Inkubate Connects Authors with Agents, Publishers

Publishing is going through a shake-up right now as new startups launch with the goal of cutting out the middlemen and reducing the number of people between the author and the reader. Today I found a startup that plans to introduce more middlemen, not remove them.

Interesting, no?

Inkubate is still getting ready to launch, but when it does it’s going to be a forum where authors can meet agents and publishers. It’s going to act as a digital slushpile. Authors can submit a sample of their latest work, and the agents and publishers will be able to search and read the the available samples without having to commit themselves.

Authors will have the opportunity to showcase their best work, and they will be paid each time an agent or publisher reads it (though that’s not the real reason for the site). Authors are also paid each time that publishers want to offer a book deal; Inkubate promises that there will be a bidding war for the privilege but I’m not sure how that’s going to work.

In fact, I’m not sure how Inkubate is supposed to work even as an idea. There is a finite number of agents and publishers, and there is a near infinite supply of wannabe authors. Sorting through the vast numbers of potential writers does not strike me as a problem in need of solving.

Furthermore, I don’t see that Inkubate offers a way to weed out the truly incompetent writers. This means that publishers will have to do it, and does anyone really want to pay for that privilege? Update: I’ve heard back from Inkubate, and I was told this: “We filter content aggressively through our Discovery tools so that the agents and publishers can get directly to content of value.”