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message 1: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
We've heard from several readers that they want to support Inkshares authors more frequently. But they also don't feel they have the time to look through all the great stuff being submitted to Inkshares and decide what to pre-order. They want to be passive.

So, we put our heads together and came up with the idea that a reader could contribute, say, $10/month to Inkshares and have a book automatically pre-ordered/ordered for her based on her interests.

We ran this idea past two people and they seemed to like it. The question was, however, how are we going to select a book each month for the reader in question?

Our thinking was that the answer could be found within the idea of a "syndicate" -- a group of individuals or organizations combined to promote some common interest. Influence by the way AngelList went about implementing syndicates, we wrote some code and rolled out a pre-alpha. "Syndicate Leads" are responsible for selecting a book to support each month. Syndicate members get a discount on the books supported by the syndicate.

You'll find the pre-alpha at

The questions for you, then, are:

1. Do you think readers/authors will organically form syndicates on Inkshares to support our books?

2. Does the name "syndicate" work for you? If not, what other names do you like?

message 2: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Buckstaff This is a cool idea! You could also poll readers on their specific interests to help identify potentially good fits-- one of the best things in life, I think, is when someone recommends a book to me that I love.

message 3: by Jamison (new)

Jamison Stone (stonejamison) | 19 comments Very cool idea! Happy to join and support other Inkshares authors!

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. :)

message 4: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
Thanks @Kathleen. Great idea.

message 5: by J.-F. (new)

J.-F. Dubeau (jfdubeau) | 99 comments This has an interesting 'book of the month' vibe to it. Or maybe a hybrid between that and a LootCrate. You pay a fee every month and get a surprise book every (8) months (later).

1. No. I think that, at first, they will need to be encouraged. It'd be nice to have a high profile individual or influencer have a Syndicate to get the ball rolling. Now, I might be wrong about this, it's just my experience that things that require effort usually demand encouragement to get started.

2. I'm okay with the name but I remember you (Jeremy) tweeting that you had reservations. What did you think of the suggestion I tweeted back?

3. I agree with Jamison.

message 6: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
Thanks JF. I actually like the name "syndicate." But I talked to others who come from different career backgrounds, and they were inclined to conflate "syndicate" with "crime syndicate." The word carries nefarious meaning with them.

"Literati" is also cool.

message 7: by J.-F. (new)

J.-F. Dubeau (jfdubeau) | 99 comments I kinda like the edginess of the "crime syndicate" angle...

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) This is a brilliant idea!

message 9: by A.C. (new)

A.C. Weston (acwestonwrites) | 191 comments Mod
1. I love the idea of being able to join a group based on my interests and receiving a surprise book at a discounted rate. I didn't realize there would be a discount.

There would need to be a way for the "Leads" to prove their taste and trustworthiness, I think, but maybe that will just be up to them as individuals. What if a hundred different people try to form syndicates as leads, though? Will it be too hard to wade through all the syndicates to find one you trust enough to commit money to?

2. Syndicate is just so... organized crime. What about co-op? Very local grocery store.

Book Share?

Book Trust? I like Trust. It inspires confidence.

3. bacon

message 10: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) I'm with Cara on the BookTrust, but BookShare does link to the Inkshares name...just a thought.

And would it be just one book a month, or say, three featured books? Reader chosen or based on the amount of pre-order/follower action of a certain book in that month?

message 11: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo Henriquez | 40 comments I like the idea and I'll be happy to support it. At least for now, I don't think that forming syndicates should be open to anybody willing to do it. If there are too many of them you start cannibalizing your own resources and diminishing the effectivity of the syndicates.

I'm not a big fan of the name. It does have a negative and kind of shady tone to it.

I like the idea of Bookshares or Bookleague. Something with book in it

message 12: by Dave (new)

Dave | 28 comments I think this is a great idea. I also think while having a single CEO syndicate is a good thing to start with to achieve critical mass, I think that specificity would be good.

I prefer fantasy to sci fi as a general rule. I'd be more likely to contribute to a fantasy-specific syndicate than a generic one. So maybe there's a Fantasy Curator, a Sci-Fi Curator, and a General Fiction one to start?

I think Churchill was cool. I don't want to join a syndicate that will order a photo book about him though.

