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February 19, 2013

The Pluralsight Opportunity

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Since our recent Series A funding announcement, we have received numerous emails a day from candidates interested in authoring courses for our professional training library. The questions are usually the same so I decided it was time to write this article on the Pluralsight opportunity and how to get started for those interested.

Our goal for 2013 is simple:

Amass the largest, highest quality, body of knowledge for professional software developers on the planet.

We are accomplishing this by partnering with today’s leading software development experts to produce “courses” for our fast-growing training library. This year we have an aggressive goal to publish over 600 new courses, which will bring our library to over 1,000 courses by year-end. This creates a tremendous opportunity for future authors.

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The hardest part of this, however, is finding the right experts because, by definition, they are in short supply and scattered all over the world. Nevertheless, we work tirelessly to find them each and every day. If you believe you’re one, please keep reading.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A PLURALSIGHT AUTHOR?

We’re constantly searching for today’s thought leaders and software craftsmen with something interesting to share. The most important requirement is that you have expertise in some aspect of software development that could be of value to others.

We believe there’s tremendous value in our library having a very long tail over time. Some of our topics are broadly applicable while others are very narrowly focused. Pluralsight commissions both ends of that spectrum and everything in between.

Although technical expertise is a fundamental requirement, it’s not the only one. We also look for candidates with a passion for teaching and sharing their knowledge. We want to work with authors who absolutely love helping others. We look for the best communicators and presenters in the business, which explains why we’re constantly scouring conferences and getting to know the best speakers. And finally, we look for authors who believe in the power of community, mentoring, and giving back.

WHAT TOPICS ARE WE LOOKING FOR TODAY?

We are looking for all topics of interest to the software development community. You can browse our library to see what’s there today. If you feel you have something to add to the body of knowledge, we’d love to discuss it with you. The opportunities are endless, really. Ultimately, our authors help shape the future of our library every day.

Today, our library is very strong throughout the Microsoft landscape and we’ll continue to make even deeper investments there in 2013 and beyond. We’re also investing heavily in other areas and actively looking for new authors to help build them out. Here are ten of the top software development communities we’re actively targeting today:

  • Smartphone with bookshelf - e-book library conceptMicrosoft
  • Apple/iOS
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Force.com
  • Amazon
  • Google

If you’ve been speaking at conferences and user groups on any of these topics or, better yet, teaching professional classroom training events, we’d love to talk to you. In addition to these technology areas, we’re always looking for software craftsmen who have expertise to share in areas of software design, architecture, UX, patterns, and practices.

HOW DOES THE AUTHORING PROCESS WORK?

This opportunity does not require you to travel anywhere or to block off entire weeks of time. It’s something you can do from the comfort of your home office, at your own pace, and on your own schedule. Once you’re accepted as an author and have a signed agreement in hand, our content team will help you get your home office setup and train you on the specifics of the authoring process.  The rest is up to you.

WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL MODEL FOR AUTHORS?

Like I said earlier, our model is based on building financial partnerships with our authors, which have become quite lucrative as we’ve grown. We believe our authors – and the quality of their content – is the key to our success. We also realize it’s not possible to work with the best in the business unless the economics work for everyone. Hence, we designed a financial model for our authors that provides great upside over time.

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We offer two forms of payment: an upfront course completion fee paid upon receipt of the course deliverables and a long-term royalty based on the usage of the course. Both terms are negotiable based on expected demand and need for coverage in that area. Authors get an immediate return (on their investment of time) from the course completion fee but then have an unlimited upside tied to the course’s usage over time.

Today, an average author earns around $40,000 – 50,000 in annual royalties and our top authors can earn over 10-20x that amount. And the numbers are growing. It won’t be long before we have authors earning over $1M in annual royalties, which is exciting.

One of the main benefits of this financial model is that once you’ve made the initial investment of time, you continue to receive a residual financial benefit. And unlike other publishing industries, our authors’ royalties have actually grown over time (relative to revenue growth), illustrating the power of the financial partnership we offer.

INTERESTED?

If you’ve read this far and you’re still interested, please email authoring@pluralsight.com with a list of topics you’re interested in contributing along with links to your online profiles (or a resume/CV) and someone from our team will be in touch to discuss next steps.

Please help us spread the word. If you have a friend or colleague who might also be interested, send them a link to this post, and encourage them to reach out. Everyone benefits from us adding more experts to our ever-growing library.

About the Author

is the President/CEO of Pluralsight. He works every day to deliver more value to Pluralsight's growing number of subscribers by publishing relevant, high-quality courses each and every week along with new product features to improve the modern online learning experience.


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