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.

 

Nov 28, 2011

Glowing Butterflies Must be Toxic!

by Stacy Clark

Our Founder and Principal of Publisher Relations, Jay Gale, shares his current views on the rapidly evolving publishing industry.

After speaking with many publishers, Inkubate has learned that they are kept up at night worrying about the rapidly shrinking retail marketplace, and though this is good news for the makers of Lunesta, it portends an industry in turmoil.

Inkubate agrees that this marketplace is contracting rapidly and that securing access to markets is fundamentally necessary for traditional publishers to survive; but, securing access to a marketplace when you have little or no product to sell is a waste of time and effort.

The publishing world is in rapid transition and while Amazon is using innovation and proactive ways to directly connect with writers, and in so doing dis-intermediating publishers and agents, traditional publishers seem content to execute discovery like they always have—passively—e.g., waiting for writers or agents to query them. And, while this continues to work for the time being, it is unlikely that five years from now these same publishers will effectively be able to compete in a publishing industry whose evolution is being driven by technology.

Inkubate levels the playing field by providing publishers with the same kind of direct access to writers that Amazon has built for itself through its self-publishing models. But Inkubate does more—it ups the ante—by leveraging the one thing that publishers have in their favor that Amazon still has to achieve: imprint brand value. Publishers who do not seize the opportunity to leverage their brand values in the only place that it really matters—with the writer community—are missing the best opportunity that they have to secure primary access to new and undiscovered writers, and this, of course, is fundamental to the long-term survival of any publishing house.

By taking care of that part of their business, publishers can then begin to build new ways to access retail markets, either through leveraging the quality of their content in their negotiations with third party retailers or by delivering that content themselves; in either case, it starts with sourcing the most compelling works by the best authors.

-Jay D. Gale, Principal & Co-Founder

jdgale@inkubate.com

603-491-1168

Aug 19, 2011

"An Author is Published"

by Stacy Clark

INKUBATE Writer Profile

This is the first in a series of profiles of INKUBATE Authors who have given us permission to speak publicly about their life and work.

Dianna Hutts Aston is not only the face of INKUBATE’S Tour and a twelve-time published picture book author, but she’s also one of INKUBATE’S earliest adopters, having posted three of her unpublished manuscripts this year. They include “Sticks and Stones,” “Martin’s Story” and “Wheels.”

A former journalist and an avid hot-air balloon enthusiast, Dianna grew up in Buda, Texas and remembers the carefree days of summer, while visiting her grandmother in Oklahoma. “My mother remembers me saying, ‘I’m going to the tall grass prairie.’ These were the rolling hills I loved to explore in eastern Oklahoma. I remember that I loved how free I felt and the happiness of roaming the countryside independently. I could see forever then and the sense of freedom was intoxicating. I knew then that I never would want to be trapped.”

Dianna’s current life in San Miguel de Allende is a constant source of inspiration for a writer who thrives on the deliverance of the out-of-doors. Gravitating primarily to nature themes, Dianna’s most recent book, “A Butterfly is Patient” (Chronicle, March, 2011) is masterfully illustrated by Sylvia Long. It’s the duos’ third book in a lyrical science series that has garnered high acclaim. “Every day I open my email, I read another review about BUTTERFLY and I recall the first time I read it to a preschool classroom in Dallas, before it had been officially released. The children loved it, especially Sylvia’s illustration of the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, the world’s largest butterfly.” The series includes “A Seed is Sleepy” (2007), “An Egg is Quiet” (2006) and also the yet to be released, “A Rock is Bubbly.”

“I love each of these stories because they spotlight the natural beauty around us. I’d like to write another one about bugs, but I haven’t yet identified the theme. ‘A Bug is Creepy’ doesn’t really sound right. I love ladybugs because they quietly and beautifully accomplish their mission. I’d like to think that I’m a ladybug warrior – making the most of the world and resources around me. Maybe “A Bug is Busy?”

Dianna relies on the creative talent of the writer-illustrator community that she has discovered nestled in the Bajio Mountains of central Mexico. “There are so many friends here that inspire me every day. Jody Feagan grew up in Franklin, Kansas, but now lives and works here. She’s the Founder and Producer of the St. Miguel Writers Conference and Festival. She is very with it and knows everyone. I love learning from her. Together, we started the annual Teen Writers’ Workshop and it’s exciting to be involved each year.”

Dianna’s books have won many awards. Her Chronicle series is a highlight. “An Egg is Quiet” not only sold more than 70,000 copies, but it also won the 2007 American Academy for the Advancement of Science Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Publisher’s Weekly’s Starred Review read: “Like the subject matter it describes, this book packages with understated elegance the substantive matter found within it….This attractive volume pleases on both an aesthetic and intellectual level.” BUTTERFLY has also received starred reviews from Publisher’s Lunch and Booklist and has been hailed as a winner in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and The Washington Journal. Scholastic is featuring it in its spring library fair, which means that it will be in every library in every school.

