Be very afraid, dear Fellow Authors!

heathersanimations.comIt seems that when I last blogged I omitted to tell you that apparently Inkitt(dot)com membership is by invitation only. You can get an invite, if you follow them on Twitter and give them a chance to check out the quality of your writing via links to your blogs/published work. So far so good.

Entering into their fun and free “Wanderlust” writing contest is fine by me, but there are more sinister things afoot. Authors, be afraid, very afraid, for the publishing world is changing again and as usual, not for the better. Inkitt promises us a brand new publishing concept that is supposed to revolutionise the way in which authors come before their audiences. No revolution is bloodless, and sadly, this one will kill off talent in favour of publishing platforms raking in the $ and £. Here’s why:

This morning I opened an email from Inkitt, a platform promising to get talented authors before publishers and literary agents, telling me that now they’re looking for authors to upload their novels by deadline 1st October 2015. The more votes, the greater my chances of getting a publishing contract, apparently. And the beauty is that all their lovely members will help me improve my novel! Yay.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, painted by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, painted by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819)

Why oh why would I want to allow other users, who at best equal my talent and writing prowess and at worst, resemble those hopeless entries we see on telly’s “Britain’s Got Talent” making a total idiot of themselves, mess around with my already written novel? I’m not being arrogant here – the majority of these platforms are populated by teenagers barely able to string three sentences together. And all three of those sentences are usually about their favourite TV show or pop star.

Are Inkitt’s users critical readers trained in proofreading and editing? Nope.

Would anyone in their right mind have suggested to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to change his compositions in favour of some layperson’s idea of what music should sound like? Would the world have been presented with sublime works like Don Giovanni or Die Zauberfloete? I don’t think so, do you?

Are Inkitt’s employees professional literary agents with clout in the publishing industry and the connections to make this children’s writer a critically acclaimed, bestselling household name for generations to come. Nope.

Inkitt’s angel investors have no publishing background by the looks of it either, nor do any of their employees. Their only claim to fame is that one of their senior personnel designed the original Twitter logo once upon a time. Does this instil me with confidence in them making good on their publishing contract promises. Nope.

Worse, we already know that the concept of too many cooks spoils the literary broth. We know so because Hollywood subjected us to two decades of prequels to the sequels, all made with the same accountant-inspired knitting pattern of plots that were so predictable, we knew the ending of the blockbuster before we’d even watched the adverts!

Hollywood executives would allow small, hand-picked audiences to determine the ending of films. As a result, we were presented with rubbishy fodder for the uncritical masses, until small indie films stole the show at award presentations and made comparatively large amounts of money with well-written, original scripts at their openings and via DVD sales. Suddenly Hollywood execs pricked up their ears and polished their designer glasses. Could originality really be making a comeback in the movie industry? Yeiks, better find a scriptwriter who can still think outside of the accountant-manufactured box!

heathersanimations.comPlatforms like Inkitt and SOOP (soopllc(dot)com), another so called author-driven website promising writers a leg up in the publishing jungle, seem to have completely missed the point.

At SOOP they want authors to merely pitch an idea and let the trolls on their site decide, which novel idea an author should go with…ever heard of ORIGINALITY, dear SOOP (Silly Oiks Offer Pooh)? Jane Austen, Wordsworth and Dickens are revolving in their graves as I’m writing this!

READING, READING, READING critically the very best literature has to offer will help new authors to improve their own writing, not the well-meant but by and large meaningless comments left on sites like Wattpad and their ilk. Let those who want to publish teenage-angst-ridden drivel and Justin Bieber sex fantasies do so at places like Wattpad. Allow those of us who have talent that should be nursed by other talented, professionally trained people strive for excellence and critical acclaim.

With the latter comes longevity in the business, even if “50 Shades of Grey” type authors do make the big bucks fast. Will anyone want to read that puberty-driven drivel in 20 years time? Nope.

Are really talented authors driven by money, money, money alone? Nope.

It’s the literary journey from A to B, from thought onto page, that ultimately makes us tick. Alright, a bit of loot along the way also helps, but it’s not what drives REAL writers to put finger to keyboard and ink onto the page. It’s the art of writing, and yes, it is an art form, dear SOOT and Inkitt, not purely a $$$$ venture, that keeps talented writers sane and busy scribbling.

Writing is our way of making the world work for us, in our image, to our design. Little G.O.D.s that we carry inside make us do it (or do I mean D.O.G.s?), not the promise of bestseller lists, literary wine & nibbles evenings or book signings.

Inkitt informs us that “previously self-published novels also qualify” to enter in their new novel writing competition. Uh, last time I checked, every self-publishing author who sells via platforms like Amazon’s Createspace, Bookrix or Neobooks for example enters into a legally binding contract.

Self-published authors publishing on respectable platforms like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords etc are not permitted to allow their books to be published for FREE in one part of the world/Internet and sold for hard currency in another. It seems Inkitt’s people don’t even bother checking the basics of the self-publishing world either.

Even platforms where people publish for free may stipulate a certain amount of time has to elapse before authors are permitted to publish elsewhere. The prospect of discovering the next deliverer of drivel that sells has seemingly completely blinded Inkitt’s team.

What’s good writing? Damn, I’ve forgotten again!

Would I rather chew off my writing arm than publish a novel (for FREE) on Inkitt? Yep.

Ranting over. It’s safe to come out again, dear fellow authors.