The Scoop on the Kindle Scout Program

I would like to send a great big HELLO to all of reader-types and writer-types out there in the interwebs.

I have been looking at the KINDLE SCOUT program for some time and ever since they announced that the program would now be open to NON-US residents I have been working very hard at putting together a submission of my own. I intend to have my book submitted to KINDLE SCOUT before the end of October.

SO – as a result I have been talking to people who have any sort of experience with KINDLE SCOUT – especially over at k-boards.

One of the people who has given me an AWFUL lot of helpful advice is Jill Nojack , whose recent novel THE FAMILIAR: A PARANORMAL ROMANTIC COMEDY was released this September through the KINDLE SCOUT program to the great delight of thousands of witchy/cat loving readers!

Over the next few weeks I am going to tell you folks all about my brand new novel, KELPIE DREAMS and I will fill you in on why you ought to consider KINDLE SCOUT for your next e-book submission and more importantly I will tell you all about how you can get yourself a FREE copy of KELPIE DREAMS before it is released.

But for now – let me turn you over to somebody who is a WHOLE lot more expert on how to get accepted by the folks at KINDLE SCOUT.


Dancing With Disruption – One Author’s Experience with Kindle Scout!

by Jill Nojack

Kindle Scout (KS) is a new Amazon publishing program which engages readers as part of the selection process.  It’s not selection by popularity, however. Final choices belong to the Scout editors.

KS is a perfect opportunity for an indie writer to become a hybrid one while still having a lot of input in the book’s production. It is a truly new, potentially disruptive approach, and I’m glad to be part of Amazon’s bold experiment in reader-involved publishing.

My experience as a Kindle Scout winner has been fantastic. As I write this, I am a week past my launch date, and my book has maintained an average daily rank at or above 5500 during that time. I worked hard for that with my own promotional efforts, but I could never have done it on my own. If, like me, you’ve only dreamed of that kind of success at launch, you may want to consider submitting your next book to the program.

I’m not going to lie: the effort to keep my book in the Hot & Trending (H&T ) list over a period of thirty days was extremely taxing, especially since I’m not big on social networking self-promotion. However, I bit the bullet and I managed to run a good campaign. It’s a lot of work to get on the H&T list and even harder to stay there, but it does pay off, even if your book isn’t selected, which I’ll explain further down the page.

First, it’s critical to understand that if you have expectations about the program that Amazon hasn’t explicitly stated, you will definitely be disappointed. Yes, there are authors selected for KS who have been offered publication on Amazon’s premium imprints (Thomas & Mercer, Montlake) instead of Kindle Press. That will not happen for most winners. You will also not get a premium imprint level of promotion. However, every book that is selected will receive promotional benefits. For instance, I discovered yesterday that my book is a Featured New Release in SciFi & Fantasy on Amazon UK.

I took screenshots.

Yes, I sent them to my mom.

🙂

My best advice for people considering submitting to Scout? Pay attention to what Amazon says they will do, because that’s exactly what they’re doing. Don’t fall prey to the conjecture, uninformed contract interpretation, or wishful thinking found in the blogosphere.

With that said, the Scout site itself is the best resource for information about the program. There are also a number of friendly, easy to find winners who would be happy to answer your (reasonable) questions and can provide accurate information. A blogger, podcaster, or forum pundit who didn’t bother to verify his or her assumptions about the program with Amazon before posting them?

Probably not.

Here is a handy list of things you REALLY need to know before you submit your book.

  1. You can access the full agreement here. Read it.

That link leads to the exact document Kindle Scout winners digitally sign. It’s written in user-friendly language. If you don’t know what if means, contact Amazon and ask. You may have to ask a couple times if you end up with a canned response. Just reply and say, “no, I wanted to know about the Kindle Scout contract”. It will get to the right place eventually.

  1. The crowd-sourcing / reader interest aspect of the Kindle Scout program is real and important.

If you are not already a known writer, a strong campaign can get your book noticed by Scout staff. As with all things Amazon, there is most likely a data algorithm behind the scenes of the selection process. As I said earlier, however, final selection is done by human beings.

