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Thread: [Display site] Inkubate

  1. #1
    New Member; Teach Me About Thick Skin! francisbruno's Avatar
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    [Display site] Inkubate

    Hi,
    I was at the NH Writers Project, writers night out in Portsmouth last night and there was a representative from www.inkubate.com there. Apparently they are launching a service that pairs writers with publishers/ agents.

    To me, this sounds a little too good to be true as they claim a payment every time your profile is viewed and when an agent/ publisher agrees to "bid" for an opportunity to negotiate with you (not a bid on your work, it is very clear that you maintain copyright and you negotiate the terms of publication outside of the site).

    They do not collect money from writers, which is a plus and they claim they already have Houghton Mifflin Harcourt signed up for their beta. as well as two they couldn't name.

    The only downside I could find in the terms of service was:
    1. you cannot seek representation or contact editors directly while your work is on their site, but you can remove it at any time.

    I'd like to hear from the experts here what they think about this. I did a quick search on absolutewrite and couldn't find any existing threads.
    Francis Bruno

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  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    What can you do on Inkubate today?

    * Show your work for greater impact
    * Tell the world about your writing
    * Build your personal brand online

    What can you do when Inkubate’s full site is launched?

    * Refine your presence and brand
    * Get paid when excerpts are read
    * Be found by publishers & agents
    * Get connected
    YADS.
    ICAO
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  3. #3
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francisbruno View Post
    They do not collect money from writers, which is a plus and they claim they already have Houghton Mifflin Harcourt signed up for their beta. as well as two they couldn't name.
    They couldn't name them because they didn't remember who they are, or they're not willing to name them? Either way, I'm skeptical.
    Last edited by BenPanced; 06-07-2011 at 09:46 PM.
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  4. #4
    New Member; Teach Me About Thick Skin! francisbruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    They couldn't name them because they didn't remember who they are, or they're not willing to name them? Either way, I'm skeptical.
    He said they couldn't name them. I'm skeptical too, thats why I posted
    Francis Bruno

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  5. #5
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Inkubate Website:
    We want you to be as excited as we are, because we believe you’re looking at the future of publishing.
    Uh-huh. Tell that to the people who've launched similar display sites over the years.

    Inkubate Website:
    Inkubate is the only site designed specifically to show your work to the people who can put you in print: publishers and agents.
    Oh really? Check out all of the other display sites with exactly the same concept listed in this post:

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...27&postcount=4

    Inkubate Website:
    This may be just our first launch, but we have big plans.
    They always do.

    Inkubate Website:
    In a few months, publishers and agents will view the library of profiles and works you’ve built. The more you add, the more attractive you—and we—become.
    Come back with news of any of those publishers and agents getting writers from Inkubate a paying publishing contract.

    Inkubate Website:
    It costs you nothing, and it could put you in the perfect place to be seen, read, appreciated and discovered.
    Or you could just go down the old fashioned research and query route, which in the age of email and the internet is also available for free and means you're in control of your own process.

    Inkubate Website:
    Help us by uploading your work and following us on the blog, on Facebook, and Twitter
    Yes, help promote us even though we have no successes so far and no guarantee of success in the future ...

    Inkubate Website:
    We’re out to make the business of writing fun again.
    Oy vay.

    Inkubate Website:
    You are paid whenever a publisher or agent views one of your excerpts, and when an auction—the object of which is to win the right to negotiate with you—is concluded.
    So agents and publishers are going to pay authors for the privilege of reading their work? Why would they want to do that when they can already get their slush for free, how is that going to work in practice and how much are authors going to make?

    Inkubate Website:
    The publishing process today is inefficient, expensive, and decreasingly profitable.
    And yet commercial publishers and good agents are able to make money from it and for their authors.

    Inkubate Website:
    Publishers and agents need more efficient ways to discover great new work.
    They already seem to be doing well from the slush pile process.

    Inkubate Website:
    Only publishers and agents who are members of Inkubate will be able to view your work. Their industry credentials are carefully reviewed by Inkubate before they are allowed to join.
    Not good enough. Inkubate needs to post a full list of all publishers and agents viewing the site for writers to know if it's worth their while joining.

