Leesville Native Creates Groundbreaking Publishing Software, Wins Major Investment

Micah Pickering
Leesville Daily Leader
Anthony "AJ" Joiner recently won the August 2021 Startup Showdown funding of $120,000 for his startup, Blooksy.

A man who was born and raised in Leesville has been making waves as an entrepreneur. Anthony "A.J." Joiner was announced as the winner of the Startup Showdown held by Panoramic Ventures. 

Joiner won a $120,000 investment in his startup company Blooksy. Blooksy is a cloud based software platform that designed to give authors everything they need to easily write and publish books. Blooksy is currently in an open beta testing phase with over 100 users. 

"Out of hundreds of applicants for our August competition, Blooksy won for its end-to-end solution that makes writing and self-publishing an easier, faster process," said Panoramic Managing Partner Paul Judge.

Joiner spoke to the Leesville Daily Leader about winning the Startup Showdown, starting Blooksy, and his journey that got him up to this point. He stated his background in software development, and his experience as an author uniquely prepared him to create the innovative publishing tool.

Joiner worked for years in the world of software development, and has also authored multiple books. He documented his experience writing his books and turned that into an opportunity to help other aspiring writers through seminars and mentoring. It was during that time, that he was inspired to come up with a way to make the process of writing and publishing a book easier and more accessible for people.

"I realized how much back and forth there was between the author, the publisher, and the editor," Joiner said. "So I took my 15 years of experience as a software project manager. I applied what I understood about building software to the book publishing industry." 

What separates Blooksy from other professional writing programs is that it is designed to help authors write and publish there books from start to finish. That means that things like writing, editing, finding a publisher, and illustrations can all be done with this innovative new software. According to Joiner, he was told by someone within Penguin Random House (one of the world's largest publishers) that Blooksy is the software that the industry has been waiting on for some time. 

Joiner said: "What I found was that there is a lot of software out there that helps people write their books. However, there was nothing that managed the process from the written word through publishing, and all the way to the point of publishing it to print. So I combined them into one process."

He described Blooksy as a tool for anyone who wants to write and publish anything, but has been too intimidated by the process. Novels, thesis papers, movie scripts, and cookbooks are just some of the helpful templates designed to help first time authors publish whatever it is they want. 

"Eight out of ten Americans want to write a book, but only one out of ten ever do," Joiner said. "This tool is for the other seven people who want to write a book but haven't because the process is so convoluted."

Although he now lives in Atlanta, Joiner has fond memories of his time growing up in Leesville. He credits a lot of his success to the influence that his mother and grandmother had on him at an early age.

He said: "I have to thank my mom and grandma. Growing up in Leesville watching them work and provide opportunities for our family was so important to me growing up." 

Joiner noted that prior to the pandemic, He would return to Leesville annually for a family reunion. One of the highlights of the event for Joiner was gathering together to listen to his grandmother's stories. The concept of preserving and recording those kind of stories are also a part of his work with Blooksy.

Blooksy has a voice to text feature that allows users to literally speak their stories into the program and have it transcribed.

Joiner said: "Wouldn't it be awesome to record your parents telling you about your family, upload it to the software, edit it, and then turn that into a book just by clicking a few buttons?"

During the open beta, Joiner proudly noted that a user reached out to him and said that she was able to complete the first draft of her book from scratch in a short amount of time thanks to the voice to text feature. 

After writing or recording into Blooksy, users can find an editor, illustrator, and distribution company all within the tool. The driving concept of Blooksy is to streamline the process of writing and publishing a book, and to help aspiring authors fulfill their dreams of being published. 

Joiner offered up some advice to those out there who want to have their own startup business. He expressed that it is important to keep service and problem solving in mind when developing a business idea. 

He said: "If you focus your intention on helping other people, you can create something that can change your life and the lives of other people around you."