Jul 6, 2014

Letting the Light Shine on our Stories

by Stacy Clark

Stacy Clark's Writing World

If you're a writer like I am, I bet you have shelves, cabinets and table tops cluttered with story ideas, re-writes, feedback, rejection letters, and praise from friends and family who have loved reading your work, published or not.

Recently, I opened one of my many writer abysses to search for information necessary to create a website for my first children's book (When the Wind Blows was discovered on Inkubate by Oakland, CA literary agent Andy Ross) and I discovered a goldmine of correspondence from none other than Pete Seeger. I knew that there were letters from Pete with comments he had provided on WIND and that they included a beautiful Foreword he had written for the story, but I didn't recall the many personal insights and attached articles that Pete had sent to me, because, like most of us, I'm a writer with a day job, or jobs for that matter!

Here, in my old pine hutch, on top of the tab marked "Seeger Correspondence," I found everything I need to create a lively site for my story, including a 15-year trail of articles related to wind energy, climate change and the benefits of shifting to renewable energy. There it all was, including a picture of me and Pete standing along his beloved Hudson River, back in 2009, when my mom and my son and I drove to meet him at the Beacon Strawberry Festival. But that wasn't all I found.

There were treasured letters from editors who, over the many years I have written and edited, had graciously taken the time to review earlier versions of WIND (then under different story titles) and provide critiques that helped me to approach my work with renewed enthusiasm and with fresh eyes. 

There were notes of torn paper scribbled with story ideas, comments overheard by children that needed to be explored in writing, and complete drafts of other delightful stories that I had all but forgotten about. I was in awe. 

I tell you all this because I know that we're all alike. Part-time writers everywhere (and there are at least 15 million of us in the U.S. alone) have started, revised, shared and shelved so many works, many of which have great potential. I know mine do. Yours do too.

Inkubate was created to provide me and all of you with a depot for all of our literary potential. Our site invites writers of all kinds of fiction and non-fiction to upload and categorize their work so that agents, editors and publishers will have an opportunity to access a broad range of content in one place, using a variety of relevant tools designed to serve their needs.  

We can't guarantee that your work will be published, but we can promise that our mission is to create the smartest, simplest, most streamlined experience for writers to present their best works in an environment that is compelling to the publishing industry.

When Inkubate 2.0 launches later this summer, it will have enhanced tools for agents, editors and publishers to efficiently browse writer submissions. It will also have tools for writers to monitor the activity surrounding the works that they have uploaded to our system.

Our goal is to provide a mechanism to help launch more writing careers and to provide the publishing industry with the services they require to gain and maintain traction in a rapidly evolving industry.

If your work is discivered, will it be traditionally published or digitally released? it depends on the publisher and the demands of readers, but our goal is to make every possible channel available to you.

We'll be reaching out to all of our current writers soon with updates on what's ahead. In the meantime, happy writing to you all this summer!

Have questions about uploading a manuscript, the privacy of our members' works, or anything else? Please just reach out. I can be reached at stacy@inkubate.com. 

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May 4, 2014

Write a Shadow of a Story in 140 Characters or Less

by Stacy Clark

We've been fascinated by the efforts of many writers to create what are really shadows of a larger story using the 140 character limitation of Twitter. 

As we prepare to hatch our next technology roll-out, which will include new tools for writers & publishers and a slick new dashboard design for both, we are curious whether this abreviated narrative would help us bring more writers and publishers together.

For example, if we were to tweet "Email us your 140 max-character MEMOIR," a journalist like Annie Harrison-Dunn may respond with one of her clever teasers, such as: "Confronted by the sameness and change of it all, he sighed deeply. This was the lake upon which he once skimmed stones." (119-characters)

Writer Ben Mines may reply to a similar request for CRIME, writing, "Take her out! Jules was told. So he did. It was a nice clean shot too. But then his boss phoned to ask if his wife was having a good time." (140 characters)

A call for ROMANCE may return a tease like this one by writer Joanna M. Weston: "He texted me during math class. I caught his eye. We met for coffee. Classes over, we went to my place; proved one plus one makes three." (136-characters)

You get the idea.

If you have a 140-character or less silhouette of a story running in your mind, please share it with us and we will post the most compelling ones on our blog and occasionally direct them to our publishing partners. You never know, a clever tweet may inspire a publisher to search for you as an author on the web or on our site, where you can easily create your writer profile, upload and categorize your work, and then pitch your idea to get discovered.

