published. This royalty crowdfunding mechanism could revolutionize the publishing industry through three essential traits:
• Fair royalties: authors are entitled to the totality of investment and subsequent sale proceeds, minus whatever royalty rights they have decided to open to the platform users and a small fee charged by Heidi;
• Fair rating: an author’s success is judged by their readership, and not by a small group of professional readers;
• Flexibility: if the writer is successful, proceeds can fund printing and advertisement, allowing for much more flexibility on the mode of production and distribution of the work than in the traditional publishing model.
Heidi investments are automatically transferred over a smart contract on the blockchain. Investors get royalty tokens in exchange for funds. Every time a reader pays to read the book, investors get their cash flow directly from the smart contract. This is a cheaper, faster and safer way of ensuring investment proceeds are paid. Moreover, crypto-investors get cashflow from FIAT readers. This contributes to linking the deep crypto-markets to the general public and real economy, in B2C fashion.
Challenges we ran into
We were challenged by the connection between the frontend and the smart contract. There is still room for improvement but we believe we reached a satisfactory outcome.
What we learned
More coding hacks, Web3, JS
What's next for Heidi
Follow us in the Future of Blockchain competition. We will also be deploying a Beta version on the French market this summer, with free of rights, beautifully formatted books to start building critical mass on the platform.