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Thread: [Publisher] Inkshares

  1. #1
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    [Publisher] Inkshares

    Hey everyone (I am so frustrated that I have spelled quandary wrong in the title...),

    So, I've been writing this book for 5 years and have gotten agent interest in it, but it's never been quite right. I had an agent for a while and she didn't like my writing at all and gave me very specific notes and I have changed the book so many times to suit her...and in the end we parted ways.

    I ended up self-publishing two of my manuscripts that I had with her, which I am confident about because they are within my genre (which is literary YA). I was going to self-publish this one I've been working on, but I feel very paralyzed about it as I'm afraid it just isn't going to be up to snuff. I'm a PhD student, so I can't afford to drop $6000 on an editor and then cross my fingers that I'm going to make the $6000 back...especially because I'm trying to save up for a car, etc.

    Inkshares, a company that does crowdfunding and then traditionally publishes books, has been very excited about my book. I'm having to try to raise $13,500 to get it published. This is a new model (it doesn't seem legit, but I've checked it out and it is...they have Daniel Wallace as their first author and several others down the pipeline) to try and get books out that people want to read.

    The person I've been talking to liked the book, but wanted me to make some changes to my first chapter (namely changing the entire POV). The first chapter has been worked on with an editor (as hired by my agent), a second fresh-out-of-her MFA editor and has received feedback from several other third parties. It has been worked and reworked to get to this point, but they want to change a lot to make it "stronger" to pitch to funders. If it is accepted, I would be matched with an editor from a publishing house, not this person who is suggesting the edits. I feel as though I have been chasing my tail for 4-5 years when it comes to this manuscript and I'm about ready to throw my hands up as everyone has a different idea of how it COULD be better to be publishable. Yet, I'm still not getting a deal because I KNOW I need some help, yet it's like the help I'm getting isn't the right one.

    I am busy with my PhD and don't have the "fanbase" (even though I am a blogger, my followers aren't willing to pony up any cash) in order to get this book published by Inkshares. It sounds promising, but I'm just not willing to do any more changes if there is no guarantee of anything. Plus, the person making the requests admittedly doesn't read a lot of YA and doesn't know much about the genre, which also makes me hesitant. Does that make me difficult to work with?

    You can check out the first chapter here: (link removed) and let me know if you think I'm being an idiot!
    Last edited by Sage; 09-21-2014 at 09:40 AM. Reason: removing link

  2. #2
    Independent fluffy puppy. Osulagh's Avatar
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    So, what's the problem here? It sounds like you've got a lot of them but you're not nailing down what you want help with.

    You need an editor? You don't need an editor. You can ask family, friends, beta-readers, and whatnot to edit your novel.
    I will say: Reading your prologue, I understand the editor's concerns. It's just an info-dump as a prologue. If they say it needs to be reworked to be stronger, I say it needs to be cut.

    And you already have the book up on this site. What help do you need, monetary?

    That site also seems flaky. So they're a vanity publisher, making the author raise the money through crowdfunding. I see no published work that's out on the market, all their covers can be made in MSpaint with a simple overlay, they don't see to do anything more than the requested print run (meaning if 154 books are funded for print, that'll all they will print, ever) and they're asking $15 for a digital version. While taking 30% of everything--including the initial fund, which they enforce to meet their initial upfront cost of labor.
    I wouldn't touch them.

    Also, it's trade publishing, not traditional publishing.
    Last edited by Osulagh; 09-20-2014 at 08:44 PM.

  3. #3
    Democracy Dies in Darkness Marlys's Avatar
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    If you don't have the money to self-pub your book in print, why not try e-book format first? The cost for that is minimal, and if it does very well you can use the proceeds to put out a print version. Asking strangers for the money seems sort of risky at best.

    As far as editing, drop a few bucks on a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dan King. It's a skill that writers really need to develop for themselves. But you don't have to do it in a vacuum--also see if you can get some good beta readers to help you with your story's flow as well as whatever technical issues it might have.