Let us know what you think.

Send your 140-character limit story tweets to me at emailme@inkubate.com

Write On!

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Apr 3, 2014

Writers are Like Addicts

by Stacy Clark

Inkubate's core business model involves the market of 25 million aspiring writers who spend a ton of money each year on advice, editorial services, websites, conferences, workshops, and postage, just trying to get noticed. We writers are like addicts; believe me, I know. Just like many of you, I've spent a small fortune over many years doing whatever was necessary to get a traditional publishing deal. We know that it can be nearly impossible unless you are a proven "marketable" author, celebrity, or if you are fortunate to be represented by a top agency.

We created Inkubate to be a submission, discovery, curation, and collaboration platform for intellectual property. Our goal remains steadfast: to build the smartest, simplest, most streamlined experience for writers to showcase their works and for publishers to discover those marketable manuscripts that will be welcomed by readers and drive publishing revenues higher. 

We'll be closing on our first round of funding soon and are looing forward to adding the technological enhancements that will provide more powerful discovery and marketability tools for publishers and meaningful feedback for writers.

 

Aug 19, 2013

Judging of the Literary Blockbuster Challenge is Complete!

by Stacy Clark

Inkubate is pleased to announce that the judging for our Literary Blockbuster Challenge has concluded and our winners have been contacted. We are so grateful to all of the hundreds of writers who participated.

As soon as we have received verification from the winners that they meet the eligibilty requirements, we will share their works with our vetted editors and agents who are looking forward to the opportunity to review these fresh works of literature. Once their reviews are complete, we will share the winners' names publicly.

Thank you again to all of our writers who have participated in our first literary contest and to our wonderful judges who have made it possible.

All press requests regarding information should be directed to Stacy Clark at stacy@inkubate.com. Please forward your press credentials along with your request.

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Aug 9, 2013

Winners to be Announced Soon

by Stacy Clark

Our judges are still deliberating over the finalists in our Literary Blockbuster Challenge. We are looking forward to speaking with them soon and making their news your news. 

It's been a busy summer here at Inkubate, as we have been focused on building new tools for the writing and publishing communities. We have heard from many of you about the kind of writer experience you would like to see on Inkubate and we are so happy to include your perspectives as we move ahead. We know that many of you want to be able to track the number of times that your work has been viewed by our vetted editors and agents and this feature is at the top of our wish list too.

Thank you to all of our writers for trusting Inkubate with their most important work. 

Have a great weekend.

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Jun 6, 2013

Inkubate's Long List Winners Announced!

by Stacy Clark

“For two months all we did was read. There were detective novels and coming of age stories, mysteries and science fiction, historical and even some erotic literature. There were so many great entries that narrowing down our selections to just a few became a daunting task. In the end, I think we found some writers with exceptional talent, and that made all the reading worthwhile.” – Nathan Feuerberg

Nathan Feuerberg, usually busy writing short stories, novels, and plays, collaborated recently with James Joyce Scholar, Susan Sutliff Brown, and author Mary Katherine Wainwright, Ph.D. to read and judge over 600 original novels submitted to Inkubate’s first Literary Blockbuster Challenge. Inkubate is indebted to this remarkable team and we’re delighted to announce, in no particular order, their Long List winners:

  • Jenny Parker Nichols
  • Alison L. McLennan
  • David A. Fiore
  • Susan T. Chehak
  • John Domini
  • Donald O’Crane
  • Eremi M. Amabee
  • Abeer Y. Hoque
  • Steve Mitchell
  • Rachel Stolzman Gullo
  • Scott Holliday
  • Joseph Laizure
  • Kalliope Lee
  • Susan L. Sheppard
  • Pamela King Cable
  • Carol Howell
  • Theodore Wheeler
  • Gina N. Wohlsdorf
  • Claudia Jannone
  • Marcia Peek
  • Douglas Light

These writers’ works will now be reviewed by our top-judges, lead by James W. Hall, author of Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers. Winners of Inkubate’s Literary Blockbuster Challenge will be announced the first week in August.

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Mar 29, 2013

Two Days Left to Enter Inkubate's Literary Blockbuster Challenge!

by Stacy Clark

Writers have two days left to enter Inkubate's Literary Blockbuster Challenge.

Here's what writers need to do:

Register as an Inkubate writer on our homepage: www.inkubate.com

Once registered, return to homepage to Login (link is on top right-hand corner of homepage).

