Reimagining Content Consumption: A Conversation with Yashraj Sharma, Founder of Wyzr
In an age where the constant hunger for knowledge drives our daily lives, Yashraj Sharma, the innovative mind behind Wyzr, is reshaping the way we create and consume content. As part of my ongoing exploration of the dynamic publishing/content landscape, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Yashraj to delve deeper into the unique vision behind his venture.
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The Content Conundrum
Yashraj Sharma noticed a compelling trend in our digital era - the insatiable appetite for content. People now consume information at an ever-increasing pace, and they're increasingly seeking knowledge-driven content. Educational creators have risen to prominence as the average user seeks to enrich their minds. However, the existing social media channels, though teeming with content, often stifle a creator's ability to add value due to format limitations and overcrowded environments.
Wyzr's journey began with a simple yet profound observation: creators endeavor to deliver content through their preferred mediums, but it's a challenge for them to explore new formats and platforms. This limitation restricts the value their content can generate and confines their audience reach.
The Wyzr Solution
In response to this challenge, Wyzr is on a mission to transform the content landscape. The startup is dedicated to offering content enthusiasts and creators a one-stop hub for a multitude of formats. It all began with books, but Wyzr has grand plans to expand into audiobooks, animated summaries, and videos. Subscribers can indulge in knowledge in the format of their choice, and creators can now tap into a broader audience through a variety of mediums. While they may initially seem like book publishers, Yashraj Sharma assures us that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Today, Wyzr collaborates with experts and brands from diverse domains to co-create and publish books. Their unique selling proposition lies in the seamless support they offer to authors, resulting in a faster time to market. In the long term, Wyzr aspires to be an all-format knowledge platform housing original content in the form of ebooks, audiobooks, videos, and more.
The Man Behind the Startup
Before embarking on this transformative journey with Wyzr, Yashraj Sharma's professional background was nothing short of impressive. He traversed the realms of private banking, management consulting, and strategy roles. In his earlier days, Yashraj was a passionate sportsperson who played cricket for Karnataka during his engineering years at MIT Manipal. He went on to earn an MBA from IIM Indore, and, as he humbly admits, experimented with and learned from four startup ventures before finding his stride with Wyzr.
The Industry Landscape
Yashraj Sharma and Wyzr operate in a dynamic and evolving industry. The insatiable demand for knowledge-driven content in various formats is a trend that is only gaining momentum. In a world where the value of expertise and education is on the rise, platforms like Wyzr are becoming increasingly relevant.
A Conversation with Yashraj Sharma
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Yashraj Sharma's vision and the story of Wyzr, I had the privilege of engaging in a conversation with him. In this Q&A session, we explore the genesis of Wyzr, the challenges they're addressing, and their exciting plans for the future. Join us as we dive deeper into the world of Wyzr and the remarkable mind behind it.
Excerpts from the Interview :-
Q1) Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Wyzr and what motivated you to enter the publishing and content industry?
Yashraj : The inspiration behind launching Wyzr and my drive to enter the content and publishing industry stemmed from my passion for reading. As an enthusiastic book reader for several years, I noticed a significant trend. Most of the content and knowledge I consumed was from American authors, and their references and context mainly revolved around America. This realization struck me because India is home to numerous experts, and if you intend to build a business in India or reside here, you require content deeply rooted in Indian culture and context. Indian consumers have distinct behaviors and a unique cultural backdrop.
Q2) Wyzr is described as an "all format content platform." Could you elaborate on the different content formats you offer and how they cater to both creators and consumers?
Yashraj : Wyzr, though presently focused on physical books and e-books, is on a trajectory to become an all-format content platform. Our vision includes embracing audio and video formats alongside text. We're not just about publishing; we're poised to create original audio content as well. In the works is our digital app, expected to be operational in a few months, hosting our audiobooks and more.
We're planning to offer something akin to Blinkist, but with a unique twist. While Blinkist provides audio and e-book summaries, we'll do the same for classic titles, contextualizing them for an Indian audience. These won't be plain summaries; they'll be reimagined to resonate with Indian readers.
For creators, our platform offers a range of services. If an author collaborates with us, we won't stop at creating a book; we'll also produce an audiobook and a summarized audio version of the book. In the future, we're eyeing expansion into more languages to become a comprehensive platform.