Make sense? Btw, I'm signing up now.

message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol D. Marsh (caroldmarsh) | 3 comments I like the idea in general. Also not sure about the word "syndicate" and would suggest something that more readily brings cooperation and partnership to mind: forum, club, society, cooperative, coalition, union, guild, league.

Or something more literary: Round Table, Literaria, Voices, Readers Union -or- Guild.

Founder's Guild. WriteConnection. InkPen. Inkspiration. BookLeague. ReadShare.

-Carol D. Marsh

message 14: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
The trick is to choose a name that conveys what the thing is without requiring too much education.

What about something simple like "Clubs"? We threw "book club" around, but I'd like to do away with the idea that we're going to come together and read these books together.

message 15: by J.-F. (new)

J.-F. Dubeau (jfdubeau) | 99 comments I suggested 'Literati' because it sounds arrogant. That's right. I'm using arrogant as a positive. You want people to feel like it's an exclusive thing led by connoisseurs.

Frankly I don't care about the name. I love the concept.

message 16: by Jamison (new)

Jamison Stone (stonejamison) | 19 comments I'd support whatever name you choose just to help out the Inkshares community, however, "book club" or "club" or "share" sounds boorish to me, while Syndicate sounds interesting, edgy, and cool while also means, "self-organizing group of individuals, companies, corporations or entities formed to transact some specific business, to pursue or promote a shared interest." Literati is interesting, however, only means "Intellectuals or those who read and comment on literature" which is just commenting, not the self organizing and "to pursue or promote a shared interest." Another suggestion is Zaibatsu (that is a joke.) Whatever you choose, I'd suggest you go with something that is interesting, edgy, and cool, while also has a definition which is applicable. Syndicate seems to be the best here.

Also, I think there should be a separate Fantasy and Sci-Fi Syndicate and would be happy to throw my hat into helping support either/both.

message 17: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments I see great potential in this if it could catch on with several syndicates, all of them specialized or bearing some common interest. For example, if you created an epic fantasy syndicate, I'd join that, and it would be easier to encourage fans of epic fantasy to join so that they can support a book of their choice. I personally wouldn't join a general syndicate because if I'm investing $10 or $20 monthly in a book I'd like to know it's a book I will really want to read.

That's just an example of one I might join. There could be many syndicates. One syndicate might be character-driven thriller, or women's fiction. Bringing syndicates together based on common interest would be a great way to create several circles of readers, many which might overlap on various projects.

1) I don't think readers will organically form syndicates. However, I think if authors who they follow were to spread the word and get them on board, or if Inkshares could encourage them toward certain themed syndicates based on their reading interests (this could be achieved through platform design tweaks, I'm sure), then we might see readers move toward a syndicate of choice.

One other thought I had in looking at the CEO syndicate is what form of selection take place? How much say do individual members have in choosing titles? Is there a voting process? Can prospective titles that fit the syndicate interest be displayed as miniature which members can vote on -- where the number of votes is displayed on the titles so that joining members could see what's on the radar and have a look at the kinds of books they might be reading?

2) I like syndicate. As Jamison put it, there is a certain edge to it. While the name is fine, I think it would be good to make sure there is some kind of associated caption new members could see so that they don't have to investigate what it is. i.e. "The Space Opera Syndicate -- join us as we support top pick space opera titles," or something like that.

3) :)

message 18: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo Henriquez | 40 comments I'll put on my profesional hat on for two seconds. I think that we all agree that if this is going to work, at least at the beginning,
It has to be driven by someone and treated as a project in order to encourage people to join. Taking that into consideration, when crafting messaging I would stir away from "you get a discounted book" as the central theme. At least from my perspective, the main goal of the syndicate is to support new authors; that is why people should Join. Getting a book should be icing on the cake.

If the reward becomes the main reason to join then you risk people becoming unhappy with the book selection and dropping off.

I say this because I see many similarities with fundraising projects in the nonprofit world. When we say "donate to us and help children succeed in school" the donor who responds is someone that trust us to do the right thing to achieve the mission. When we say "donate to us and we will buy books so children read more" the donor we get want to know which book? who's choosing it? Which children are getting them? All those questions are fine, but when you multiply them by hundreds and then thousands, they do nothing but make impossible to make everybody happy.