    My personal advice on your first chapter would be to start with your MC, not the student guide. I quickly started skimming, hoping you would cut the excerpt short and get to the story. The world-building can be woven in as you go, instead of info-dumping it on the reader--who isn't likely to stick around to get past it.
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  4. #4
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    The issue here is that my agent and the person at Inkshares all really like the prologue. I'm getting about 75% of people really liking it and 25% telling me to cut it. This guy at Inkshares doesn't like the chapter itself. Here is an article about Inkshares: http://thoughtcatalog.com/adam-gomol...f-publication/

    The published work isn't on the market because they are new and haven't had anything out yet. They will have Daniel Wallace's new book out shortly. They aren't a vanity publishing, but you can have your own opinion about it. They have a few other famous authors in the pipeline as well who have invested in the company.

    My issue with self-publishing, even if I read a guide about it, is I feel very passionately about this book, but it just seems like I can't ever nail it enough for the people who really matter. I don't want to be chasing my tail repeatedly and I'd like some sort of person who can sit down with me, help me with what's going wrong and then I can hammer it out. I've already had two people do that, but apparently, it still isn't good enough. Because of that, I don't have the confidence to self-publish it. Even as an eBook, that doesn't solve the issue of the story itself.
    Last edited by downtherabbithole; 09-20-2014 at 09:53 PM.

  5. #5
    Has semi-colon; will use it! jtrylch13's Avatar
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    I have a few questions:

    1. Are you interested in making money off a writing career, or are you just writing for yourself and want to share your work?

    2. Did you make any money off the sales of your first two self-published novels

    3. How did you publish those and why are you not interested in using that method again for this current novel?

    4. I realize you had trouble with the first agent over this book, but is there a reason you don't want to seek another agent that may meet your needs better than the first? I've heard lots of writers starting out with one agent will find a new agent if they discover that their visions for career/book are not the same.

    I have never self-pubbed before, but I will keep that option open if I can't get trade published. And lots of people see trade publishing and traditional publishing as the same thing. I've heard it called both. I'm not sure why you would be hesitant to work with an agent on this. Personally, I wouldn't spend any money on publishing unless it was a) my money b) a true investors money (not crowdfunding c) I had huge plans for marketing book and planned on making back every penny plus some that I spent to get it published. Just my opinion, but crowdfunding usually pisses me off unless it's for charity or something. Asking people to fund your dream is irritating to me.

    And if you need editing, I have had excellent experience with betas here on AW and I know of various editors available on line and they don't charge $6000. I for one like to beta read when I have the time and there several others who do the same, even if they don't need opinions on their work.
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  6. #6
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    I have a few questions:

    1. Are you interested in making money off a writing career, or are you just writing for yourself and want to share your work?

    Making money, yes.

    2. Did you make any money off the sales of your first two self-published novels

    Yes, I make about $500-$600 a month, but I could make more if I had a marketing budget.

    3. How did you publish those and why are you not interested in using that method again for this current novel?

    I used Amazon.com's CreateSpace. I don't feel confident because this book is not my genre while the others are the type of books I have spent years writing.

    4. I realize you had trouble with the first agent over this book, but is there a reason you don't want to seek another agent that may meet your needs better than the first? I've heard lots of writers starting out with one agent will find a new agent if they discover that their visions for career/book are not the same.

    I haven't been able to secure an agent and I am frustrated with the whole process. I have had lots of interest after the first chapter, but then the book loses them after some point and they decide it isn't for them. That's why I'm pretty positive there is an issue with something I'm not putting my finger on in the narrative of the book.

    I have never self-pubbed before, but I will keep that option open if I can't get trade published. And lots of people see trade publishing and traditional publishing as the same thing. I've heard it called both. I'm not sure why you would be hesitant to work with an agent on this. Personally, I wouldn't spend any money on publishing unless it was a) my money b) a true investors money (not crowdfunding c) I had huge plans for marketing book and planned on making back every penny plus some that I spent to get it published. Just my opinion, but crowdfunding usually pisses me off unless it's for charity or something. Asking people to fund your dream is irritating to me.

    I'm not hesitant, I'm just unable to secure one and I've lost all confidence in my abilities. It is obnoxious because people with lots of "fans" like Daniel Wallace can crowd fund in a minute and get their books published.

    And if you need editing, I have had excellent experience with betas here on AW and I know of various editors available on line and they don't charge $6000. I for one like to beta read when I have the time and there several others who do the same, even if they don't need opinions on their work.