    Inkubate Website:
    1. Writers, join us and post your best work.
    2. Publishers and agents will visit our easy-to-search Discovery area and pay to read your excerpts.
    3. If they like your work, they bid in an auction for the right to negotiate with you.
    4. We pay you every time your work is read, and every time an auction results in a negotiation with you.
    Still not understanding why any publisher or agent would want to pay in order to read slush when they can get it for free.

    I'm also doubtful that any publisher or agent would be willing to pay to compete with other publishers or agents for the privilege of a manuscript.

    Inkubate Website: (BOLDING MINE)
    Right now, it costs you nothing to post your work. Inkubate provides you with an online portfolio format to host your profile and your work free of charge. Publishers and agents pay for the right to search our organized, relevant categories of writers’ work, searching by structured taxonomy and a looser, writer-provided tag-based folksonomy
    I wouldn't be surprised if that changes - especially if writers are only posting excerpts from their work because again (and with apologies for belabouring the point), why would any agent/publisher want to pay to read an excerpt then pay to enter into an auction with no guarantee of getting the manuscript or even having something complete that they can sell? It just strikes me as barking.

    Inkubate Website:
    For the time your work is posted on Inkubate, it must be the only place where the market can find and pursue the rights to publish it. You can remove your work from the site at any time. We honor your requests instantly, unless your work is under review by a publisher or agent when you request its removal.
    No. What happens if the publisher/agent reviewing your work isn't suitable for it? What happens if you have your work up there but no one is reviewing it? Inkubate doesn't get to dictate when and where a writer can submit their work. This is not a good deal.

    Inkubate Website:
    Inkubate takes copyright and intellectual property rights very seriously; in fact, it is our most important concern. We promise that your property will remain your property. First, our vetting process is very strict; we accept only proven publishers with good track records. Secondly, publishers, agents and writers must review and agree to comprehensive terms and conditions, which provide copyright assurances that are essential and acceptable to all parties. We also keep an audit trail, showing who accessed your work, and when.
    I'm not interested in Inkubate's assurances as to its vetting policy - if it wants to promote faith in who's using its site, then it needs to post a list of all agents and publishers who will have access. That's the fastest way of allaying concerns.

    Re IP rights - no reputable agent or publisher worth their salt is going to take someone's copyrighted work but again, rather than trust Inkubate's assurances re its copyright agreement, I'd want to see a copyright and have an undertaking from Inkubate that everyone's signed it.

    I'd actually be more worried about potentially losing first publishing rights - which is something that is not addressed at all on the site.

    Inkubate Website:
    How do I invite my peers?
    After you register, you’ll see an envelope on the lower right of your dashboard page with a number printed on it. That’s the number of invites you have remaining. Just fill in your friend’s email address, and click submit.
    Urgh. This is a personal turn off because it's relying on members spamming their friends.

    Inkubate Website:
    The publishing process today is inefficient, costly, less profitable than it used to be, and threatened by new business models. Great effort and expense is wasted by writers, publishers, and agents in the attempt to find each other. Inkubate replaces this inefficient approach with an organized system that provides publishers with a quality-driven, consistent process.
    So the costly publishing business is going to be less costly by having publishers pay to access manuscripts on a display site and then pay to participate in an auction of a right to negotiate for such manuscripts?

    Jog on.

    Inkubate Website:
    Discovery depends upon the careful curation of literary works. This is the vital difference between what publishers and agents do, and Amazon/Google’s publish anything model.
    I've read this several times and still don't understand it. It seems to assume that publishers/agents search Amazon and Google for manuscripts.

    There's a flaw there somewhere, but I'm darned if I can put my finger on it ...

    Inkubate Website:
    But Discovery can be inefficient, expensive, and fraught with risk.
    Not really. You shove a few unpaid interns in the slush room and see what they turn up, or you get people to read the queries that come flooding in every day to see if anything's interesting.

    Inkubate Website:
    Stacy Clark, a co-founder of Inkubate, is also an educator, writer and researcher who lives in Dallas, Texas.
    Doesn't say if Stacy has any publishing experience, but judging from the fundamental misconceptions on the site, I'm going to risk a guess that she doesn't have any.