Since most likely those joining first will be authors, we should set the emphasis on supporting emerging authors. If we coordinate our efforts we can help more authors fund, that is why I join the syndicate. I already pay $10 for Amazon Unlimited to get my discounted books there, the big perk here is that all of our funds will help someone's dream become true, that to me is a more powerful message than the promise of a book.

PS Syndicate is growing on me :-)

message 19: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
@John, @Ricardo, great feedback. Note those of you who joined the CEO Syndicate would have been charged this morning. And this made funds available for us to start the selection process, which will happen in earnest next week.

My plan is to involved syndicate members in the process, although the ultimate decision is up to the syndicate lead (me, in this case). I'm curious to see how this process works out.

Also, I'd like to invite you to start your own syndicate. In this way we can see how more nuanced syndicates resonate. You'll have a month to build your membership and can make your first selection on January 15th. Get started here:

message 20: by C. (last edited Dec 01, 2015 09:32AM) (new)

C. (cbrennecke) | 170 comments Mod
Here's mine!

(SnarkyDarkSy - The Snarky Dark Fantasy Syndicate)

message 21: by Mykl (new)

Mykl Walsh (RFSaunders) | 149 comments I like the "syndicate" name and believe it will stick.

message 22: by C. (new)

C. (cbrennecke) | 170 comments Mod
Now that I've already jumped in and created one, I have some questions:

1. Is this just for projects that are funding? Or can projects in production be included as well?

2. If a chosen book-of-the-month does not make it to publication, what happens to the syndicate's contributions towards it?

message 23: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments Hey, I've created one as well. I think that scifi and fantasy authors could get more, easier support this way. :)

message 24: by Elan (new)

Elan (bonbonelan) As a book reviewer, this is an *AWESOME* development.

Anyone want to join The Warbler's Syndicate?

I'll create one some time soon.

message 25: by Byron (new)

Byron | 64 comments I'm willing to join a couple if anyone will have me.

message 26: by C. (new)

C. (cbrennecke) | 170 comments Mod
Consider yourself invited!

message 27: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments I just created a syndicate specifically for epic fantasy with series potential:

message 28: by Byron (new)

Byron | 64 comments I just joined!

message 29: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Awesome, Byron! I've got a few things in mind to help us start getting as many epic fantasy readers on board as possible. First things first: let's try to get as many epic fantasy writers on board (who have epic fantasy reader followings), then I'm going to reach out to the authors to co-ordinate a few things that I hope will bring readers into our syndicate.

message 30: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Arnold This is why is why I hate when I have to drop off for a few days. Inevitable a discussion arises in which I have enough interest to voice an opinion, but by the time I get back everyone else has already covered all thoughts I haf on it. So, yeah, good talk people. Seriously though, I hope these syndicates take off, I just wish my way too limited budget allowed me to join more than 1 or 2 of them.

message 31: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Thomas, there's real power in the syndicate idea I think if a syndicate can really grow in numbers. I'm also thinking if a syndicate can establish a strong foundation of representative authors, then those authors can work to reach out to their existing readerships to get some readers on board. We'll see where this goes!

message 32: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Arnold John wrote: "Thomas, there's real power in the syndicate idea I think if a syndicate can really grow in numbers. I'm also thinking if a syndicate can establish a strong foundation of representative authors, the..."

Completely agree.

message 33: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments @jeremy, I'm wondering for the syndicates, will Inkshares look at developing some visibility options for the syndicate display pages? In the epic fantasy group, for example, I'd love to be able to go through the catalog and add some prospective titles (I'm thinking kind of like a miniature virtual bookshelf), so that members in the syndicate and vote on them / comment and we can start discussion. It would be great if we could spend the month discussing prospective titles then end the month by picking the one we want to vote on.

message 34: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Another question that's come up in building my own epic fantasy syndicate, this one probably for @jeremy too:

One of the epic fantasy authors I approached was interested in supporting the syndicate, but not contributing. I think this is great.I'd like to have an "affiliate" status for the syndicate, kind of like how readers can follow a project without backing it, but still be involved.

I'd like to build a small group of all our syndicate members for discussion. It would be great to see this as part of the syndicate platform, but for right now I'm thinking a Goodreads group, since Goodreads has the polling feature and syndicate members could also recommend books and we could discuss them each month, then poll to make a decision what to back.

I'll try this out, but meanwhile thought I'd pass this along as feedback as you continue to refine this new model. I think it's a great idea and hope we can get lots of these syndicates going to cover all the genres / subgenres / interests.