For consumers, Wyzr bridges the gap for those seeking content in an Indian context. We're crafting audiobooks and summaries of both our own books and others, infusing them with Indian examples and insights. This approach sets us apart and appeals to a broader audience. In essence, we're striving to cater to the unique informational needs and preferences of Indian readers, promising a transformative journey ahead.
Q3) In your observations, you mentioned the growing consumption of content and the value of knowledge-driven content. How do you see Wyzr contributing to this trend and addressing the demand for diverse content formats?
Yashraj : Content consumption is undeniably on the rise, evident from the increasing hours spent on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, along with the surge in OTT apps. However, a significant gap lies in the availability of high-quality, knowledge-driven content. We aim to bridge this void by producing content akin to the insightful documentaries and series found on platforms like Netflix. The goal is to create engaging, informative content that stands on par with offerings from established networks.
The Indian audience, comprising both young and diverse age groups, is hungry for such knowledge-driven content, but it needs to be both educational and entertaining. Our vision is to package this content in a manner that captivates viewers without sacrificing depth. It's about filling the void and delivering contextually relevant content. For instance, there's a dearth of books catering to uniquely Indian challenges, like buying a house in India, which can be riddled with pitfalls. We're creating resources that guide readers through these complex issues while making the learning experience enjoyable.
In addition, we're developing content similar to HBR case studies but with a more digestible, Indian-centric approach, making business insights more accessible. Our commitment is to continue addressing these gaps with diverse formats as we grow, providing our audience with valuable and captivating content.
Q4) Can you share some examples of challenges that creators face when trying to provide content through their preferred mediums? How does Wyzr help them overcome these challenges?
Yashraj : Today, creators face several challenges when it comes to sharing their expertise through their preferred mediums. The dominant platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn primarily promote short-form content. While these platforms are excellent for delivering quick insights and sharing knowledge, the demand for long-form content, such as books, is still prevalent.
Many creators aspire to establish themselves as experts by publishing a book, but the process is far from easy. Traditional publishing houses like Penguin or Harper Collins, even after agreeing to publish a book, can take an excruciatingly long eight months to bring it to market. This extended timeline can be discouraging and counterproductive for both creators and their audiences.
This is where we come in. We've revolutionized the traditional timeline, drastically reducing the time it takes to publish a book. From the initial conversation to the book hitting the market, we've compressed the timeline to just three to four months, an unheard-of feat in the industry. Importantly, the books we create are not hastily put together; they are high-quality, thoroughly researched works.
The key challenge lies in the realm of long-form content. Many experts and professionals simply lack the time to write an entire book, even though they possess the experience and knowledge to do so. While platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others allow for the sharing of nuggets of wisdom, these platforms cannot provide the comprehensive space and depth that a book can offer.
Our platform aims to bridge this gap. We assist experts and professionals in turning their wealth of knowledge into long-form content in the form of books. This solution allows them to consolidate their insights in one place, making it more accessible to a broader audience. While short-form platforms can quickly fill up with tidbits of information from various sources, a well-structured book allows creators to offer a cohesive and in-depth exploration of their expertise. By helping experts share their learnings through books, we provide a valuable solution to creators seeking to differentiate themselves and present their expertise in a more substantial and lasting format.
Q5) Wyzr has entered a strategic partnership with Penguin Random House India for sales and distribution. Could you tell us more about this partnership and how it benefits Wyzr's authors and readers?
Yashraj : Our recent partnership with Penguin Random House India is a game-changer for both our platform and the authors we collaborate with. Initially, we began as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) books brand, working with authors who had substantial social media followings. This approach allowed us to harness the power of online distribution, predominantly through Amazon and our website. However, we soon recognized that for books to have a lasting impact and reach a wider audience, they needed a presence in physical stores.
This partnership addresses that crucial need. Penguin Random House India's established network enables us to distribute our books to major offline stores, including popular destinations like Crossword, airport shops, and standalone bookstores. Additionally, our books will find their way to various e-commerce platforms, including Amazon, expanding their reach even further. We will continue to sell directly on our website and Amazon as well.
For us, this collaboration means reaching a broader audience and gaining a prominent offline presence, a critical step in expanding our brand. When readers see our books side by side with those from major publishing houses, our brand perception and credibility are enhanced.
For authors, it's a status boost. Having their books featured in prominent offline stores elevates their work to the ranks of all-time bestsellers, adding prestige to their authorship. This partnership not only benefits us but also the authors we work with, offering a win-win scenario that brings us closer to more readers and enhances our collective reputation in the world of publishing.
