Today I have a guest post by a returning guest, Cari Dubiel who was the Library Liaison for Sisters in Crime for many years and is currently a librarian in Ohio. You can read more about Cari on her website here.
You may remember Cari’s past appearances on the blog, if not, you should and you can use this link to find them.
Recently, Cari and I were chatting about books and she asked if I had heard of Inkshares. Interestingly, I just had heard of them and had a wonderful experience with their marketing people. I was altered to the debut horror title, Kill Creek by Scott Thomas which Inkshares published in October [shout out to past guest poster and friend- Daryl from LAPL for telling me about this one].
I got a copy for review from Inkshares [review coming very soon to the blog] and loved it. I had never heard of this publisher so I had been looking into it.
Inkshares is a publisher that provides a bridge between self-publishing and a more traditional publisher. Here is the link to their “How It Works” page with details, but basically authors can use Inksahres to promote and crowd fund their book. Inkshares takes pre-orders and if you reach a certain level, they edit, print and distribute the book. It makes it so much easier for self-published authors to promote their work, attract the attention of readers, and put out a well edited, and very well bound product.
I can attest to the final product because I own Kill Creek, but I acquired that after it had reached the level where it was being distributed already.
How could this work for libraries though? Well for books that are already at the level where Inkshares is distributing them, you can order them your usual way, but Cari and I would like to argue today for supporting books before the have reached their goal. And we are both speaking from a place where we have collection development responsibilities.
Back to Cari for a moment. The reason she asked me about Inkshares was because she was starting a campaign to get her book published this way. She was excited to use Inkshares because she had read and loved some of their books already but had only bought them from the usual distribution methods for her library.
Cari’s most recent novel, How to Remember had just won the Hugh Holton Award from the Mystery Writers of America and she wanted to get the book out and figured she would give Inkshares a try. Why not? She had not only read and loved some of their titles, but she had also seen how they held up to multiple circs.
So Cari took the plunge and put her book up [you can read more from her here about that process] and as a result learned about another tool from Inkshares that is super helpful-- the syndicates. There are a few of them, but basically they are people who work for Inkshares who have read the books which have not yet reached their goal and want to give the best of them a boost. It is equivalent to when the major publishers love a book and present it to us at a book buzz. Well, Cari got multiple syndicates to pick her up.
But I have done some more research and there are different syndicates which recommend titles in different genres, so you can use the syndicates as a tool to identify titles your patrons might like.
With this proven company behind it, libraries could easily help crowd fund a novel. Pre-order a few the syndicates suggest [like Cari’s] because those are like a star review. And if they don’t reach their goal- no harm, no foul, you get your money back. All of this can be done with a credit card very easily and it is to a proven publishing company not an individual. This could be a very solid bridge between independent authors and libraries, the most solid one we have ever had.
Below Cari has a few other Inkshares recommendations for all of us to consider. And after you have read what Cari has to say, go pre-order her book for your library. I already ordered a copy for myself.
My book, HOW TO REMEMBER, follows neuroscientist Dr. Miranda Underwood as she tries to figure out what happened to her lost memories. When she wakes up in 2017, it takes her a little while to discover that it’s not actually 2016 anymore. An entire year is gone. She works for MindTech, a company that deals in cutting-edge developments in brain science – or at least, she did before the memory loss. Miranda needs to piece the puzzle together using whatever clues she can find. Secondary protagonist Ben Baker, a computer programmer, narrates from 2016, helps to fill in the gaps. His mission is to find out what happened to his mother – she has recently died, but her death seems suspicious.
Set in suburban Ohio, the story is a little bit mystery, a little bit sci-fi, and a little bit domestic suspense. The stakes are not save-the-world high. But for our characters, whether they find these answers will define the rest of their lives.
I am pursuing a publishing deal with Inkshares, which allows authors to post their works and sell pre-orders. Once an author meets specific goals, Inkshares will publish the title. There are two levels of publishing: Quill is a “light publishing” deal, which includes printing, distribution, and a copy edit, and authors who sell 250 copies receive it. The full package includes marketing, cover design, and a developmental edit as well. Authors can make the full deal by selling 750 copies, or they can place in an Inkshares contest.
How did I find Inkshares? Well, I’m a librarian, so you can bet it was in the library. My co-worker recommended The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein, since she knows I’m a fan of sci-fi with great character development. I thought I’d see who published it, because they might like my book… and that’s where I landed.
I love talking about books other than my own, so here are a few of my recommendations for Inkshares titles that you can purchase now for your collections.
The Punch Escrow is one of the best-selling books on Inkshares, and it is now in development for a film treatment. Remember that Star Trek episode where Kirk got split into two by the transporter? That happens to Joel Byram, our lovable protagonist, and suddenly we have two Joels to care about. I loved the interplay among Joel, Joel 2, and his wife Sylvia, as well as the worldbuilding of a future America where teleportation is real and common. Great for fans of Ready Player One and Dark Matter.
I discovered this next gem, The Last Machine in the Solar System by Matthew Isaac Sobin, on my library shelves – one of my staff members had ordered it for our paperback collection. It’s a slim volume, only 80 pages, and a fast read – a philosophical meditation on the end of the universe. Jonathan, a robot, has survived and witnessed the end of humanity, and he must decide what to do as he waits for his turn to end. Sobin’s writing is lush, and fans of literary sci-fi will want more.
Now I knew Inkshares was a resource to find good reads so I went to the site and I found Tahani Nelson’s The Last Faoii on Inkshares. I purchased it both personally and for my library. This fast-paced, action-packed story follows Kaiya, a young warrior in training. The all-female Faoii are the protectors of villages around the land, living in monasteries in the mountains. But when Kaiya’s monastery is invaded by the Croeli, a raging band of men, she is the only survivor. She must venture out to find the evil driving the rage and save her world. There is a lot of blood and violence in this one, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. This story brings a fresh perspective on race, gender, and LGBTQ identities, as well as the strength within us all.