Who's going to start the Chocolate Lovers Syndicate?

message 35: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments I just created a Goodreads group for the epic fantasy syndicate:

message 36: by Mykl (new)

Mykl Walsh (RFSaunders) | 149 comments Any thoughts about adding a $5 per month option?

You don't get a book for that, but you add to the combined buying power of the syndicate.

message 37: by Craig (new)

Craig Munro | 42 comments I'd certainly go for that. The exchange rate to the Canadian dollar is rough these days and it's not easy to back as many projects as I'd like.

message 38: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
Sorry about the radio silence. @John, we'll make syndicates public shortly (they'll be linked to from the homepage just like collections). The $5/month option is interesting, but it'll throw off the mechanics of how books are ordered. We'll have to put some thought into how that might work.

As far as affiliates go, I think that'd make sense, but I'd like to see syndicate membership take off first before adding secondary affiliation options.

Last, I'd recommend using the DISCUSSION feature to ping your members about book ideas. I'll be going through the selection process with my syndicate next week, so we'll see how use of that feature goes.


message 39: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments @jeremy I've been using my own Goodreads group for all the discussion and find that so far it facilitates a better platform than the discussion thread since we can organize topics much like here. Since the common interest of my syndicate is epic fantasy, we have the option of creating discussion threads on epic fantasy that get get going between readers and writers who both love the genre. I'm eager to explore this option for my own syndicate.

Of course, like all creative work, you don't know until you try and when something doesn't work you abandon it and move on to what does, so I'm letting this grow organically and seeing what happens -- also anticipating that with time the syndicates platform might integrate to allow for more organized discussion.

message 40: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
@John, great idea!

message 41: by C. (new)

C. (cbrennecke) | 170 comments Mod
Jeremy wrote: "@John, great idea!"

Hi Jeremy - Can you tell us what happens when a syndicate backs a book that ends up not reaching its funding goal? Is there a refund or does the Syndicate get to choose another book to replace it?


message 42: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
@Christine, good question. The members of the syndicate get credits totaling the order amount, which they can then use individually to purchase other books. The syndicate doesn't get a "re-do."

message 43: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Thomas (jgrahamthomas) | 39 comments Mod
Oh, and syndicates are now available on the homepage.

message 44: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments @Christine mentioned in her syndicate group that we're voting on the 15th of this month. I didn't receive an email -- I'm wondering is this for all syndicates or just hers? How do we place the order for our syndicate for the month?

message 45: by Joni (new)

Joni Dee | 49 comments Hi folks - check out our newest "Thriller Night" syndicate. Essentially will cover any thriller elemented novel, I.e. Crime, suspense, spy, etc

We found that these genres ar a bit underrepresented in Inkshares though syndicate is "grosso modo thrillers" meaning that even fantasy or SciFi with thriller elements will be considered.

We have 6 members and everyone is invited.


message 46: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) So I want to jump on the Syndicate bandwagon and start one for books aimed at younger readers, which will include both middle-grade and YA books on Inkshares. I know this is a very small group so far, but does anyone want to join with me on this?

message 47: by C. (last edited Jan 27, 2016 02:30PM) (new)

C. (cbrennecke) | 170 comments Mod
That's a great idea and definitely an area that could really use some extra support/exposure!

message 48: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) Yay, glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks so! I think that a huge part of why my project Scribbles hasn't gotten much buzz because I'm trying to hit a barely represented genre on Inkshares, so I'm hoping a syndicate will give exposure to those projects who, like mine, aren't getting attention simply because there aren't that many of them.

message 49: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Battle | 3 comments I found the same problem with my YA book. It's hard to target that audience using inkshares. When, I tried to pitch my book and generate interest, none of the kids seemed willing to go to inkshares. They had no idea what it was all about it, and it was difficult to get the idea across.

message 50: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) Yeah, start-ups are generally easier to pitch to adults who can afford to take a risk, not like younger people who are starting out in the work force (or something along those lines) and don't have very much extra money to spend that they might not get something out of it in the end. But if we can collect enough YA writers, let's start a syndicate! Inkshares is awesome in that it's goal is about expanding and growing voices, but to do that we need to make sure we have something to say and enough people saying it. (Horrible metaphor, I'm sure, but it's all I could come up with, ha!)

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