    Inkubate Website:
    by submitting Manuscripts to Inkubate, the Writer grants Inkubate a worldwide, exclusive, royalty-free, transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display the Manuscript until such time as the Writer chooses to remove the Manuscript, pursuant to Inkubate’s Terms of Use.
    I'd be a bit worried about the "transferable" bit in this licence. I know it's standard wording, but in the context of what the site is doing, I'd want to know to whom they intend transferring manuscripts et al.

    Inkubate Website Terms of Use:
    Copyright registration is not necessary to submit your Manuscript; however, Inkubate suggests that you register copyright shortly after submitting your Manuscript if you have not already done so. Registration forms and instructions may be found at www.copyright.gov.
    You don't need to register copyright and this seems to me to be overkill.

    Inkubate Website Terms of Use: (BOLDING MINE)
    By way of example but not limitation, Inkubate may cancel the Writer’s password and otherwise prohibit the Writer’s access to the Site and/or ability to post Manuscripts to the Site in the event that the Writer’s subscription is not current or Inkubate determines, in its sole discretion, that a Manuscript submitted by the Writer violates these Terms of Use, in which case the Writer’s subscription fee will not be refunded
    Hello. For a site that supposedly has no plans to charge, it's definitely addressed in their terms of use. I wonder if that's the long term plan for the site.

    Inkubate Website Terms of Use: (BOLDING MINE)
    The Writer agrees that, in the event of any breach of these Terms of Use by Inkubate, the Writer's sole and exclusive remedy at law or in equity will be the refund of the current annual subscription fees the Writer has paid and that Inkubate will under no circumstances be liable to the Writer or to any other party for any other amount.
    Oh dear. Seems that they are at some point contemplating an annual subscription fee model.

    francisbruno:
    they claim they already have Houghton Mifflin Harcourt signed up for their beta
    I'd suggest that Houghton's have just signed up to help test the site and I'd be surprised if they're actually paying for anything as a condition of that test (mainly because the concept is just madness from their perspective).

    MM

  6. #6
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    So while you post with them you can't independently seek an agent or publisher? That looks like a deal killer to me right there.
    Last edited by veinglory; 06-07-2011 at 09:13 PM.
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  7. #7
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    veinglory:
    So while you post with them you can't independently seek an agent or publisher?
    Nope. And if an agent/publisher has started an auction for the right to negotiate with you (which is so vague as to be non-sensical in practical terms and in practical value) then you can't withdraw your manuscript from the site.

    Like I said, daft.

    MM

  8. #8
    Cluck that. Twizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francisbruno View Post
    Hi,
    I was at the NH Writers Project, writers night out in Portsmouth last night and there was a representative from www.inkubate.com there. Apparently they are launching a service that pairs writers with publishers/ agents.


    Howdy, Francis. I'm just a few exits north of you. Vair cool.

    Um, just curious, but this representative, did they appear on their own, or were they brought there by the NHWP? Writers night out is a pretty informal, anyone can drop in thing, so just wondering.
    "You're not a schmuck. You're just sort of a schmuck."-Giant Baby 2010

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  9. #9
    New Member; Teach Me About Thick Skin! francisbruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twizzle View Post


    Howdy, Francis. I'm just a few exits north of you. Vair cool.

    Um, just curious, but this representative, did they appear on their own, or were they brought there by the NHWP? Writers night out is a pretty informal, anyone can drop in thing, so just wondering.
    I actually live further south in Salem.
    The writers project knew he was there and gave him time to speak beyond the typical 1-2 minute intro's that we all give, but I can't say whether he was invited or not.

    I remember hearing about something similar, but as with the other comments here, I couldn't understand why a publisher would pay money for this service since they get many manuscripts a day for free to look at.
    Francis Bruno

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  10. #10
    Cluck that. Twizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francisbruno View Post
    I actually live further south in Salem.
    The writers project knew he was there and gave him time to speak beyond the typical 1-2 minute intro's that we all give, but I can't say whether he was invited or not.
    Yep. I was talking about Salem. I'm a few exits north. Not near Portsmouth myself, either.

    Interesting he was given extra time. Huh. It gets curiouser and curiouser.
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  11. #11
    New Member; Teach Me About Thick Skin! francisbruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twizzle View Post
    Yep. I was talking about Salem. I'm a few exits north. Not near Portsmouth myself, either.

