Congratulations to the Winners!

A story about five kids who must band together to fight alien monsters on a far-away planet in order to save Earth.
Christopher Leone space opera
space opera
space opera

Rules and Overview

Readers, Authors, Space Travelers:

What a journey! After an epic month and a half the Nerdist Space Opera Contest has come to a nail-biting close. This contest put us in the front row of alien gladiatorial matches, took us on a ride in giant slug powered chariots, exposed us to near-misses from alien drunk drivers, and had us imagine a future where humans were barely a memory. It was awesome.

The talent on display in this contest was nothing short of stunning (you think we’d stop being awed by now but we haven’t, and we hope we never will). It testifies to why space operas have such staying power: it’s not just a world the author is building—it’s an entire universe. The depth, complexity, humor, and expansiveness of these stories was a pure joy to read.

So thank you to everyone who submitted. These contests aren’t for the faint of heart. Putting your words out into the world is a tremendous act of bravery and you should feel truly proud. These are stories that we hope live on as legend. We’ll do our part to make it so.

A special thank you to Nerdist and the Nerdist community for their constant support, for their championing of nerds around the known galaxy, and for helping to make aspiring authors’ dreams come true.

With all that said, here are the Official Top 3. These book projects will all receive the full Inkshares publishing treatment and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the Inkshares family.

Champions of the Third Planet, by Christopher Leone

The Madness of Mr. Butler, by Michael Haase

Space Tripping by Patrick Edwards

And the Nerdist pick is in: congratulations to Christopher Leone and his book Champions of the Third Planet, the third official Nerdist book and the grand winner of the Nerdist Space Opera Contest!

The next contest will be the first hosted by Geek & Sundry. Check back here or follow us on Twitter (@inkshares) to learn about the next theme on March 28 in advance of the contest launch on April 4.


The Inkshares Team


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

How does the contest work?

Any writer can launch a project on Inkshares anytime using the “space opera” genre. At 12:00 p.m. PST on March 15th, Inkshares will announce the top three “space opera” projects as determined by the highest unique reader pre-order counts, even if they haven’t hit their funding goal, and will publish all of them. Only projects that launched after February 1, 2016 are eligible. Nerdist will then choose which of the top three they would like to add to their collection. 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 a “collection?”

A “collection” is essentially an imprint run by a third party 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 does it mean if I’m chosen for the Nerdist Collection?

If you make it into the top three of this contest and you accept the Nerdist’s Collection invite, your book will carry the Nerdist logo on the spine and back cover and the Nerdist will help market your book. In exchange for these promotional efforts, Nerdist will receive a percentage of publishing royalties and have an opportunity to co-develop your work into other media such as movies, TV series, and digital productions. Please review Nerdist Collections Terms for more details.

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’s the best way to increase my pre-order count?

We have a crowdfunding guide that may help. We also share stats from other projects. In addition, explore Inkshares credits. Your friends, family, and the broader science fiction/fantasy reader community can earn credits by engaging with and referring your work, allowing them to better support you. Inkshares also has a supportive community of writers always willing to impart advice. For advice from previous winners, check out this blog post.

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.

How do you define “space opera?”

We define it as any adventure that takes place in space. We allow writers to self-define genres when creating their project. The intent of our platform is to democratize the process by which books get traditionally published. We trust our community to back the space opera books they want published. If a title appears to be abusing the democratic spirit of this contest or may raise legal and copyright questions, don’t hesitate to let us know at

What will you do in case of a tie in unique readers?

If two winning projects have the same number of unique readers, we will break the tie by selecting the project with the highest pre-order count.

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.