    Well, the issue is that with Inkshares, I would be able to work with a professional editor (who has worked at publishing houses, not just random beta readers online...the beta readers would be fine if I felt confident in the story and knew it needed some minor changes, but this is just making me pound my head against the wall). Then, the books would go into bookstores and they would actually market the book, neither of which I have the resources or budget to do.

  7. #7
    Independent fluffy puppy. Osulagh's Avatar
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    They are a vanity publisher. They are taking vanity publishing and offering authors to crowdfund the money needed for their services. Vanity publishing is when the publisher asks for money to publish a book; you're asking others to pay those fees for you.

    You'll be asking a lot from an editor. It sounds like you need a critique partner, or a mentor.

    I see that you've never had your work up in the SYW section, I suggest you check it out. You can put your work up to be critiqued, critique other people's work to better your own editing skills, and make friends who'll be more than willing to help you.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW lenore_x's Avatar
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    You keep mentioning famous authors, but they're just that. They come with a dedicated readership and can generally get away with a lot more in terms of self-publishing. They don't have as much to gain or lose as an unknown.

    My humble opinion, crowdfunding publishing seems like a terrible idea for an unknown. You're at the whims of the hundreds of people who have a small interest in your book (monetarily speaking). Creepy.

    Edit: And yeah, like Osulagh said, this is vanity publishing. In traditional publishing the publisher pays to get the book; vanity publishers get paid to put out the book. Whether you're paying them out of your own pocket or a bunch of other people are paying them for you, that is not traditional pub.
    Last edited by lenore_x; 09-20-2014 at 10:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Learning to read more, post less JustSarah's Avatar
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    One thing that helps me keep it straight is thinking of them paying you as trade, and you paying them as paying for Vanity.

    Asking strangers to pay up front seems like risky business to me. Hope things work out with your book.^^
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osulagh View Post

    You'll be asking a lot from an editor. It sounds like you need a critique partner, or a mentor.
    Maybe, but the other editor I was working with (who then quit due to a personal emergency) was helping me really pinpoint where things had gone wrong.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for your guys' advice so far. Sorry if I seem defensive, I'm just at my wit's end.

    Just realized that they didn't even put the first chapter up....great. So that's part of the issue in you guys being able to gauge it. They have no issue with the prologue, but just with the first chapter that they haven't even put up yet. That's what I'm more concerned about since the prologue, I guess, is take it or leave it.
    Last edited by downtherabbithole; 09-20-2014 at 10:41 PM.

  12. #12
    Learning to read more, post less Hapax Legomenon's Avatar
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    Right, crowdfunding seems like it would be a bad idea and really hard to do if you didn't have a following. If you already had a following on like Wattpad and you were crowdfunding for a professional editor and a cover artist or sequels or something, that's another story. If nobody knows you or your work, then it's going to be hard to get money out of them.

    And yes. If you're paying the publisher, it's a vanity press.

    If you were able to get an agent the first time, you should probably be able to get an agent the second time (unless it's for something that was really trendy a few years ago that nobody will touch with a 10 foot pole now).

    If you're really sick of publishers and the like I would recommend trying to selfpub.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hapax Legomenon View Post
    Right, crowdfunding seems like it would be a bad idea and really hard to do if you didn't have a following. If you already had a following on like Wattpad and you were crowdfunding for a professional editor and a cover artist or sequels or something, that's another story. If nobody knows you or your work, then it's going to be hard to get money out of them.

    And yes. If you're paying the publisher, it's a vanity press.

    If you were able to get an agent the first time, you should probably be able to get an agent the second time (unless it's for something that was really trendy a few years ago that nobody will touch with a 10 foot pole now).

    If you're really sick of publishers and the like I would recommend trying to selfpub.
    It is possible, as the book I got the agent with, people seem very uninterested in at this point. In fact, that book's sales pale in comparison to the other book I have out, which easily sells 5x as many a month and gets typically 5 star reviews (which my original agent thought boring).

    Here is more about Inkshares: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...h-the-new.html
    Last edited by downtherabbithole; 09-20-2014 at 10:58 PM.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW lenore_x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    Thanks for your guys' advice so far. Sorry if I seem defensive, I'm just at my wit's end.
    I would be too! It's really easy to get worn out with this stuff.