Q6) How do you envision the future of content consumption, especially with the expansion into formats like audiobooks and animated summaries? What trends do you expect to see in the content industry?
Yashraj : In today's world, it's evident that attention spans are dwindling, and people seek easier ways to consume content. Books will always have their place, but the book market won't experience explosive growth because the number of readers won't drastically increase over time. However, there's a fascinating opportunity in packaging books differently to make them more accessible.
For instance, the same content in a book can be presented in animated or comic book formats, making it more engaging and simpler to digest. Audio versions of books are gaining traction, allowing people to absorb knowledge effortlessly. Animated summaries, in the form of videos, provide a condensed yet informative experience.
The key here is adapting to shorter formats that cater to shrinking attention spans. While there will always be dedicated book readers, to become a thriving business, we need to expand our customer base. Audiobooks, animated summaries, videos, and other engaging, shorter formats can help us achieve that. This evolving landscape caters to the changing preferences of modern consumers, offering them knowledge and insights in ways that are both convenient and appealing.
Q7) You mentioned that established names from various domains trust Wyzr for support in the content creation process. Can you highlight some key aspects of this support that set Wyzr apart from other content platforms?
Yashraj : What sets Wyzr apart, especially in terms of the support we offer to authors, is a radical departure from the traditional publishing process. In the conventional route, authors are often left to navigate the entire book creation journey largely on their own. They must write the book from start to finish, arrange for proofreading, and handle various other aspects, making it a cumbersome and often overwhelming endeavor.
At Wyzr, we've reimagined this process to be author-friendly. We begin by extracting content from authors through conversations and calls, thus reducing the effort and time they need to invest in book creation. We provide substantial support by constructing a well-defined structure for the book, including a comprehensive table of contents that outlines the chapters and their key points.
During these structured conversations, we ensure that the information flows smoothly, making it convenient for both us and the authors. Once we have recorded these valuable discussions, we use them as the foundational content for writing the book. Importantly, it's a collaborative effort throughout the writing process. Each chapter is shared with the author as we progress, allowing for their input and suggestions. This approach streamlines the book creation process, making it more efficient and ensuring that the author's expertise is seamlessly integrated into the book.
Thanks to this approach, we can complete books in a matter of two to three months and have them ready for sale within three to three and a half months. In essence, we've revolutionized the book creation journey, offering authors the support they need to bring their expertise to readers in a timely and effective manner.
Q8) Building an offline presence is crucial for book sales. How do you plan to leverage your partnership with Penguin Random House to improve offline visibility, and what are your expectations for sales growth?
Yashraj : Building an offline presence is crucial, and our partnership with Penguin is central to this strategy. Leveraging this collaboration is straightforward as Penguin boasts access to a vast network of bookstores across the country, each with established processes for book distribution. Through this partnership, our books will join the ranks of those sent to these stores, all under the Wyzr brand. Penguin serves as our distribution partner, not the publisher, ensuring our unique identity remains intact.
This expansion into physical stores is expected to have a significant impact on our sales. We anticipate a substantial increase, potentially doubling our current sales figures. When books are visible in stores, it not only enhances brand recall but also bolsters the book's credibility. The presence of our books in various locations increases the likelihood of people ordering them online. Though online sales currently account for 60% of book sales compared to 40% offline, it's worth noting that many online purchases are influenced by initial offline discovery.
Therefore, by making our books available in offline stores, we expect our overall sales to more than double, although precise data will be available in approximately six months when we've gathered sufficient information to validate these expectations. This strategic move ensures that we reach a broader audience, both online and offline, and enhances our brand's visibility and credibility.
Q9) Can you share some success stories or experiences of Wyzr authors who have benefited from the platform and the diverse content formats you provide?
Yashraj : Our authors' journeys, or what we can confidently label as success stories, are truly inspiring. Every author who has collaborated with us has achieved bestseller status in their respective Amazon categories, often maintaining their presence on these lists over time. Notably, books like Sarthak's, Sharon Hegde's, and Kushal Lodha's "Acing CA" have all been recognized as bestsellers, consistently resonating with readers.
For instance, consider Sarthak's experience. In a span of just nine months, we worked together to publish not one but two insightful books, both showcasing the depth of knowledge and expertise that the author possesses. This, to me, epitomizes success. Creating multiple high-quality books by a single author in such a short timeframe is an accomplishment that sets us apart.
