Making the Leap into Inkshares

Throughout the months of November and December 2015, I devoted myself to hammering out short stories for submission to Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock. I already had several written, some requiring more polishing than others. I saw myself writing and editing and submitting, perhaps one story a month to each magazine.

I’m privileged to know a couple of published authors outside of Inkshares, whom I met over the course of Christmas and the New Year. I forget which of them it was who suggested I just start knocking on publishers’ doors already, but it got me to thinking that I really should do that. The actual production process is lengthy enough that it would probably be inadvisable to wait until I actually had a short story published before I started shopping for publishers for a novel.

January 2016, I started shopping for publishers. And just about every mystery publisher I found … either wasn’t taking submissions at this time, or demanded that new authors communicate through an agent. Perhaps I was being naive then (it didn’t feel that way) but I really had no desire to deal with an agent. I didn’t want to pay for a service for which I had no guarantee of obtaining a result. And even if I were willing … the possibilities of being screwed seemed far too high.

So I started looking at Inkshares. “Put up your book and gather pre-orders for it; if you get 750, you get a full publication package; if you only manage 250, you get a lighter package.” It looked like it was essentially a way of getting around the situation of that one possibly dyspeptic person wading through the slush pile and deciding in a moment of pique that everything should be rejected. It looked very attractive to someone who didn’t want to depend on the mood of one person. And after all, I already knew one guy who’d gotten good results with Inkshares. I had a dormant account there already from when I picked up JF’s first book; all I had to do was wake it up….

Now. Some advice for new writers on Inkshares:

Unless you have a huge following already waiting to snap up those pre-orders, DO NOT LAUNCH INTO YOUR FUNDING CAMPAIGN IMMEDIATELY.

Take some time instead to look around at what everybody is doing. Figure out what works and what doesn’t, and get involved with the community. There’s stuff to be learnt, things that need to be in place first. I actually began my campaign a little earlier than was advised, but … well, I guess that’s material for another post.

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