Although self-publishing platforms such as Wattpad and Medium have been around for over a decade, they’ve only become increasingly popular among writers, especially since the pandemic hit in 2020. According to Claire Squires of The Conversation, demand for books and reading skyrocketed during the height of the pandemic due to shutdowns and social restrictions. Being forced to stay home has encouraged people around the world to curl up with a good book (or Kindle, if you like that), and with working from home it has become writing at home. Fortunately, these writing platforms have served as a community for avid readers and self-published writers.
However, one of the main concerns of most mainstream writing platforms is the lack of compensation for authors. Often, writers contribute their time, expertise, and even money to these online communities without even a penny to show it – as if writers aren’t underpaid enough as they are.
Fortunately, a new online writing platform called Simily is working to solve this problem. Co-founders Allegra O’Neill, Shannon O’Neill and Katie Wilson believed it should be easier for writers to connect with readers and succeed online. Additionally, these writers should be paid for their work in the process.
“We came up with the idea for Simily about a year ago,” Allegra explains. “Shannon was working on another website at the time she called me and pitched the idea of a fiction story platform. We both wanted a way to discover great fiction online and find a replacement for the time spent endlessly browsing social media.
Allegra says that from there, the Simily team came together easily. “Katie, who was working as an English teacher, joined the team a few months later.”
“I met Allegra at Penn State, where I majored in English, Secondary Education, and Media Studies,” Katie says. Although she never expected to work at a writing startup like Simily, Katie was looking for a way to help her students find recognition for their creative writing. “Simily’s focus aligns so closely with the work I do in my life — it seems like a perfect fit,” she says.
Allegra also didn’t expect to work at a writing startup. “Actually, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do next. [graduating from Penn State],” she says. “My career has focused on education and educational publishing, but I’ve always been an avid writer. Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to publish a novel.
Shannon, however, is the one who got the ball rolling. “I’ve always loved startups and worked in startup environments pretty much my entire career,” she says. “When Allegra and I discussed the idea of Simily last year, we decided to go for it without much hesitation.”
“When Shannon brought the idea for Simily to me, I knew it was something I was passionate about and wanted to work on,” Allegra added.
Allegra’s passion for a self-publishing platform for writers stems from its own struggles with the corporate publishing industry. “It was important to me that the first concept of Simily be shaped from the writer’s perspective,” she says. “After my first novel was rejected by over fifty literary agents, I became determined to democratize the world of writing and remove control from traditional publishing houses.”
In the writing world, there is often a divide between authors who have used a traditional corporate publishing route and self-published authors. “I think, in part, this divide exists because traditionally published work is considered the highest standard because it has been chosen by publishers, it has been edited, tweaked, marketed and perhaps even finished. on a bestseller list accordingly. “says Allegra. “Self-publishing doesn’t require this kind of ‘verification’ process, because writers can publish their work to a site like Simily with the click of a button.”
“In the age of digital media, I don’t think that divide should exist,” she continues. “There are so many talented writers in the world – it seems foolish to limit ‘credible’ work to the standards of traditional publishing, where a finite number of people decide which books get published each year. Self-publishing provides the opportunity for all writing to be presented to the public, allowing readers to decide which articles will be successful.
And in turn, giving readers more control over what succeeds on these writing platforms will also allow writers to receive more productive feedback. Since corporate publishers tend to guide authors only in the directions that generate the most profit, Simily can be a useful tool for gauging public opinion before a book actually goes to print.
However, Allegra believes there are still many opportunities for collaboration between self-publishing and traditional publishing. “Traditional publishers should view self-publishing as a great opportunity to discover their next writer or story, while self-published authors can benefit from building an online audience without a strict approval process” , she says.
Simily was developed with the aim of bridging this gap, according to its co-founders. “We recognize the value of traditional publishing, but we also see the challenge for some writers to get their (often excellent) work read,” says Allegra. “In some cases, it’s the lack of an audience that keeps them from being discovered, which is why our goal is for Simily to be a place where writers can establish a reader base.”
“We want writers to receive on Simily to increase their discoverability and help them get noticed by publishers, if that’s the path they want to pursue,” Allegra continues. “But more importantly, we’re building a platform where writers can earn enough money to write full-time.”
Simily is a platform that prides itself on paying writers, and its co-founders are deeply committed to paying writers fairly. “One of the things that I personally struggled with as a writer was knowing that I had a novel that I was proud of, but it was just sitting on my computer,” Allegra says. “I tried for years to get it published, but I wasn’t making any progress.”
“When we launched Simily, we put author compensation at the heart of our mission,” she says. “It’s important to us that writers get paid for their work and our goal is to make Simily a place where writers make a living. As we grow, we are constantly evaluating the platform to ensure we keep the needs of the writer at the center.
Although Simily is often compared to older writing platforms like Wattpad, author compensation is just one of its main differences. “On Wattpad, only a select few writers are eligible for paid stories,” says Allegra. “We believe it is our duty to elevate the quality of writing without being gatekeepers. We focus on improving creative writing to help writers get discovered, build an audience, and to be paid.
Another key difference between the platform and its competitors is Simily’s commitment to ensuring writers retain full rights to their work. “You have full control over your story, your editorial process, its posting to the site, and what you can do with that work after you click ‘publish’. If you decide to publish elsewhere or turn your story into a draft to continue working, you can do that,” Allegra says. “We believe creators should always own the rights to their work.”
But more importantly, Simily is great for creating an intimate community between writers and their readers. “We’re designing the platform to allow writers to post their work and connect with a reader base,” says Allegra. “To do this, we’re addressing several aspects of the writing process with resources aimed at helping writers hone their craft.”
“We encourage writers to get involved in the community aspect of Simily, where you’ll find support on writing structure, editing, coming up with new ideas, and getting feedback from readers.” she. “Simily Workshops, Writing Hours, and Writing Groups provide a unique experience for freelancers to hone their skills and get real-time feedback from a community of like-minded writers.”
No matter your skills, Simily is here to help you become the best writer you can be. “We welcome any creative writing, both fiction and non-fiction,” says Allegra. “Poetry and fiction do well on our platform, but the best way to find out is to post your first story!”
If you’re looking for an uplifting online writing community that will pay you for your work, Simily might be the platform for you. Sign up today at simily.co and feel free to contact Allegra and the Simily team at [email protected] with any questions.