Dianna also received the prestigious Coretta Scott King Honor Award for her 2009 picture book, “A Moon Over Star,” about a girl named Mae and her family who, in 1969, watched with wonder as Apollo 11 landed on the Moon (over the town of Star, Texas). Booklist loved the story: “….the text combines dignity and immediacy in a clean, spare telling of events….A quiet, satisfying tribute to this milestone in human history and its power to inspire others….Perfect for one-on-one sharing, this lovely book has a universality that gives it broad appeal.”

With so many awards and such broad appeal, it’s exciting that Dianna has three children’s submissions posted to Inkubate. “Yes, it makes sense…I have a plethora of unpublished works because of a lack of interest from my editors. That doesn’t mean it’s not good work. Inkubate seems like the logical home for these stories, which I happen to love.”

Dianna’s close friend, Jody Feagan feels the same way: “Online is where the world is going…Travel and conferences are expensive and moving the initial connections between writers, publishers and agents online has real market potential. Publishing is changing and it’s never going to be the way it was.”

In addition to writing for children, Dianna manages her non-profit foundation, The Oz Project (www.theozproject.org), which provides inspirational experiences to children in orphanages, rural villages, and children with special needs.

To read more about Dianna, visit her website at www.diannahaston.com

Dianna on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DHAston

Dianna on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100001161814374

Jul 8, 2011

What Writers Should Know About Display Sites (that Publishers already know...)

by Stacy Clark

 

Writers have been flocking in droves during the last few years to display sites to be seen and improve their skills. This online world has become a place where writers feel empowered, but unfortunately, in many instances, they have unintentionally become marginalized.

 

Publishers have always known that writing is often a collaborative effort when friends and associates help each other to improve the quality of their writing and its marketability. However, the very public nature of these display sites has publishers and agents concerned about the potential liabilities associated with doing business with individuals who participate in these forums.

 

What publishers have told INKUBATE is that they are more concerned than ever with authorship and ownership and issues involving plagiarism. When a writer solicits, in a relatively public forum, critique and criticism of their manuscript, and incorporates shared suggestions in a work in progress, the literary landscape becomes very cloudy.

 

Writers should understand the difference between a display site, where their work in progress may be viewed by a large public membership, and INKUBATE, which does not allow viewing, critiquing or collaboration among its member writers.

 

This is one very large and significant reason why publishers and agents have expressed interest and delight over the rich library of content that continues to amass during our BETA trials.

 

So, while INKUBATE recognizes the value and importance of display sites to the writer community, INKUBATE also believes that it is important for writers to understand the potential pitfalls inherent in such a public creative process, particularly if they are seeking publication.

 

At INKUBATE, our focus is to provide an inherently safe marketplace, where writers can showcase their very best works for the vetted publishers and agents who are serious about transitioning from a passive Discovery model to a highly proactive one.

 

We are proud to welcome so many talented writers from such diverse backgrounds, offering a compelling range of non-fiction and fiction. From scientific studies in Antarctica and well-researched biographies to children’s books and YA novels, INKUBATE’S inventory reflects the vibrant and imaginative world of its writers.

 

We will keep you posted on our developments this month and want you to know that our Terms of Use have been updated.

 

Warm regards,

 

Stacy Clark stacy@inkubate.com

Jay Gale     jdgale@inkubate.com

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jun 21, 2011

Inkubate Loves Writers!

by Stacy Clark

Jay Gale recently traveled to network with several different types of writers’ groups, the first being the Cape Cod Writers Centerwhere Jay met 40 writers, each anxious to become a published author.

Traveling back north, Jay took advantage of being in Boston to attend a Trident Booksellers & Café author event on Newbury Street and later that evening, participated in a creative writing workshop sponsored by the Boston Public Library, where Jay got to exercise his own personal love of writing.

Before returning to Portsmouth, Jay enjoyed the best Mexican meal that Boston can offer at Beacon Street's Sol Azteca. It was just as good as it was twenty-five years ago when Jay stumbled in on a cold, wintery afternoon, while working as a hydro-geologist to save the world from itself.

Stacy Clark enjoyed meeting Washington Post Environmental Writer, Juliet Eilperin, at Brooklyn, New York's independent bookstore, WORD, where Eilperin discussed her book, "Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks." Eilperin also spoke at a Wildlife Conservation Society event at the Bronx Zoo's Center for Global Conservation. Later, Clark spoke with actor and screenplay writer, Alessio Bordoni, who expressed excitement about posting his next play on INKUBATE. 

It's been an exciting week!

Jun 12, 2011

Texas Writer, Peggy Bedingfield, Praises Greaney's Book

by Stacy Clark

We are delighted to find so many new and published writers signing on to Inkubate to create their Writer Profiles and upload their works! One early adopter of Inkubate is Peggy Bedingfield, a published author (“In the Arms of the Father”), a journalist, a former Air Force weather analyst, and a dog-groomer!

