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Sandbox > A vote-only version of Inkshares

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message 1: by John (last edited Jul 08, 2016 03:18PM) (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 62 comments Mod
Okay, I have to confess, last night I couldn't sleep and a crazy idea came to me. I dismissed it because really, I had to sleep, but it didn't vanish into late night subconscious vapor and it's still there. So here goes...

(Bit of a story to get the context of this, I'll put a bracket below for the tldr;)

My novel, Blood Dawn, was featured on Inkshares for over a year and my original reason for putting it there was to solve a basic problem: I need to build a fan base as an author who has nothing. Inkshares presented a great solution to me because it was a way to "make real" the novel I was writing and allow people to "vote" on it through pre-ordering.

From the get-go, I had zero interest in crowdfunding or seeing it published from this experience, but I'll admit once you get involved and see the "so-and-so just ordered your book" email kick in it's hard NOT to get excited. But as my campaign wound on there was a big divide within me and I found myself completely out of sync with the John I was when this all started -- gone was leisurely Gandalf immersed in the story world and here to stay was Saruman with his mind of metal and wheels. It just wasn't me.

Now that I'm out I'm glad I'm out! But now that I'm out I'm able to reflect back on what I liked about the platform and what it was I was really looking for and, could what I WANT be build, this is what it would look like:

<<<<<----(TLDR; -- here's that promised tag, crazy idea starts here)----->>>>>

What if we could make a platform with user accounts like Inkshares where authors could put up their books and have users "vote" on their books if they would like to read them? By voting, the user is open to communicating with the author, and will receive updates via email, which they can extend to newsletter if they'd like.

The advantage I see right away is "votes" would reflect more authentic interest in a book, not just people who might have backed a book hoping the author will back their book in return. No one is pressured to "vote" on a book, but of course authors on the platform could pitch their book to any user.

Wattpad folks, you might be able to tell me more about how Wattpad works because this might just be what Wattpad is. But the difference, as I see it, is authors would NOT be publishing their works. They would just feature a few chapters, a teaser, bio, a stream of updates -- basically what you see on an Inkshares platform page -- and you'd see avatars for all those who have "voted" on the books and have become the community for that book. Everyone here would promote their book to get people on the system, so we could cross-pollinate there. Once anyone gets their book published, they can update their book page to link to where the book is available.

This would be something for Indie authors, perhaps even a platform that's an extension of what we're doing in this group (if, of course, there is something to this and it's not just an idea that should have evaporated into a dream last night). I'm seeing this as an organic "in-between" for authors to build community around their work, collectively, together, be they first time with nothing published and wanting to showcase their work and connect to interested readers, or be they veteran authors with numerous books out who want to build hype around their latest WIP.

Some of you (presuming there are some here who don't think I'm nuts right now) might say, "John, don't share this! It's a great idea, someone will steal it!" Actually, I'm sharing this here because I WANT someone to steal it because I want them to make this platform, because I certainly don't have the where-with-all nor the time to build this. If, however, some folks in the crowd like this idea, please chime in! I'm giving you permission right here to call me crazy so please let me know, and of course if I'm not, then let's discuss :)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) This idea does have a lot of Wattpad elements to it, John, but even so there's always that "show support to me, and I'll show support to you" mentality that will crop up anywhere, be it monetary support or not. I do think this is a very awesome idea though, and I fully support it! Almost like showing interest in books here on Goodreads by putting it on your to-read shelf . . . this idea has the elements of a bookstore-esque experience where all you have going at first (generally) is a cover, blurb, and sometimes you might browse through the book to see if it truly interests you.

Whatever happens next with this, sign me up!

message 3: by John (last edited Jul 09, 2016 08:30AM) (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 62 comments Mod
Thanks so much Tabi! This idea keep bouncing in my head and I'm seeing lots of potential. In particular, I have a small network of traditional authors who I think would love a place like this to bring their readers into, so the potential for cross-pollination is amazing.

I've decided I am building this thing, and I'm going to call it the Author Reader Connect (at least for now).

I will be looking to assemble a team of volunteers who want to help, ideally from this crowd. Who here has web development skills and web design skills who would be willing to help? To be clear there is zero monetary benefit from this, at least directly (i.e. if you're an author who has some skills that will help make this happen, then building this mean you'll benefit down the road from helping build your reader base, which leads to more sales, etc.) -- it's something we as authors who want to work together are building to benefit each other. I'm willing to invest the energy in spearheading this and leading the project, but I will need a team. I'm of course going to be reaching into my network to find helpers but in the meantime anyone here wants to jump in I'll create a Slack discussion group and add you in -- just let me know (DM me here on Goodreads, or email me:

message 4: by Nell (new)

Nell Walton sent an email with input.

message 5: by Jason (last edited Jul 10, 2016 09:43AM) (new)

Jason (atomicboywonder) | 3 comments I like this idea, I think it involves less pressure than "buy my book that is not even finished yet and I'll buy your not finished book that may not come out too". Whenever you attach a price tag to anything, especially something that isn't even done, it becomes a real challenge. Obviously, I have my own mixed feelings about Inkshares...but, I digress.

But, getting people interested in your project without assigning any obligation to it (monetary or otherwise) is a great way to build a relationship with a potential fanbase and support network. That's what I was looking at the goodreads groups here as, but this demands a bit more active participation and seeing people "voting" for your work or following you out of genuine interest is a big confidence builder. God knows we all need that from time to time as trying to break into this racket can be an ego crusher sometimes.

I'm all for it, add me to the slack group. I'm not sure what skills I can offer, but at the very least I'd like to be kept in the loop.

message 6: by Nell (new)

Nell Walton jason, you and I are close. I live just outside knoxville. I am also in cyber security

message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason (atomicboywonder) | 3 comments Wow, thats awesome. I have some good friends in knoxville

message 8: by Craig (new)

Craig Munro | 2 comments So it's like SOOP ( but without the publishing offer at the end? Though they do have submission guidelines I guess and the goal of their vote only system is to get published and not to simply build a following/community.

Or more like goodreads but for unpublished books? (We're spoiled for comparisons!) It's an interesting idea anyway and one that doesn't exist as far as I know. Keep me posted!

message 9: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 62 comments Mod
@Craig, would you like to join our Slack group for this? I'd love to have some input from those who might find this platform useful so at this state we're going to develop this further with discussion there. Let me know -- and anyone else who wants to join in the discussion to help us develop a MVP version for launch, let me know here and I'll invite you in.

message 10: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 62 comments Mod
@jason, I've invited you to our Slack group for this!

message 11: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Namednil | 8 comments This seems like a great idea! I'd say there should also be a rather large emphasis on Reviews and Recommendations, like a feed that updates with the latest of these or something. I've got a ton of Recommendations on InkShares, some of them which are spot on, but that the ten shown are randomized or not shown in any particular order is kind of a bummer.

I'll absolutely offer to help in any way I can! My technical skills are a bit limited, but if I can be of service, count me in!

message 12: by Craig (new)

Craig Munro | 2 comments @John too much on my plate at the moment to be of much use, but I'll let you know if things calm down! Possibly after developmental edits are done...

message 13: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 62 comments Mod
Thanks @Craig! I suspect this idea will be in development for a bit before we can launch, so you're welcome to jump in any time you're able.

To everyone else -- thanks for sharing here. I am making a Powerpoint presentation of this in detail right now which I'll present to the Slack group, any input here is helpful. @Kendra, your details about the Reviews and Recommendations is notes (Reviews I already have on the radar, recommendations I never thought of but that's GREAT!).

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