Last month, Inkshares posted the first contest in their year-long collaboration with Nerdist and Geek & Sundry. After a month of furious writing and campaigning… I didn’t even get the first chapter in my outline completed. But nearly a hundred authors did throw their hat in the ring, and the winners of the Space Opera contest are:
- Champions of the Third Planet, by Christopher Leone
- The Madness of Mr. Butler, by Michael Haase
- Space Tripping, by Patrick Edwards
But of those three, only one gets to move on for inclusion in the Nerdist Collection. That lucky title is: Champions of the Third Planet! What this means for author Christopher Leone is that Nerdist will assist in marketing and promotion. As someone who has self-published, I can tell you that, after actually writing the damn thing, marketing your book is the hardest part of the publishing process. Having a professional team behind you is an enormous benefit.
There were some fantastic books in the contest, and I really enjoyed the inventive and surprisingly sophisticated marketing campaigns that authors used for pitching their novels. In particular, The Life Interstellar by Zack Jordan impressed me with its daily fiction updates that came in the form of, not just chapter excerpts, but in-universe spam e-mail and soap opera recaps. It showed me that all of the ancillary stuff I come up with when creating a fictional world, all the stuff that I want to fit in the story but just can’t–there can be a place for that. It was one of those “aha!” moments that happened while I followed the contest. Now that I have a mental template of how Inkshares (and these contests) work, I’m excited to test the waters a little more with the next contest.
And what is that next contest? Inkshares announced on Monday that it will be “Hard Science” for the Geek & Sundry collection, running from April 4 until May 16!
So all you authors that think you could be the next Andy Weir–you’ve got an extra week to get your manuscripts polished (or, y’know, finished enough to get ready for an editor), throw your campaign outlines together, and start your Inkshares network humming. One thing I noticed is that following other projects is generally rewarded with follow-backs and is a great way to extend your reach on the site. The forum system is a great asset as well. There was tons of activity on it during the Space Opera contest, and I suspect that will continue here.
The three books in the contest with the highest number of preorders will be eligible for inclusion in the Geek & Sundry collection. As a bonus, the Science and Entertainment Exchange, the entertainment arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has offered to provide scientist consultants to check all three finalists for scientific accuracy (and I’m assuming provide helpful edits, because otherwise that offer is terrifying).
So hop over to Inkshares next Monday, follow a couple of books, and see if you back the right one. And to everyone participating this time around, good luck!