    Interesting he was given extra time. Huh. It gets curiouser and curiouser.
    Nice. I talked to one of the writers project guys to get a venue in Salem or Windham for the SNH'ers.

    Not sure if it's worth reading anything into him being given extra time... It is a local company (based in Portsmouth) who claims to be helping authors and repeatedly said they don't charge authors and they don't allow anyone who charges authors access to their site.

    Of course two minutes into the spiel he mentioned they might have to have a membership fee at some point, but if you join now, it's waved.

    Oh well. The writers project seems to do a lot of good things, maybe it's an honest mistake or oversight not to vet them better.
    Francis Bruno

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    http://www.francisbruno.com

    WOTF Q4 V28 Semi Finalist
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  12. #12
    Cluck that. Twizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francisbruno View Post

    Oh well. The writers project seems to do a lot of good things, maybe it's an honest mistake or oversight not to vet them better.
    No way to know what it was, and regardless, it doesn't seem this Inkubate's doing anything legally wrong, lots of other sites have already tried this, but then I'm no expert. (Doesn't mean it's not wrong and a waste, tho, imo.)

    And let me know if you hear anything about closer nights out.
    Last edited by Twizzle; 06-07-2011 at 11:11 PM.
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  13. #13
    Cluck that. Twizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Quote:
    Inkubate Website:
    Stacy Clark, a co-founder of Inkubate, is also an educator, writer and researcher who lives in Dallas, Texas.

    Doesn't say if Stacy has any publishing experience, but judging from the fundamental misconceptions on the site, I'm going to risk a guess that she doesn't have any.
    Her website. http://dallaswriter.com/about.asp

    DHS Lit, who gives a rec on their home page, is also from Dallas. Just an aside.

    Also. http://www.facebook.com/Inkubate Makes me a little sad to see writers already signing up blindly, esp from the NHWP event. (Dudes, I'm a no one from NH too, and I got me an agent for FREE. All by myself. So. You. Can. Too.) But that's an aside as well.

    Jay Gale. Principal and founder. As well as a publisher and printing consultant. *groan* (perhaps this Cygnus, Inc.?) I wonder if that's one of the two unnameable presses. *GROAN* Anyway. Seems to be who Francis met? http://twitter.com/#!/jay__gale
    Last edited by Twizzle; 06-07-2011 at 11:02 PM.
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  14. #14
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Display sites are generally useless. They're worse if they charge the author for the privilege, but the main thing about them is that they're pointless and they waste your time.

    This one has a new wrinkle: forbidding the hapless writer to contact the real publishing world while their work is posted at Inkubate. Talk about wasting time! None of the things that Inkubate imagines are ever going to happen, and in the meantime the writer's work is just sitting there, inert.

    I've read through Inkubate's Terms of Service, and I don't see any penalties for ignoring them, aside from being kicked off the site without having your annual subscription fee refunded. I also see that Inkubate is not acting as an agent.

    I therefore assume that if someone posts a flaming hot property there and it somehow comes to the attention of the industry, there will not be an auction for the right to negotiate with the writer. Instead, the faster, smarter agents and editors and publishers who hear about it will follow the rules just long enough to get the author's name and location, and will thereafter ignore Inkubate and all its pomps.

    Pop quiz:

    a. Winning an auction for the right to negotiate with the author.
    b. Negotiating with the author.
    c. Signing the author to an advantageous and lucrative deal, then getting on with business.

    Which one of these qualifies as a successful transaction?

    Semi-digression: I've seen book auctions where one house was bidding for North American hardcover rights on an author's first novel, another was bidding on world rights for a hard/soft deal on the first three novels, and another house was bidding on some other assortment of rights I no longer remember. Royalty breakpoints and percentages were in play, as were escalator clauses. It was big fun. I can comprehend that level of complexity. But an auction where publishers are bidding against agents? I can't begin to figure out how that would work, and I'll bet Inkubate can't either. I'll also bet they haven't thought about what happens if the auction winner doesn't come up with an acceptable offer.

    But none of that really matters, because Inkubate's auction scenario is not how this would play out....

