Ask PZM: Sept ’16 – INKITT

Q: Can you share your meeting in Berlin at the book site Inkitt?

Inkitt is a relatively new website started by people who believe that there is a better way than the current process for writers to submit their manuscripts first to agents and then, if lucky enough to obtain an agent, for the agents to submit to publishers.

Here is the account of my meeting:

I was in Berlin on vacation at the end of August and my hotel turned out to be two blocks from the Inkitt office in the Mitte area (formerly East Berlin).  Because I had been in email contact with Inkitt founder and CEO Ali Albazaz, I emailed him about meeting.  And he responded that Barbara Ivusic (Inkitt’s Author’s Growth Manager) and Marvin Wey (Inkitt’s Head of Marketing) would like to meet with me.

During our subsequent talk Marvin and Barbara explained Inkitt’s novel contests and how winning these can lead to a publishing deal with Inkitt.  

Marvin and Barbara also shared their concern that writers sometimes think there is a catch to an Inkitt publishing deal when there is no catch.  Here in general terms is how Inkitt works:

Inkitt is the publisher for the book, providing 50% royalties rather than the usual 5 to 10% royalties of other publishers.  Inkitt promotes the published book, and if the book does well, Inkitt then in an agent role takes the book to A-list publishers.
What was especially interesting to me is that Inkitt uses data in story contests to determine a story’s popularity with readers.  This system has replaced reviews or voting to better determine reader engagement.  I did have some questions about whether writers could “game” the system, and I was satisfied with the assurance that Inkitt data is attuned to spotting “gaming.”

(I was also assured that writers keep their own copyrights when entering the contests, yet, as with every place you may submit your writing, please read the small print about copyright at the time you upload any of your material.)

Personally I have had two chapters of my fantasy story ROAD TO ZANZICA on Inkitt for some time because stories not submitted to a contest can also be posted on the site.  Yet in order to submit to an Inkitt contest, the entire story must be uploaded and then designated for a specific contest. 

Besides being complete, a story submitted to an Inkitt contest must be approximately 40,000 words or more.  Self-published stories are also eligible for contest submission. And if a writer has problems uploading a Word doc to the Inkitt site, the manuscript can be sent to marketing@inkitt.com for upload (although after the upload you need to check that everything is okay).
Now there is a required marketing role for writers who enter these contests as writers must strive to get 100 people to read the contest submission.  (Inkitt provides tips to writers for promoting their contest entries.)  Then Inkitt’s data analyzes reader engagement with the submitted story.

The current novel contest began August 29 and runs to October 2.

Here is part of the contest information:

The three winners of the StoryPeak Novel Contest will be determined by Inkitt based on how their novels perform amongst their readership. All authors will be given 100 copies of their novel to distribute to their readers. Authors have a dashboard where they can see how many people have “reserved” their novel and the current level of their readers’ satisfaction.

I just entered this contest with my spy thriller CIA Fall Guy, and I have 100 copies to give away for download to readers who like spy thrillers and will read the (short) book before October 2.  If you’d like to be one of the 100 readers (or if not please share with people who do like spy thrillers) – here is the link to my spy thriller CIA FALL GUY on Inkitt for the current novel contest – http://budurl.com/InkittcontestCIA (Note that the downloadable contest reader copies are for online reading.)

(Note that after you have downloaded one of the 100 copies of a contest entry you can either bookmark the story link or click on “Add to Reading List.”  Then the next time you return to the Inkitt site you can access the story via “My Reading Lists” in your profile.  At the moment stories must be read online on the Inkitt site.) 


And you can read more about this contest in general at http://budurl.com/Inkittcontestinfo (this is NOT an affiliate link) and about the Inkitt’s publishing program at www.inkitt.com/publishing 
In conclusion, I do think it makes sense for writers to support new platforms that are trying out different publishing avenues.  And using digital marketing to reach people who might want to read books is what Amazon does, so we can do this too!

Phyllis with the staff of Inkitt at the company office in Berlin


Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and her fiction ebooks on Amazon can be read for free via a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction ebooks on Amazon can be read for free via Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

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