Overnight Inkshares sent out an announcement to competitors in The Launchpad Manuscript Competition; they have extended the duration of the crowdfunding competition. Originally, this competition (one part of the overall competition process) was due to finish on 8 November (PST), just four short days away. It will now finish on 16 December — for those keeping track, that changes the duration from approx three weeks to eight. At the time I’m writing this, there has been no public announcement, but I’m assuming it isn’t far off.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about this change. With only days left to the original deadline my position on the leaderboard was looking pretty good. Now, with an additional five weeks of campaigning, it becomes anyone’s game again.
Why have they made this change?
The following should be taken as speculation — I have some insight due to communications the organisers and Inkshares have made to competitors, but I am drawing my own conclusions from them.
The original plan for the crowdfunding portion of the competition was always intended to be longer than three weeks. However, the organisers received many more entries than anticipated (my best estimate is they received more than 3,000 entries). Every single entry had to be read and assessed by the judging panel in order to select the first 75 finalists. It takes a long time to read 3,000 submissions, and as a result the finalists were announced later than intended. In turn, the crowdfunding competition started after the planned commencement date, as they needed to know who the finalists were to know who would be participating in the crowdfunding.
When the crowdfunding competition kicked off, Inkshares announced it would still end on the original finish date of 8 November — effectively reducing the duration of the competition. My assumption is they wanted to do this to keep the crowdfunding component aligned to the broader Launchpad process (the next round of finalists are announced by the judges on 8 November).
They have obviously decided this is no longer tenable. Again, I believe I know why, but this is not confirmed.
Of the 75 first-round finalists, only one (myself) was a pre-existing member of Inkshares. A number of the other finalists have had to learn how to crowdfund a novel on the fly. I can attest that these campaigns are hard work and take a lot of time. Unless you are prepared, it is difficult to pick up steam in a short three-week slot.
I believe Inkshares have decided a longer competition period is necessary to give all the finalists a fair opportunity to market their book and reach out to their networks. I feel they have overcompensated somewhat by extending the period by five weeks (more than doubling the original duration), and am disappointed to have the finish line moved when I was so close, but I feel I understand the driver for their decision. Most importantly, I believe they haves made this decision with the right intentions.
What does this mean?
Human Resources is still in first place in the crowdfunding competition. However, I now need to maintain that position over an additional five weeks. I would like to apologise to those of my friends I pressured to order early based on a three week competition period — I assure you all at the time I believed the competition would end on 8 November. For those who did order early, your contribution has not been wasted — you’ve helped me build some momentum and that has been enormously beneficial.
The other consequence of this announcement is the crowdfunding competition will no longer be in sync with the rest of The Launchpad Competition. Ultimately, this doesn’t make much difference. The winners of the crowdfunding component were always going to be published by Inkshares regardless of the outcome of the professional judging stream.
Please pre-order my dystopian sci-fi novel Human Resources from Inkshares. If you aren’t sure whether you want to, follow the link and read the draft chapters available on the site. If you still aren’t sure after that — reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, or Inkshares and I’d be happy to chat with you.