Once logged in, click on "Add Work."

Type the Title, write a brief Synopsis and copy and paste an Excerpt from the work using our 'paste from word' tool.

On the blue right-hand side bar of 'Add Work' page, be sure to choose "Fiction" and "Novel" as your Format. This will trigger the "Enter in contest" box to appear further below. Also choose one to three Categories that best describe your work. You need to click "Add" each time you select a category.

Scroll to bottom right-hand corner of page and click on the "Enter in contest" box. Scroll up to agree to the contest's Terms of Use.

Finally, scroll to bottom left-hand side of page and click on the Browse tab to upload entire manuscript. PDFs are preferred.

Be certain to SAVE WORK otherwise your upload will not occur and your information will be lost. Each time you SAVE WORK, you will return to your Writer Dashboard. Simply click on the title of your work to return to the Add Work page, where you may continue editing your information.

Be sure to SAVE WORK each time edits are entered.

Uploading a newer version of a manuscript will replace any earlier verison of the work. 

If you have any questions, please contact Stacy Clark at stacy@inkubate.com or 214-505-9953.

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Feb 23, 2013

Writers Anticipate Literary Blockbuster Challenge Deadline

by Stacy Clark

Following the recent San Miguel Writers' Conference and many other winter literary festivals, Inkubate welcomes the talented writers who are now uploading their unpublished and self-published novels in anticipation of our literary contest deadline of March 31, 2013.

A stunning panel of judges will be reviewing writer submissions.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres), bestselling author James W. Hall (Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers), Woodstock Writers Festival CEO and memoirist Martha Frankel (Hats and Sunglasses), award-winning poet, President of PEN Mexico and National Endowment of the Arts Fiction Fellow, Jennifer Clement, and Fulbright Scholar and political satirist Larry Beinhart (Wag the Dog and How to Write a Mystery) will collectively review contest entries. When hearing that Inkubate's literary scholar, Susan S. Brown, Ph.D., was designing a contest to attract writers capable of creating a well-crafted, meaningful literary novel that's also a page-turner and commercial success, Jennifer Clement agreed to participate, stating that "the character-driven novel with plotting and suspense is the key ingredient of good storytelling."

When uploading a work for the contest, writers are asked to choose "Fiction" and "Novel" as their literary form. This triggers the contest entry box to appear. After checking the box, Inkubate's Terms of Use for the contest will appear and after agreeing to them and uploading and saving a novel as a PDF, writers' works will automatically be entered in this one-of-a-kind contest. Writers may upload partially completed novels and then return to re-upload completed works by March 31, 2013. Re-uploading a completed PDF automatically replaces any earlier version of a novel.

Writers seeking personalized attention in uploading works should email Inkubate co-founder, Stacy Clark, directly at stacy@inkubate.com. 

Writers works are never visible to the public, but rather only to the vetted agents, editors and publishers we invite as members.

There is no entry fee for this contest and ten winners will receive a total of $10,000 in prizes. Top winners will also have their works reviewed by leading literary agencies, including Curtis Brown and Andy Ross, and editors from Random House, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Hachette Book Group.

With five weeks to go, our distingusihed panel of judges and everyone here at Inkubate are cheering writers on!

   Top left to right: James W. Hall, Jane Smiley and Larry Beinhart

   Bottom left to right: Martha Frankel and Jennifer Clement

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Dec 10, 2012

Inkubate Inspires Writers to Create Literary Blockbuster

by Stacy Clark

Published, this morning on Yahoo News:

Inkubate Inspires Writers to Create the Literary Blockbuster 

Top Publishing Executives Review Winners

(Portsmouth, N.H.) December, 10, 2012. Is it possible to write a well-crafted, complex, meaningful literary novel that’s also a page-turner and commercial success—even a blockbuster? Inkubate thinks so and announced today its 2012 Literary Blockbuster Challenge, offering writers $10,000 in prizes, a first-place prize of $5,000 and access to top-level publishing executives for the best attempts at merging literary and commercial fiction. 

Inkubate’s pioneering platform, engineered by PixelMEDIA, enables qualified publishers and agents to search, browse and discover writers’ unpublished works. The late, great Ray Bradbury, having viewed an Inkubate demonstration in Los Angeles wrote, “Inkubate is giving voice to new writers as well as resurrecting those that should not be forgotten.” For a man who explored technology and questioned its effects on society throughout his life, Bradbury’s comments validate Inkubate’s core mission, which according to Co-Founder, Stacy Clark, is “to offer writers a level playing field where they can at least get on base.”