    Imagine you're the author of yon flaming hot property. It's a lovely morning, or rather it should be. The fly in your ointment is the knowledge that somewhere out there, at this very moment, Inkubate is muddling through an essentially unmanageable auction involving three legit agents you've never heard of, a publisher you don't like, another publisher you've only vaguely heard of, an editor who can't say anything without first making four separate phone calls, and a two-man team (one each, packager and former head of line turned consulting editor) who keep coming up with weird-sounding offers that no one understands. It's all rather depressing.

    Suddenly your doorbell rings. You open the door to find someone on your doorstep who looks and sounds exactly like Ralph Vicinanza, except he isn't dead. "Hello," he says pleasantly. "I'm the hottest agent in your genre. I'd like to talk to you. Can we do that?"

    Alternately, the guy at your door looks and sounds exactly like Ian Ballantine, ditto ditto not dead. He gives you a cheerful smile and says "Hi. I think I may be here to rescue you. Anyway, I'm very interested in your book, and I'd like to talk to you about some ideas I have. Would you like that?"

    Summoning up every ounce of willpower you possess, on your honor as a writer, you explain that you've got a deal with Inkubate, and there's an auction going on right now for the right to negotiate with you. Ralph or Ian (he's brought Schrodinger's cat along, and is petting it) is totally unfazed.

    "If you get an agent, that's who they'll be talking to anyway," says Ian.

    "All a publisher can do is make you an offer," adds Ralph. "You don't have to take it. You don't even have to give them an answer."

    You think hard for a few moments. "If we keep standing here, are more people going to show up?"

    "Yes."

    "Let's go somewhere and have lunch."

    (Note: If the literary property is commercially promising but not flaming red hot, the scenario is much the same, but the initial conversations are conducted over the phone rather than in person.)
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 06-08-2011 at 12:22 AM.
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    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Alas, I didn't know this was happening. Had I been there, I'd have raised my hand, and asked, "Given that this same business plan hasn't worked the last forty times it's been tried over the past twenty years, why is it going to work now?"
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 03-25-2013 at 07:11 PM.

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    Like this, Unk. Pure sincerity> ::::channelling Conrad Birdie::: "If you're really sincere, I mean are you REALLY sincere??? If you feel it right here, then lemme hear ya NOW!"
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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    practical experience, FTW Adobedragon's Avatar
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    I don't see the point. I mean, I could just as easily put up my stories on my own blog or website, where I'd have total control over the format, layout, etc.

    I imagine these display sites will claim that they get more traffic, therefore, giving my work more exposure. But I bet the bulk of the traffic comes from the very same writers whose work is posted on the site.


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    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    I got better results standing outside and waving my external hard drive in the air while screaming "HEY, AGENTS! I HAVE A MANUSCRIPT FOR SALE!"
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



  22. #22
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    I got better results standing outside and waving my external hard drive in the air while screaming "HEY, AGENTS! I HAVE A MANUSCRIPT FOR SALE!"
    You get more exercise that way?
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    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Yeah. My biceps are massive.
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



  24. #24
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Are you listening, Stacy Clark? Give it up. Your idea is neither new nor transformative nor the least bit promising. In fact, it's so hackneyed that it's the only literary scam that has its own acronym: YADS, Yet Another Display Site.

    The fancy software doesn't matter. What does matter is that the submission process isn't broken. Agents, publishers, and editors don't need your intermediation, and they won't come to your site. You're proposing to waste their time. They already have more submissions than they have time to deal with them. You also have no way to enforce exclusivity.

    But the real point is that literally scores of people have had the same idea that you've had, and none of them have succeeded with it.

    Quit now. Work on your writing. It has a chance of succeeding. A display site doesn't.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW thorjansen's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    149
    Some anonymous writer astroturfed at Huffington Post today, mentioning Inkubate and Pubslush as ways for writers to get published. More positive for Inkubate, of course. The promise that publishers and agents will actually pay to read writer samples posted on Inkubate is repeated there. And on Inkubate's Facebook page, they profusely thank two folks at HuffPo for the "article". I think it's easy to see who wrote that one.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1..._n_997068.html
    Last edited by thorjansen; 10-09-2011 at 02:00 AM. Reason: more info

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