    You could always go with the tried-and-true method of shelve this book for a while, work on something else, come back later with fresh eyes.

  15. #15
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    I really, really think you should post in SYW. We can help you. A lot of the time, we can point out issues in the first chapter that will resonate with you and help you fix the entire book. You don't need to shell out tons of money for an editor, not at this stage.

    Please don't go with a vanity publisher. If you want to make money, not lose it, it's not going to be the answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    Maybe, but the other editor I was working with (who then quit due to a personal emergency) was helping me really pinpoint where things had gone wrong.
    The editor your agent got you to hire, who was apparently fresh off an MFA? Did this editor have any actual credentials?

    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    Thanks for your guys' advice so far. Sorry if I seem defensive, I'm just at my wit's end.

    Just realized that they didn't even put the first chapter up....great. So that's part of the issue in you guys being able to gauge it. They have no issue with the prologue, but just with the first chapter that they haven't even put up yet. That's what I'm more concerned about since the prologue, I guess, is take it or leave it.
    I asked the above, because the prologue is, as others have said, an infodump. It reads as notes, not prologue.

    I agree with those suggesting you put something up in SYW and run really, really far from anyplace wants to charge you to publish your book. How, exactly, are they going to get it into bookstores, btw?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
    The editor your agent got you to hire, who was apparently fresh off an MFA? Did this editor have any actual credentials?



    I asked the above, because the prologue is, as others have said, an infodump. It reads as notes, not prologue.

    I agree with those suggesting you put something up in SYW and run really, really far from anyplace wants to charge you to publish your book. How, exactly, are they going to get it into bookstores, btw?
    Sorry, they were two different editors. One was hired by my agent and one was one I worked with independently. Sorry for the confusion!

    I know a lot of people are put off by Inkshares, but I assure you they are legit! hehe There are write ups about them on Publisher's Weekly here and where they are endorsed by an established agent here.

    I get that a lot of people are resistant to them because it SOUNDS like a scam, but it isn't. They are very new, hence why they don't have a "big record" (although they have Daniel Wallace and a few other "names" writing for them). Their book covers are also not final, although I know someone said they looked like MS paint. Those aren't the final versions at all! You are matched with an editor (many of whom have worked with big publishing houses) https://www.inkshares.com/editors.

    I may sound like an idiot, but I'm not. I promise.

    Also, the confusion lies in the fact that I thought they had put up the first chapter, but they didn't. The changes they are asking to be made of that are more concerning to me than the prologue changes.

  18. #18
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    You are making $500-$600 a month on your previously self-published books?

    That's significantly better than most self-published authors ever do.

    It sounds to me like you should just go ahead and self-publish this one too.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    You are making $500-$600 a month on your previously self-published books?

    That's significantly better than most self-published authors ever do.

    It sounds to me like you should just go ahead and self-publish this one too.
    Is it? I was told that wasn't very impressive.

    I would prefer not to self-publish again for many, many reasons! Some of which are listed above.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    Is it? I was told that wasn't very impressive.
    Ask around in the self-publishing forum. It's very impressive.

    I would prefer not to self-publish again for many, many reasons! Some of which are listed above.
    Fair enough. But if you're not self-publishing, then you should not be paying one dime for editing.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    I know a lot of people are put off by Inkshares, but I assure you they are legit! hehe There are write ups about them on Publisher's Weekly here and where they are endorsed by an established agent here.

    I get that a lot of people are resistant to them because it SOUNDS like a scam, but it isn't. They are very new, hence why they don't have a "big record" (although they have Daniel Wallace and a few other "names" writing for them). Their book covers are also not final, although I know someone said they looked like MS paint. Those aren't the final versions at all! You are matched with an editor (many of whom have worked with big publishing houses) https://www.inkshares.com/editors.
    Vanity publishing isn't a scam--though, there are scams out there. For the most part, the problems with vanity publishing is that the people working for the author (because they are being paid) have no need to care for the outcome of the product. They don't need to offer the greatest services unless services are not correctly rendered as stated by the contract. At a trade publisher, the editor's job is to make money for the publisher; if they work hard, and the book sells well, that reflects upon them. At a vanity press, as long as the customer is happy and the payment goes through, they don't care. They also don't make much of a business off of return customers, so they're not going to try pushing for the highest quality to earn a return visit.