Bedingfield lives in East Texas and several days ago she was browsing the Half-Priced Books store in Rockwall. She asked the seller if there were any new books on writing and the computer search returned Áine Greaney’s latest release, “Writer with a Day Job" (cover jacket seen below). As noted in our last post, Jay Gale, Inkubate’s Co-Founder & Principal of Publisher Relations met Greaney last Friday at her book launch in Ipswich, MA!

Bedingfield described how she devoured Greaney’s guide in two days and laughed out loud over the author’s recollections of “writer’s block regularly leading to an incessant desire for chocolate Sundays” and the fact that “writers continually talk to themselves when writing, causing others to conclude they are insane.” Bedingfield rates Greaney’s guide 5 stars and hopes other writers enjoy it too.

Our next post will include answers to the questions we received from writers this weekend. In the meantime, feel free to contact us with additional questions, as they arise.

Thanks for posting!

Stacy Clark: stacy@inkubate.com

Jay Gale: jdgale@inkubate.com

Jun 10, 2011

Writer with a Day Job

by Stacy Clark

Jay Gale was fortunate to meet author, Áine Greaney, last night at Ipswich, Massachusetts’ Book Nook, where Greaney was launching her new guide, “Writer with a Day Job.”

 

When asked by Jay what she believes it takes to make it as a published author, Greaney remarked, “You have to have persistence, and, frankly, you have to be a bit nuts, too!”

 

Quiet laughter ensued as the writers in the audience nodded in approval…after all, it does take a certain kind of resilience and determination to persevere in an industry where traditional formulas for success are so often obscured by random forces, such as luck and timing.

 

Following Greaney's reading, Jay had a chance to speak with several attendees of the event and explained that rather than charging writers for the opportunity to be paired with the publishers and editors they aim to reach, Inkubate will pay writers each time their work is “Discovered.” One writer, already under agent representation explained that she signed on to Inkubate and created a profile that included the contact details for her agent who was representing one of the three works posted.  

 

“This approach works well for represented writers”, Jay commented. “If a publisher is interested in a work that they see, they’ll know how to connect with you via your agent’s details…so rather than being a disadvantage to you or your agent, it’s actually a boost for everyone to be seen and considered online. Inevitably, it will enhance both your value and theirs in the marketplace,” Jay added.

 

Another visitor stated that they see traditional Discovery as a kind of false science. Jay agreed and added, “And the alchemists are laughing at the Isaac Newtons of the world who want to apply real standards and experimental controls to the process of identifying promising new works.” The ensuing discussion involved what many writers in attendance believe is the need for an organized 3rd party solution. “What many publishers view somewhat pejoratively as a slush pile, we actually see as an opportunity..." Jay said, and added, “...with smarter tools, drilling through to find what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently is a breakthrough for publishers and writers.”

 

With roughly 450,000 freelance writers in the U.S. who work a day job, just as Greaney does, Inkubate is designed to be the one-stop shop for both busy writers aiming to be seen and busy editors aiming to find more time to pursue the real joys of publishing – pairing manuscripts with illustrators, marketing writers’ national book launches and cultivating promising young writers.

 

Inkubate congratulates Ánie on her success!

Jun 7, 2011

New Hampshire Writers' Project Meets in Portsmouth!

by Stacy Clark

Inkubate Principal & Co-Founder, Jay D. Gale (seen below) writes on his experience attending last night's N.H. Writers Project meeting at The Common Man in Portsmouth:

 

It was a treat to be part of the New Hampshire Writers Project Monday night and to have a chance to discuss the publishing industry with so many talented individuals. A special thanks to John Herman for welcoming me to the group!

 

We convened at The Common Man on State Street in downtown Portsmouth. Sharing drinks and a meal, we discussed a broad range of literary topics. The group was dynamic and curious and the conversation memorable. In the fun, relaxed atmosphere I enjoyed fielding a few key questions about Inkubate.

 

John asked what we believe will be the greatest advantage for publishers and agents. I pointed to Inkubate’s efficiencies and what we believe will be considerable savings for the industry. With less money spent on “Discovery,” we hope that publishers and agents will seize the opportunity to invest more time and energy cultivating aspiring writers, strategically marketing their work and delivering new books to market faster. We believe that this will be an important competitive edge for an industry in transition.

 

When asked why the group would want to be early adopters of Inkubate, my answer was easy: Writers are key to preserving the competitive forces that support a vibrant publishing environment. While BETA testing the publisher and agent Discovery tools, we expect our partners will be carefully exploring our content so that they can provide us with meaningful feedback. So, this will, undoubtedly, be a great opportunity to be seen and reviewed in detail by a publisher and/or agent before the community of Inkubate writers and artists grows significantly larger.

 

We’re excited to see that Foster’s Daily Democrat featured Inkubate today in their Business section: http://tinyurl.com/4yeez2p. Please share this link with your writing and publishing colleagues and feel free to contact me with your questions.

 

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to next month’s meeting. Thanks so much for your hospitality!

 

-Jay D. Gale, Principal & Co-Founder

jdgale@inkubate.com

603-491-1168

 

 

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