Our commitment extends beyond just ebooks and physical books; we're in the process of expanding into other formats like audiobooks and more. The goal is to offer authors and readers diverse ways to engage with and share valuable content. These remarkable achievements underscore the effectiveness of our unique approach to publishing, creating a win-win scenario for both authors and readers.
Q10) Wyzr's mission involves reimagining how content gets created and consumed. What innovative strategies or technologies is the company using to achieve this goal?
Yashraj : We're not just reimagining how content is created; we're also revolutionizing the way it's consumed. Let's first look at content creation. The manner in which we're producing long-form content sets us apart globally. We're essentially filling a void by enabling experts to share their knowledge and experiences through in-depth books, a process that, to the best of my knowledge, no one else in the world is doing quite like us.
Now, onto content consumption. This is where our vision truly shines. We're crafting a platform that offers multiple content formats to cater to diverse preferences. Imagine having all your content in one place, available in various formats. Whether you prefer reading books, listening to audiobooks, watching videos, or diving into summarized ebooks, we aim to provide it all. This is not just a game-changer; it's a game-revolutionizer, aligning content with the way consumers want to engage with it.
When we reach our envisioned state, you can expect us to become something akin to Discovery Channel or CuriosityStream. We aspire to be a knowledge-driven content hub with a wide range of formats. We're starting with books and ebooks, soon to dive into audiobooks, and from there, the natural progression is video. Video content holds the largest market share and is still growing rapidly, especially in the digital realm. With the global digital video content value around $170 billion, it's an arena we aim to be part of.
Our mission is to create a brand deeply embedded in the knowledge space, helping people become wiser. We envision ourselves as a homegrown alternative to Discovery Channel or Nat Geo, hosting and producing high-quality documentaries and knowledge-driven content. While we're not entirely an all-format content platform yet, this is precisely what we're striving to become. Our journey continues to evolve as we work to deliver knowledge in the most accessible and engaging formats for our audience.
Q11) In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital content, what challenges have you encountered in establishing Wyzr as a trusted platform for creators and readers alike?
Yashraj : One of our primary challenges is our bootstrap nature. While it's great for maintaining control and ownership, it does have limits. Speedy growth is somewhat hindered because we can't make substantial upfront investments. In an ideal scenario, having more financial resources would enable us to expand faster, hire more people, and release a greater number of books. We're often perceived as progressing slowly, but it's important to understand that our bootstrapped setup naturally dictates a measured pace at this stage. Additional funds, if they were available, would ease this constraint.’
Our challenges are quite typical for a startup, especially one in the book publishing realm. Initially, there may be doubts about whether we can deliver on our promises. However, I believe that in terms of addressing creators' needs, we're distinct. We provide comprehensive support to authors, guiding them through the entire process, from content creation to sales and marketing. While there's always room for improvement at each step, I don't see many challenges in fulfilling what creators want. People desire multiple formats and even faster processes, which we're actively working on.
As a relatively small brand, having published just six books so far, we are aware of certain perception-related challenges and questions regarding our capabilities. However, we're committed to addressing these by releasing more books and further enhancing our services. With time and continued effort, these challenges will naturally dissipate, and our brand will continue to evolve, meeting the needs and expectations of both authors and readers.
Q12) Finally, as an entrepreneur in the content and publishing industry, what advice would you give to aspiring creators or individuals looking to enter the world of content creation and distribution?
Yashraj : My advice for anyone venturing into this space is straightforward: prioritize quality. Quality is the distinguishing factor that sets you apart. Some may chase algorithms, hoping for immediate followers or views, but in the long run, it's the quality of your content that truly matters. While you may not see an instant surge in readers or viewers, if you consistently deliver high-quality work, it will be recognized.
Building a brand and the overall value of your business will be significantly higher than those producing generic or mediocre content. This belief is at the core of Wyzr's foundation. We are committed to a focus on quality because I've observed over the years that those who endure and make a lasting impact are the ones who consistently deliver quality.
I'm prepared to put in the effort over the years, knowing that the results will eventually come. So, my advice is simple: emphasize quality, continually seek ways to enhance it, and trust that it will pave the way for your success.
Thank you all for reading and a big thanks to Yashraj for collaborating in today’s post!
If any of my readers here , wish to know more about Wyzr. They can open the links mentioned below. It has all the essential details.
Website : https://wyzr.in/
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/company/wyzr-in/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/wyzr.in/
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