Rules and Overview

Dear Authors and Readers,

Welcome to the newest Nerdist contest on Inkshares. We've been pairing up since 2015 to create opportunities for authors. The stories surfaced and published in this partnership have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and led to some of the largest film and foreign-rights deals in recent memory.

This contest is open to submissions across all of science-fiction. Time travel in the vein of Heinlein or Asimov? Yes. An alien-invasion narrative that reminds us of everything from The War of the Worlds to Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow? Yes. Hard sci-fi like Andy Weir's The Martian (or our own Tal M. Klein's The Punch Escrow)? Yes. From alternative history to space opera and beyond, this contest is open to everything we all love in science-fiction.

But if we had to emphasize a particular focus, it would be near-future sci-fi. From The Water Knife to Ready Player One, near-future sci-fi has never been a bigger part of science-fiction—perhaps because the future seems at-hand faster than ever. We see this not only today in the books we read, but the shows and films we watch—from Andrew Niccol's 1997 masterpiece Gattaca to Rian Johnson's Looper and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

We look forward to reading your submissions and seeing the many readers on the Inkshares platform champion them.

- The Inkshares Staff


The rules will be the same as previous contests. We’re looking for the top three science fiction books on Inkshares in terms of unique reader pre-order counts for pre-orders placed between May 16, 2017, and June 27, 2017. The judges may also select additional books based on their own criteria.

All three (or more) books will be published by Inkshares even if they haven’t reached their pre-order goal. One (or more) will be selected by Nerdist to be in their collection on Inkshares, including the opportunity to develop their work into other media such as movies, television, and digital productions.


(for frequently asked questions about Inkshares, please refer to the Inkshares FAQ)

How does the contest work?

Any writer can create a draft project and begin building a following on Inkshares anytime by clicking “submit” above or creating a new project. The contest officially begins on May 16, 2017, and only projects that begin selling pre-orders on or after that date are eligible for the contest. The contest closes on June 27th, 2017.

The top three winners will be based on a combination of unique pre-orders and the judges' selections.

All three projects will receive the same editorial, production, distribution, and marketing support as any Inkshares project, including distribution into independent bookstores as well as Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

What is an “imprint?”

An imprint is a special co-branded and co-marketed partnership on Inkshares. All titles within a collection will receive that collection’s branding and will be discoverable as part of a collection on the Inkshares site. Collection owners can choose to take a percent of royalties in exchange for their promotional effort on behalf of your book. Learn more here.

How do I join a collection?

The owner of a collection decides which Inkshares project they want to include as part of their collection. The author has final say on if they want to be included in a collection.

What if I’m chosen to participate in another Inkshares collection?

You can only be in one collection at a time. If chosen to be another collection in addition to making it into the top three in this contest, you should decide which collection feels most in line with your publishing goals.

What happens to the pre-orders if I don't win the contest or hit my pre-order goal?

Backers are immediately refunded for any project that doesn’t hit its goal. Anyone who pre-ordered will also remain a follower of your project, allowing you to continue updating them on the progress of your book even after your funding period is over.

What if I’ve already published elsewhere but I want to participate?

We recommend investigating the kinds of rights you have wherever you’ve published. If you own the rights or they’re non-exclusive, then you can participate. We offer non-exclusive rights, as detailed here.

What if my book isn’t finished?

While we’ve found that more content helps a book receive more pre-orders, the book doesn’t have to be complete for you to participate. You simply need to build your project page and upload a few chapters to get started.

Should I have my friends and family use multiple accounts, place multiple orders, or trade pre-orders to help me out?

No. As detailed in our Terms of Service: "The purpose of Inkshares is to highlight broad reader interest in specific works. Accordingly, please do not 'game' the system. As an author, don't pre-order your own book or encourage others to order copies of your book through multiple accounts. As a reader or purchaser, don't create multiple accounts so as to order more copies of any title. Do not engage in any scheme or exchange of promises that would lead to the ordering of a book in a manner not reflective of genuine interest in the writing."

We understand that these campaigns can be stressful and everyone wants to do their part to help. In order for Inkshares to stay true to its mission of publishing books that readers truly want, the best way to help is to get out there and tell readers why a book is worth supporting.

I’ve participated in previous contests, either as an author or reader. I’d like to know: how can I help on this one?

We’re delighted you asked! First, there’s a wonderful forum on Inkshares that offers a place to collaborate. The best thing you can do, though, is to explore new projects throughout the length of the contest, offer feedback and reviews on projects that catch your eye, and pre-order and refer the books you love. While many authors won’t hit their goal, there’s still tremendous value in building up a readership and community on Inkshares. You can be an integral part of that.