BYU graduate launches ‘YouTube for authors’

BYU graduate Matt Kastner demonstrates how to use Publish Pen, a publishing platform that allows writers get paid to publish content. (Hannah Miner)

BYU entrepreneurship graduate Matthew Kastner launched a writing platform called Publish Pen on Sept. 24. The website allows writers to publish their work and caters specifically to those who are just starting out in the business.

“It’s YouTube for authors,” Kastner said with a smile.

Kastner said the idea for Publish Pen came from trying to solve a common issue that aspiring writers face.

“If you are trying to publish a work, there isn’t a good and easy place to publish it,” Kastner said.

He said there are three main platforms where new writers can publish: Medium, Facebook and Blogger. The one thing all these platforms have in common is they don’t cater to writers just starting out, Kastner said.

“The problem with Facebook is that you won’t get paid to publish it, and most likely, no one will read it. Social media is too quick, so if you see a long article on your feed, you’re most likely not going to read it,” Kastner said.

Blogger requires knowing formatting languages like CSS and HTML and requires writers to send out a link of their work, something Kastner said “isn’t the most efficient method.”

According to Kastner, Medium, a popular online publishing site, also has its issues.

“You need to already be a published writer that’s just looking for another place where you can publish your work. If people subscribe to what you produce, then you get paid,” Kastner said.

As a solution to these dilemmas, Kastner’s Publish Pen website allows writers to post their own content much like a YouTuber would and have ads placed at every juncture on the page and get paid according to the number of views their work receives.

Kastner’s former roommate, Steven Seeger, spoke positively about Publish Pen.

“I wrote a couple of articles for the site, and I found the idea interesting and unique,” he said.

Seeger continued by saying that to him, Publish Pen felt like a platform that was more about the writers than the site, and it motivated him to write more about the things he found interesting.

Others are less optimistic about the new site.

“I think it’s a bad idea,” English student Jaden Steeves said. “I don’t think a platform like YouTube is logical for writing.”

Defending his claim, Steeves said that “writers are already monetarily stressed, so the monetary gain aspect to the platform could negatively affect their writing process.”

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