Frequently Asked Questions

An evolving list of questions raised by authors and backers.
Can't find the answer you're looking for? Check out the Inkshares Forum.

Question: What is Inkshares?

We’re a book publisher that has readers, not agents or editors, decide what we publish. We publish any work that successfully hits a pre-order threshold on our platform. By “publish” we mean that we edit, design, print, distribute, and market books. You can find our funded books here.

Question: How does it work?

Our process is simple: authors pitch, readers pre-order, and we publish. Any author can submit a proposal for a book. Once the project goes live, readers support the project by pre-ordering copies of the book. Once the 750 pre-order goal is hit, we start publishing: we assign authors an editor, a designer, and we handle all aspects of printing, distribution, and marketing once the manuscript is finished.

Question: What happens when I hit the 750 pre-order goal?

Once you hit the 750 pre-order goal the publishing process begins! It typically takes us 9-12 months from when you submit your final manuscript to us having your book available in bookstores nationwide. You can read up on the details of our editorial, design, printing, marketing, and distribution processes here.

Question: Why did my pre-orders go down/why are my totals in the pipeline different than those in my dashboard?

Pre-order totals can go down for a few reasons. Orders are being placed and refunded every day, causing the totals to go down and to differ. Additionally, when a credit card is declined, the order is added to the pipeline but does not go through. It can take 3-5 business days for the order to be removed from the pipeline total.

Question: Do the ebooks that come with a hardcover or paperback pre-order count towards my pre-order goal?

No, while the standalone $10 ebook purchases do count towards your goal, ebooks that are free with paperback or hardcover purchases do not count as a standalone pre-order. To break it down: one ebook purchase equals one order towards your goal, and one paperback + free ebook also counts as one order.

Question: How does Inkshares make money?

We only make money when your book sells in the market. We give authors 35% of net receivables, what is left over after deducting production and distribution costs. We do not charge crowdfunding fees like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. For more information, see our Publishing Terms

Question: When do author royalties kick in?

Inkshares pays author royalties of 35% of net receivables for every sale after an author reaches the funding goal. Please see our Publishing Terms for clarification.

Royalties start accumulating after 750 pre-orders are sold. All funds up to this point are applied directly to the cost of production.

Question: Why do I have to upload my passport photo to Stripe to get royalties?

Sometimes our payment provider requires us to gather more information about who we transfer money to. In many ways, it’s like being selected to be "wanded down" when going through airport security - it’s random. If you do not have a passport, a picture of your driver’s license will suffice. For a complete list of requirements, please see the Stripe Identity Verification Page.

Question: Do I need a complete manuscript?

No. The more content you have the more likely readers are to pre-order your work, but a finished manuscript is not necessary.

Question: What are "ideas" and "drafts?"

"Ideas" and "drafts" are steps before launching a pre-order campaign that allow authors to gather feedback and build a following. An author can start with a simple book "idea" to see if readers are interested in learning more. A "draft" allows an author to upload their work, gather feedback, and build a following before starting their pre-order campaign. Many authors choose to stop here. Authors who decide to then launch a pre-order campaign can do so anytime.

Question: I'm not a US citizen. Will you publish my book?

If you live in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden or The United States, we can publish your book.

Additionally, if you live elsewhere but have a bank account in any of these countries, we can publish your book.

Question: I see a lot of Sci-Fi and Fantasy books on Inkshares. Are other genres welcome?

Yes, we welcome all genres! We have had successful campaigns in mystery, thriller/suspense, young adult, historical fiction, children’s books, memoirs, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, and more. The prevalence of sci-fi and fantasy in our community is due in part to the numerous contests that we host throughout the year with our wonderful partners at Sword & Laser, Nerdist, and Geek and Sundry.

Question: What is a "Syndicate"?

A syndicate is a group of people who pool their money together to support a different Inkshares book each month. The advantage of a syndicate is that it allows readers to more passively support Inkshares writers. Syndicate leads do most of the work.

It is inspired by the syndicate structure on AngelList. Members can come in at the "electron" level for $10 per month, or the "atom" level for $20 per month. The syndicate lead then works with members to choose a book to support on the 15th of each month. Orders are then placed on behalf of each member. Electrons receive an ebook. Atoms receive a print-book. This can result in big savings for syndicate members, as often ebooks and print-books are more expensive than $10 and $20, respectively.

Books are delivered when the project funds or publishes, or immediately if the project is already published.

Note, this is very much an experimental feature right now. But click here if you'd like to check out syndicates.


Question: 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. Learn more here.

Question: Why not self-publish?

Self-publishing places the burden of editorial, design, production, distribution, and marketing on the author. For many authors this may be the right choice. For authors who want the services provided by a traditional publisher—including marketing and distribution into physical bookstores—but with higher royalties and direct reader engagement, Inkshares may be an option worth considering.

Question: Can authors pay for your publishing services?

No. Authors on our platform cannot pre-order their own book. At Inkshares, we’re interested in publishing books that have demonstrated reader interest, without any upfront cost to the author. The funds raised through pre-orders only partially subsidize the cost of editorial, design, printing, and marketing. This also ensures we maintain credibility with our distributor and with the media, since all Inkshares books have proven reader interest.

Question: How is this different than Kickstarter or Indiegogo?

Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon provide stand-alone crowdfunding platforms without publishing support. Once an author raises funds on these sites they have to figure out production, distribution, and marketing on their own. With Inkshares, authors can focus on their writing while we handle the logistics of producing, distributing, and marketing your work.

Question: What happens to the money raised if the project doesn't hit its goal?

Readers are immediately refunded if the project doesn't hit its goal and the project reverts into draft mode, keeping all followers.

Question: How does Inkshares distribute and market their books?

We have a partnership with one of the largest distributors in the world, Ingram Publishing Services. Our books are sold at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and at hundreds of independent bookstores. We will print at minimum 1,000 copies through an offset print run.

In terms of marketing, we use social media and email to reach our community of readers in addition to pitching reviews, features, and interviews to traditional and online media outlets. You can see everywhere our books have been covered here.

Question: How does Inkshares handle rights?

Authors maintain the copyright and we have a exclusive right to distribute the work in print and digital. You can read more about this in our publishing terms.

Question: Do authors receive advances?

If they so choose, authors can pull an advance from the monies crowdfunded. When authors set up their project, they can add an advance to the total Inkshares requires to cover the cost of publishing their book.

Question: What is the payment schedule for author royalties through Inkshares?

We issue royalty payments every Friday. You are paid immediately for orders originating on And you’re paid 90 days after orders are placed by book sellers. The 90 day lag exists as all booksellers buy books on a returnable basis, and that period of time is the industry standard to account for the returnable period. Watch a quick video on our analytics dashboard and royalty statements.

Question: Is it free to crowdfund on Inkshares?

Yes. There is no service charge or fee to crowdfund a project on Inkshares. We only make money when your book sells. Start writing today!

Question: I want to create a children’s book. Will Inkshares pay for an Illustrator?

It is author’s responsibility to find their own illustrators. We do facilitate cover design, but only after 750 pre-orders.

Question: Who will design my cover?

If you reach 750 pre-orders, our production partners will design the cover using your input, that of your Marketing Manager, and feedback from our distributor, Ingram Publisher Services.