Then (and this is the amazeballs part), if your book isn’t selected, Amazon will notify everyone who nominated your book that it is available for them to purchase! They can opt out, but they will be notified by default if they don’t.

  1. The program is looking for publication-ready books. Publication. Ready. Books.

If you don’t provide a professional-looking blurb, book cover, author bio, and excerpt, your chance of catching the eye of the readers (and later, the editor) is small. This may not apply to well-known individuals from other fields (columnists, local celebrities with established followings, etc.) or those who have been previously traditionally published. But I still wouldn’t skip it.

Finally? Copy-editing, copy-editing, copy-editing.

Here’s what I have gotten out of being published as a Kindle Scout Winner so far:

  • Reviews during preorder.
  • Mailing list sign ups from my thank you letter because I put my newsletter link in it. I assumed I would lose. I always assume I will lose.
  • “Also boughts” beginning early in preorder from the books given away to Scouts. Those books are considered verified purchases.
  • Being listed on the Kindle Scout merchandising page which is advertised on Scout book pages.
  • Friendly and enthusiastic support for my book and helpful answers to all my pesky questions.
  • The support of my peers in our super-secret clique on Facebook.
  • The certain knowledge that my book will receive Amazon merchandising and promotion without tipping a magic algorithm.
  • Kindle Press books are paid in a “trad pub” format for Kindle Unlimited. After a borrower reads past 10%, you get paid the KS standard 50% royalty based on average sale price for the month. Some may not like this. I think that I do.
  • An advance! It’s only $1,500.00, but nothing says commitment to a book better than a little splash of cash.

What I gave up to be published on Kindle Press:

  • The ability to control my pricing and promotions. Personally, I trust that Amazon knows more about that than I do, and I’m happy to let them take it over.
  • Twenty percent of my royalty (the program pays 50% instead of the 70% it pays self-publishers). I have a self-published series on which I spend 30% of my royalties to make a very small number of sales. I think this is a fair trade for Amazon’s interest in my book.
  • Not formatting the ebook the way I like it. But they did use the images I had created for it so that it looks very close to what I envisioned.

If you found this blog entry useful and or informative – or at the very least if you printed it off and lined your cat box with it – then you could TRULY show your gratitude to Jill’s hard work by picking up a copy of her KINDLE SCOUT winning book!

Just click this cover shot to beam yourself over to Amazon.com to order this e-book. Or paperback, if you wish.

Just click this cover shot to beam yourself over to Amazon.com to order this e-book. Or paperback, if you wish.

The Familiar: A Paranormal Romantic Comedy

Sometimes a cat has to man up.

Tom has been mostly cat for a long time, but when the witch who enslaved him dies, he has one last chance to become a man again and maybe to find love, too. He just needs to tell Cassie, a sensible girl who knows nothing about the witchy business all around her, that he’s trapped in the body of the kitten she cuddles at night. But cats aren’t known for their conversational skills, and a powerful warlock is determined to take Cassie for himself. To make things worse, Tom is rapidly running out of lives.

You can find The Familiar here.

OR – for all of you UK readers you can find The Familiar HERE!

OR – if you are a Canadian reader – (God bless maple syrup and beer) – you can find The Familiar HERE!!!


Lastly – if you enjoyed this blog entry and if you feel you’ve learned something from it – PLEASE take a moment to nominate my own novel A BLURT IN TIME to the Kindle Scout campaign.

Click this banner. Nominate A BLURT IN TIME for the Kindle Scout program. If the book makes it into Kindle Scout you will automatically receive a free Kindle copy of the book.

Click this banner. Nominate A BLURT IN TIME for the Kindle Scout program. If the book makes it into Kindle Scout you will automatically receive a free Kindle copy of the book.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

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3 responses to “The Scoop on the Kindle Scout Program

  1. Pingback: SFFMP 53: Kindle Scout Winner Jill Nojack Talks Marketing and Reasons to Consider Kindle Scout | Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast

  2. Pingback: Updates on the Kindle Scout Program | YOURS IN STORYTELLING...

  3. Pingback: A Look at Amazon: Timeline and Indie Author News | Musings and Marvels

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