On Writing : Care to share your INKSHARES experience? Opinions? by Elvira Drake

Care to share your INKSHARES experience? Opinions?

Has anyone used inkshares.com to publish (or attempt to publish) their novel? I created an account today because I was intrigued but I'd like to hear from people who have actually used the site.

Did you end up reaching your funding goal? How did it all go? Were there any bumps in the road you weren't expecting?

David E. Gates

I took a look at this... you basically have to be sure of getting more than 250 pre-orders before they'll consider taking your book to publication. I didn't like the way they talked about "our books" when considering progressing to selling TV/Movie rights. It's MY book, not theirs. :-) The royalty structure is about the same as Apple's (ie: You get around 35%). Doesn't mention anything about price structure so not sure if you're able to set your own pricing etc. Also, they said it takes 9-12 months for them to get your book into bookstores once you've hit the magic number of 750 pre-orders. That's a long wait. You can pay someone just a couple of hundred dollars/quid to get them to manage the publishing side of things (like formatting, editing, etc.) Hell, even I would do that. And your book could be in stores within a week or two of you having finished it! I'd self-publish rather than use them myself, but then I'm well established in the self-publishing world (ie: I know what I'm doing regarding formatting and getting it onto the virtual shelves!) having published eight titles all by myself (except the first which I had Lulu help with, though to be fair they didn't do very much!).

Patricia M Bates

Honestly, I would avoid using them. If you want to use a service to get you into the best market possible try utilizing a reputable editor, cover artist (both can be found for reasonable rates and agreements need to be in place) and use a platform which allows you to sell almost immediately upon release. I say almost immediately because most distribution sites take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to get the book up. Some storefront as well only release on a specific day.

Ensure whomever you work with is aware of your deadlines and any restrictions you wish to have in place. Once you've come up with the game plan in that sense you can certainly move onto the next phase. If you're looking for tips or tricks on how to get the word out and build a release buzz, network with other authors is a great start. Often times they will work with you to promote your work, and remember you're not selling a title, you're selling your author brand.

I hope that helps.

Elvira Drake

Oh yeah, I've posted a lot on Smashwords... I was just wondering if anyone has first hand experience. David, that's interesting (re: "our books")

David E. Gates

I utilise Smashwords in all my links now, especially since Amazon destroyed the search facility - for example, if you put in "David E. Gates" you'd expect it to find me. Nope. Not a single publication by yours truly because they screwed up the algorithm so badly. If you put "cats" in, you'll probably get "dogs". And it's not just my name either - Pink (P!nk) the popstar, released a new single a few weeks back and has an album coming out in three weeks. But put in "Pink" and you won't get any result that references that. Add to that, that Amazon removed/deleted my Author page for several days, that they remove any reviews if the person is following/friends with you on Facebook, and their Audible page suggests that I've written a number of books that aren't actually by me, in the "More by the same author..." section, and you have a pretty shoddy outlet compared to Smashwords or iBooks or just about any other bookstore. Yes, you should have your stuff on Amazon, but don't rely on people being able to discover it by actually searching for it.

Elvira Drake

Wow, David... I did have 2 short story books published through Amazon through Createspace (both of which I've taken down) but I had no idea their search was that bad. Did Amazon tell you why they deleted your author's page or did you just happen to notice it was deleted?

David E. Gates

They didn't tell me - it was restored after a few days. Their support is terrible. They didn't tell me it was back up either. I logged the issues with their search more than nine months ago and still nothing has improved. They claimed, initially, they couldn't fix it but given they "broke" it, they surely can? Their response to not finding "David E. Gates" was that my books are found, just on pages 18, 25 and 32 of the search results. Who the hell goes through more than a couple of pages? I'm done with them to be honest. Yes, my books are on there still but I don't reference Amazon for any advertising purposes now. At all. I even complained to their head office here in the UK. They just passed it back to their crappy support - whenever I try and chase them on it, after each three-month period, they just say "We're still looking into it". They're a joke. Apple, Smashwords, B&N, Bing and Google search brings up my stuff at the top when a search is done. Amazon's is just garbage.

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