By Ingrid Süßmann
Neobooks, Epubli, Books on Demand — German indie authors have a variety of self-publishing platforms to choose from, several of which follow the same business model. However, Oetinger — one of Germany’s largest children’s book publishers with titles such as Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke — decided to take a different approach to self-publishing: in March 2014, they founded Oetinger34, a platform for creative collaboration among authors, illustrators, junior editors and readers.
Authors can post their projects to the Oetinger34 platform, which is still in beta, and apply to be matched up with freelance editors and illustrators. Book projects are open to feedback by the platform’s reader community of nearly 600 members (as of May 2015), and Oetinger’s editors review the books with the highest reader feedback for possible publication.
One of the titles now being published in this program is the series Kings & Fool, a mixture of fantasy and mystery, penned by young and aspiring authors Natalie Matt and Sila Matthes. The pair was coached by Bernhard Hennen, one of Germany’s most successful fantasy authors and mentor other to Oetinger34 authors. Like all forthcoming titles, the series will be sold as both print and digital books. More Oetinger34 titles can be found here.
When Oetinger34 entered the German publishing scene last year, Till Weitendorft, CEO of Oetinger, was quoted as saying: “Oetinger34 is a revolution and the first publishing house of this kind. Let others do the talking; we’re the ones changing the world.” Time (and sales figures) will tell if his vision for Oetinger34 turns out to be true.