Here’s an update on that most peculiar and frankly useless of all new author platforms: Inkitt.
After uploading my submission for their “Wanderlust” competition, I discovered that authors were only granted 200 characters (incl. spaces!) for their bio and there was no space at all to credit the illustrators or artists whose work people had uploaded as their “book cover” for each submission.
Worse, the competition rules prevented those who had fan fiction elements or any other copyright issues to report from doing so. We were told in the contest rules to “upload this on our profiles” but there was no space at all to do so. And when I pointed this out to the site’s support team, I received a patronising message back saying “I’ll see if it’s in the budget”, which was headed by “dearest, dearest Maria”.
Some snotty-nosed girl who is not only helping to judge the entries but also writes on the site had sent the comment and apparently disabled the reply box in order to shut up this critic. Only the first 10% of entries, equating to only around 20 entries on the first page of the site, will be seen by the judges and then, wait for it, all the winner is supposed to get is a “badge”. Yay…(voice trails off and starts belching in disgust).
Entries for the “Romance: Entwined” contest, on the other hand, can expect to be taken more seriously. Why? Because they have to submit at least 40,000 stories to qualify. The site’s founders clearly don’t take the fantasy genre writers seriously, since they could upload at whatever length they wanted and whatever they wanted, including poetry.
The fact that there is no children’s writer section and that all ratings start at 13+ also suggests Inkitt is only interested in writers of the most commercially successful YA genres, but not anyone else. Simply because the majority of their “clientele” is going to be poached from Wattpad’s youthful fan base.
The goal seems clear: just get as many people as possible to upload certain genre writing as possible, don’t allow them to put profiles with any hint of contact details on the site, because authors whose work has any merit may otherwise be contacted directly by literary agents. They might get snapped up before Inkitt can get their claws into these authors and represent them, I guess, in an agent capacity. All it takes is ONE author’s success…think “50 Shades of Bilge” and count how much 10-15% agent’s fee equates to…they won’t have to continue building their site. The site’s founders can simply retire rich and happy there and then.
Two literary friends of mine, both excellent writers in their own right, looked at quite a large number of the entries, and saw that this was yet another Wattpad-thing-without-artistic-merit. So, when we got an email from one of the founders of the site telling us that, instead of sorting out the urgent copyright infringement issues and total lack of author bio-capacity, they were working on some idiotic button that did nothing to address these issues, I deleted my contest entry and told them to also delete my profile. The email, rather predictably, also urged people to “read” and not just click the “vote” button without staying longer on the site.
Naturally, when people don’t read the stories to the full, the founders of the site cannot prove their supposedly super-duper-foolproof-bestseller-finder software actually works. This is, of course, where the whole thing falls flat on its face: my experience has been that the overwhelming majority of readers on these sites are people who simply consume FREE reading material ferociously without EVER voting or liking or “hearting” anything at all, simply because they are too lazy.
And the majority of those youngsters who do vote or like or “heart” authors’ works do so only for their own friends’ work, and quite probably without bothering to read the stories. If the friend wins a competition or gets offered a publishing deal…well there are selfie opportunities galore and reflected glory in heaps to look forward to.
Enough ranting. Here’s something more cheerful for storyteller hearths:
If any real bookworms out there were trying to find my story, following my earlier blog posts, they can now read “A Road less well travelled” online, for FREE, by becoming Bookrix members. I’ve uploaded the story as an ebook, which is now titled “Linus & The Leprechauns”. It’s free to become a member of Bookrix and the English language side of the platform has a really friendly community with a good mix of young and older, more experienced writers.
Here’s the link to it: http://www.bookrix.com/_ebook-maria-thermann-linus-amp-the-leprechauns
I’ve also uploaded the story FREE for Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/404710?chapter=12
Hearts, likes and whatever honest review words you feel you’d like to leave will be gratefully accepted:)
(Illustration on this page: Black and white version of book cover for “Linus & The Leprechauns”, illustration copyright Sarah Chipperfield, reproduced by kind permission)