    It's like this: Think of working a burger joint. A customer walks in, orders a burger and fries. So you serve them the usual sloppy burger and mushy fries because that's what you have to do to earn you paycheck. They're happy enough, but not going to be jumping for joy. Of course you can't spit in their food or yell at the customer, because that'll get you in trouble or fired. BUT, what if you got news that well-respected reviewer was coming by, and the fate of your job depends on their review of the food you'll serve them. You're going to make the best burger and serve up the best fries you can, right? And you do, and reviews come in, and you get to keep your job.

    Now, there's probably some vanity presses out there that really do care. None that I've come across--and I've seen a lot.

    My theory on why they've got some "big names" (none that I've ever heard of) is because it's riding the wave of crowdfunding and writers out wishing to publish their work by not going through trade publishing methods or who are massively misinformed by the bad information floating around out there.
    Last edited by Osulagh; 09-21-2014 at 07:54 AM.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW lenore_x's Avatar
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    Has anyone here even called it a scam? It seems we just don't like the idea of it. I don't see why an article by Publishers Weekly and a random agent opinion should get me on board....

    Crowdfunding in general usually just annoys me. Not because of individuals who utilize it, but because I don't want to live in a world where people will collectively shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a potato salad recipe.

  23. #23
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    I wouldn't suggest it. You sound hesitant -- if your instincts are telling you not to do it, don't do it. You'd be doing the book a disservice by publishing before it's ready. I second putting it aside for a while and working on something else.
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  24. #24
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    Am I wrong, and you're asking us about it after already signing up? Though it doesn't seem like it's any harm to you to drop out, but then again, I don't know what the conditions are of signing up.

    I agree with others, that I was surprised that you thought $500-600/month was low for your self-pubbed books, since it seems high to me.

    I have heard of editors using Kickstarter to help fund/market books, and also writers who want to self-publish. I don't know how successful that model has been. The problem with vanity publishing, where the publisher gets paid before they put out the book, is two-fold. One is that the money should flow towards the author (are the people who would support your project less likely to find you on Kickstarter if you did this yourself to pay for professional editing and book design?) and the other is that once the publisher has been paid for the book, they have no incentive to put out a quality product and market it.

    It's possible that this book is just not the one you're going to get an agent with, but that with another book, you could. I can understand being frustrated with the situation, especially after doing so much work for an agent who never sold it. I just worry that you seem to feel like there is only one option for you, when there are actually many options open to you.
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  25. #25
    we're gonna make it out of the fire The_Ink_Goddess's Avatar
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    I've read through this thread and frankly am still confused.

    Who told you that $500-$600 wasn't a lot of money? It sounds like a lot to me, who knows nothing about self-pubbing, but here at AW we have a lot of prolific self-published authors and, trust me, they would know. My concern is that you were told this by someone who has an interest in you working with them, and so seeping your (decent, IMO) profits into their business.

    I read that agent profile and my alarm bells are ringing off the chart. In her interview, she constantly describes herself as a "literary change agent", which seems to be that she helps self-published authors with their 'brand.' While it's true that the publishing business has seen some change, I don't think it's nearly as much as she's saying, not when so many reputable agents are still doing good deals with the traditional businesses. She also says she's "excited" and "has hope" - so, no success yet. I mean, that's okay, but, when an agent pages has no clients or recent sales, and nor does her Querytracker, I get suspicious. From Googling, I can find exactly one client. She sounds like somebody with a vested interest.

    Why don't you want to try the traditional route? I understand that you had a bad experience, and it's hard to get back on the horse, but lots of people I know have broken with agents and started over. It's hard, but it happens, and plenty of them go on to get publishing deals.

    I mean, you can't self-publish and do that, but in short, a press that requires money, and wants you to put up money (and a lot of money!) is a vanity press, not worth the paper it's written on. No, they're not specifically asking you to give it to them, but they're asking it to be raised somehow. Without a fanbase, your money is probably coming from your family and friends, right?
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