Crowdfunding Books: Part Five – Inkshares

This is the fifth in a long series of posts outlining crowdfunding methods and ways to get a book published other than the traditional route. The overview is here, Kickstarter/Indiegogo is here, Patreon is here, and Pubslush is here.

inksharesAnd now we’ve reached the newest entrants into the fray. Inkshares comes into the crowdfunding arena with interesting quirks and massive support from one of the biggest names in the industry.

Ingram is the backer for Inkshares, and as such is in a unique position to provide services that the other platforms do not. A book proposal on Inkshares that meets the pre-sale target will be printed and distributed by Inkshares Publishing. Once a book reaches that target, essentially it is acquired by Inkshares and published. Ingram is a big name in Printthe industry, and certainly has the resources to make good on the promise.

Basics:

  • You start on Inkshares by registering as a creator. It’s free.
  • You put together a book pitch. This is a 140 character tweet, essentially. [Mine read: Delivering data in Virt is an invitation to pain. But that’s Ethan’s job. And today, it might actually kill him.]
  • You can upload samples of your work as well, pieces of the novel, as much as you like.
  • You also create a pitch-length synopsis of the book, analogous to the jacket blurb, to attract readers.
  • You put up a mock cover for the book. This isn’t what will be used in the final copy, but something like it, something again to attract attention.
  • You push the link out to Facebook and Twitter and what have you, and invite people to “follow” your book. This is a reasonable indicator of how many people are interested in your book.
  • You can stop right here if you want. But if you want to participate in Inkshares contests, where you can get your book published without hitting the pre-sale targets, you can flip the book from “draft” to “pre-sale” and get people to put their money where their follows are.
  • If you hit your pre-sale target, your book is published. If not, nobody is charged, no harm done. Inkshares does not take a cut unless the book makes it to print.
  • If you get published, you get editors, designers, marketers, publishers, distribution into bookstores, and 50% of the paper sales (70% of digital). You give up a non-exclusive print right to Inkshares, but that’s all. It’s a square deal, however you slice it.

Downside: You do all the pre-publishing marketing on your own. You need a solid platform to pull this off. You only get half the money on the sale of the book once it’s published.

Tips:

  • The low barrier to entry–all someone has to do is enter a couple pieces of information and click “follow”–means you can hammer your social media people without feeling too bad about it.
  • Make a good cover. If you’re going to get any followers from the group of cruisers on the site, you’ll need that.
  • Write a great first page. See the bullet above.
  • Follow a lot of other people. If you follow them, ordinarily they’ll follow you back.
  • Inkshares has a currency internal to the site that allows you to rack up money you can use to support other projects. So complete their tasks, build profiles, post your novel, get a certain number of followers, and you can use those bucks to support other projects.

Inkshares is so new–it only began last year–that it’s only now acquiring any kind of notoriety. As it does, the number of cruisers that might see your pitch and follow your book goes up. If you’re good. Write a good pitch.

My experience on Inkshares has been mixed. I love the idea and the website. The communication from the company to the author is stellar–I always know what is going on with my project. My problem is, and this is fairly common in my experience, that I don’t have a huge organic network of people that will buy my stuff. With Inkshares, I don’t get to trade on the cachet of the publisher to drive sales unless I can make my own market first. It’s understandable, but it’s going to severely limit the people that can make a go of it, and a lot of those people are going to think that if they have to do all that on their own, they might as well go whole hog and self-publish.

Still, the people at Inkshares are professionals, and there is a rumor of some other incentives, like the ability of backers to share in the success of the novel. We shall see.

Next time: Pentian.

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One Response to Crowdfunding Books: Part Five – Inkshares

  1. Pingback: Crowdfunding Books: Part Four – Pubslush » I Am Chris Jones

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