A couple of months ago I stumbled across Inkitt.com, a reader directed publishing platform that has seen popularity in the UK. After researching a few publishing houses and having already tried my hand at self-publishing, I was open to new ideas.
Inkitt’s premise is that writers can publish on their site for free. The books that generate the most interest are offered a publishing contract with them. The founder created this site after learning that J.K. Rowling was turned away by big publishing houses more than 10 times, and was only considered by one when the editor’s daughter took an interest in the book and began sharing it with her friends. Appalled by this, the founder of Inkitt decided to create a publishing solution that would allow books like Harry Potter to be discovered immediately and published. In effect, weeding out publishing house error. What a fantastic idea!
The terms and conditions to use their site is short and simple. The author retains all rights to the work, can remove their content from Inkitt at any time, and other such author coveted ownership guarantees. Another great aspect, is that you can publish your book as In Progress, so you can receive feedback from readers while you are writing it, which is awesome! The Publication contract, should your novel be popular enough to be offered one, is also available to view.
The best part is that all genres are welcome, including fan fiction, and it’s free to read any novels! It’s like having a Kindle Unlimited without having to pay for it, or a Library at your fingertips.
The user interface is also pretty easy to navigate. There is an easy fill option for everything so you don’t have to worry about moving things around or arranging text boxes “just so”, it’s all done for you and is standardized so that the novel content is what is truly being evaluated, not how much it appears like a “legitimate” novel in comparison to the others on the site.
You have to have a cover image (and they do have a cover creator you can utilize if you do not have your own image), a teaser, and a hook. These are excellent to supply on this publishing platform because those are what grabs the reader’s attention, so having reader feedback is invaluable to helping you get it right before you publish. It’s literally having beta readers galore!
I know what you’re thinking though. “My work is just hanging out there for anyone to steal and claim as their own.” I thought the same thing once upon a time. The truth is, once your work is on the internet, it’s copyrighted, timestamped, and yours without dispute. Having your work out there on Inkitt.com protects your work even more so simply because it’s a legitimate platform lauded by the BBC, The Guardian, and several other big names, and it’s blatant that you, and no one else, are the author of the work. No one is going to steal your story, even if you aren’t technically “officially” published yet.
I also want to mention the Analytics page which allows you to track how many people have read your novel, and how many times each chapter has been read so that you can see trends and improve your story where you need to. So, if you have 20 reads for chapter 5, and 4 reads on chapter 6, it’s a sure indicator that you need to make some adjustments somewhere between 5 and 6 so more readers won’t abandon you.
Additionally, Inkitt offers several other valuable tools for writers and authors. A novel writing bootcamp hosted by the editor of the Song of Fire and Ice series, a writer’s blog full of helpful articles, and a list of promotional websites and tools for you to get your book more publicity and visibility. I actually discovered and read a fantastic book –Bridge of Sighs and Dreams– through one of those very links, and I will be posting a review on it soon, so stay tuned for that!
And it’s all free! Just sign up with your email address and voila!!!!
I decided to give it a shot and test the experience. My sister painted the cover for my novel a few years ago and it looks stunning and was simple and easy to upload! Inkitt even throws in an ominous background (a distorted portion of your cover image) that makes the book resemble a promotional poster. I am pleased with the way it looks on the website. The featured image in this blog is a screen capture of my novel from Inkitt.
My novel “Isle of Elandia: Bloodline” is on the site as a work “In Progress”. Currently, only the Prologue and first 2 chapters are uploaded, and since its debut on November 15, I’ve had a total of 19 readers. None, however, since November 19th. So that tells me that once a book has been out there for longer than a few days it probably gets buried beneath a heap of new publications.
Also of note: 19 readers is not enough to report chapter data. I’m not exactly sure if this means that those 19 readers didn’t go beyond the prologue and therefore the chapter data is 0, or if there is a reader threshold higher than 19 that must be met to initiate, or if there is a certain number of chapters that must be published in order to trigger a report for this more specific analytic. I don’t know! Time and experimentation will reveal, but I am definitely going to continue to experiment with it!
In a few days I will upload chapter 3. My hope is that the new chapter addition will unbury my novel and put it back at the top of the list. If I start seeing the reader number go up then I can assume that adding a chapter refreshes the book’s location. If it stays at 19, well…. I will need to explore other methods to try and boost it’s visibility to readers.
I will continue to update my blog as I learn more through my publishing experience with Inkitt. To learn along with me, please subscribe! And definitely check out Inkitt.com for yourself, if not to publish, then at least to enjoy a free read on a fresh novel!