The contest is inspired by the publication of James W. Hall’s Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century’s Biggest Bestsellers. Inkubate’s Co-Founder, Jay Gale, explains: “In his analysis of twelve books that were major financial successes, Hall identifies the literary devices that the authors used to keep readers hooked.” 

Inkubate, and the panel of judges led by Hall and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, Jane Smiley, are looking for writers who are willing to turn their literary talents to commercial fiction. “Imagine merging the profundity of Moby Dick with the page-turning power of Jaws,” said Clark, whose own manuscript was discovered on Inkubate by Oakland-based literary agent, Andy Ross and will be published by Holiday House.

Joining Hall and Smiley on the panel of judges is Fulbright Scholar Larry Beinhart (Wag the Dog and How to Write a Mystery), writer and Executive Director of the Woodstock Writers Festival, Martha Frankel, and the prize-winning poet Jennifer Clement, who is excited by the chance to read the entries: “The character-driven novel with plotting and suspense is the key ingredient of good story-telling,” Clement said.

Inkubate is accepting contest entries through March 31, 2013. Writers’ works are visible only to vetted publishers and agents. Random House, Harper Collins, Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and leading literary agencies have agreed to review the winning submissions. 

 

Contact: Stacy Clark

Co-Founder, Inkubate

214.505.9953

stacy@inkubate.com

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Oct 8, 2012

Is the Literary Blockbuster the Next Frontier?

by Stacy Clark

Is it possible to write a well-crafted, complex, meaningful literary novel that’s also a page-turner and commercial success—even a blockbuster? James Joyce Scholar, Susan Sutliff Brown thinks so.

We met Brown at the San Miguel Writers Conference last February, where she presented to a standing room only crowd her approach to transcending the polarity between literary and commercial fiction.

In Brown’s most popular workshop, James Joyce Meets Judith Krantz, writers are challenged to create a fresh new genre—the literary blockbuster—which merges the goals and devices of serious fiction with those that keep readers up all night.

Speaking later, we agreed that a literary contest aimed at bridging the long-standing divide between these two literary worlds would be a fascinating experiment. Thus, Inkubate’s 2012 Literary Blockbuster Challenge was born.

Brown remains motivated by a key development—the discovery of the blockbuster formula in James W. Hall’s new release: Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century’s Biggest Bestsellers.

Brown explains:

“Creative writing professor James W. Hall has discovered and published the formula common to mega-blockbusters. In a study of bestsellers from Peyton Place, Gone with the Wind, and To Kill a Mockingbird, to Valley of the Dolls, The Godfather, Jaws, and The Da Vinci Code, Hall has identified twelve ingredients common to these strikingly different bestsellers.”

Without compromising content or style, Brown encourages writers to add Hall’s blockbuster “code” to their unpublished literary manuscript. “They’ll want to read Hall’s book, of course, but they’ll also see references to his code in Parts II and III of the PDF guide I created to help writers transform their manuscripts into marketable works of fiction.”

Are you the writer who will bridge the long-standing gap and write something philosophically meaningful that readers will want to take to the beach? If so, “a literary blockbuster is within reach and there are a number of ways to begin,” says Brown.

  • Dust off that beautifully written literary novel you haven’t sold and add the ingredients that make it a page-turner.
  • Confront the hero of your whodunit with an emotional abyss that causes a character change even as the mystery is resolved.
  • Write an entirely new novel that combines the formulas of literary and commercial fiction.

Ready to get started? Need a skilled literary coach? Dive into Susan Brown’s Blockbuster Guide.

And feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues!

You can hear Brown speak in person at the 2013 San Miguel Writers Conference. While there, you can also savor the expertise of many other Inkubate friends, including Ray Bradbury’s goddaughter and presenter, Elizabeth Eve King, award-winning Children’s book author, Dianna Hutts Aston, PEN Mexico's President and contest judge, Jennnifer Clement, and every writer’s favorite literary agent, Oakland-based Andy Ross. You may want to contact Andy now to set up a manuscript review during the San Miguel Writers Conference.

Stacy Clark, a co-founder of Inkubate, is also an educator, writer and researcher who lives in Dallas, Texas.