Featured Startup – liloQui Digital Publishing

Today’s featured Indiana startup business is liloQui Digital Publishing, which is developing a social publishing and reading platform for authors.  Started by an author who is tired of the traditional publishing game, liloQui hopes to help authors get their literary works published (to the cloud) and to open up conversations among readers.  Pretty cool idea.  I spoke with Ryan Brock (@ryanbrock), Founder and Publishing Director, about this new publishing platform  – check it out below.

Tell us about your startup…your words…whatever you want to say.

If all the world’s a stage, then authors and readers alike have lost their spotlight to an ensemble cast of agents, publicists, booksellers and businessmen. In today’s literary world, talent and passion often take a backseat to business and the bottom line while many talented independent writers go unpublished. At liloQui Digital Publishing, our vision is simple: give these authors a chance to step away from the rest of the cast by publishing them in the most immersive, viral, accessible way we can. With liloQui, there are no downloads, no new software and no expensive eReaders involved. Stored on the cloud, our works are vibrantly designed and effortlessly sharable. We make reading truly social, promoting conversation right within the world of the story and helping independent writers connect directly to their audiences.

How did you come up with concept for your business, and how/when did the business model for that concept become clear?

The whole idea behind liloQui began with a discussion between an author and a web designer. My partner, Josh Littlejohn, came to me with an idea to help me develop my own web presence as a writer by coming up with a really unique interactive website to showcase my work. The more and more we talked and researched and brainstormed, the more we began to understand just how much missed opportunity there was for authors to take full advantage of the power of the web. We realized that I wouldn’t be the only author interested in seeing what could really be done with a new approach to literature online. With that in mind, we began building a business model around digital publishing that makes use of HTML5 design standards, viral marketing and social reading.

What made you first believe that starting a business is right for you (i.e. as opposed to working for someone else)

For me, it’s all about passion. I think I can speak for myself and my other partners when I say that we decided to found liloQui because needed a place to really let our passion for what we do burn and grow. As an independent author, I recognized an opportunity to do something amazing for others who, like me, have struggled to get their work out there, to find an audience, to get published. I can’t say that I grew up aspiring to be a small business owner someday. I can, however, speak to my love of stories and the people who write them. Someone once wrote that your vocation should be where your greatest passion and the world’s greatest need meet. In my world, there is a great need for what we do at liloQui, and that’s why I started this business.

What challenges have you encountered?

Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart, especially a publishing company. The entire publishing industry is in transition as everyone is trying to figure out how to enter the digital space. For us, the biggest challenge has been really working to keep our vision unique and relevant while learning how to communicate that vision. There are so many buzzwords flying around when it comes to digital publishing that it’s crucial for companies like ours to stick to our guns and be as true to our original vision as we can.

What sacrifices have you made to start your business?

Our team has been working tirelessly to build a brand, market our vision and develop a good product. When you run your own company, it’s downright impossible to keep your weekly workload down to 40 hours. All of us at liloQui have sacrificed huge portions of our social lives (not to mention many hours of good sleep) in the interest of making our vision come to life. But when you are as passionate as we are, these sacrifices are more like good opportunities. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

In your opinion, what makes Indiana a great place to start your business?

There is just a ton of great stuff going on here for startups and people who run them. All around the state there seems to be this buzzing culture surrounding small businesses, from annual events to monthly networking meet-ups to all sorts of groups and organizations dedicated to supporting and connecting small business owners to each other and potential supporters and clients. We have high hopes for all the connections we’ve been building in the state and I think everyone is just excited to witness and encourage the growth of new companies in Indiana.

If you could give an entrepreneur looking to start a business one piece of advice…what would it be?

This might seem a bit contradictory, but my advice is twofold: Stay focused and remain open. At liloQui, we have a very specific passion driving what we do, and it’s very easy to get sidetracked by any number of distractions. Don’t try to be all things to all people, just be yourself and do what you do best. Don’t sacrifice the vision that makes you unique and you’ll go far. At the same time, however, don’t ignore all the sources of inspiration and support that surround you. Share your vision freely and listen to anyone who wants to talk. Not everyone will have profound insight, but you never know who can push you, challenge you and support you.


Stat Sheet:  liloQui Digital Publishing

Categorized: Featured Indiana Startups

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