NOTES FROM A TWO-TIME KINDLE SCOUT WINNER

Okay – as promised, here is a short guest blog entry from South Carolina author, Monte Dutton who has won a place in the Kindle Scout line-up not once – but TWICE in a row. The way I see it that demonstrates not only talent AND dedication – but it definitely tells me that Kindle Scout must be doing something right for this South Carolina gent.

Monte was kind enough to allow me to make a guest appearance over on his blog as well. Why don’t you swing on over and give it a read?

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HOW I PICKED UP A KINDLE AND BECAME A SCOUT

By Monte Dutton

            Kindle Scout. Or KindleScout. Everything has to have its own brand nowadays.

I’d never heard of it. I was fishing for a publisher. I had decided not to submit Crazy of Natural Causes to the publisher of my first two novels, The Audacity of Dope (2011) and The Intangibles (2013). I remain appreciative of Neverland Publishing LLC, for its investment in me, but it was time to move on. Rejection notices were piling up.

Thanks to Google, I discovered that Amazon had a KindleScout program that actually paid a modest advance for manuscripts that were selected (which “won”). I submitted Crazy of Natural Causes. I didn’t know what I was doing. The cover I submitted — I had never had to submit a cover before — was a photo of a Kentucky mountain scene that I had taken, with the title and author printed over it.

The opening stage is a 30-day period in which readers choose from the various offerings and nominate the ones they like. I don’t think it’s really all that significant, and that’s because Crazy won and it really didn’t get a huge number of nominations. I brought it to the attention of friends, associates and readers, but it stands to reason that Kindle Publishing isn’t going to take on a project merely because of populist acclaim.

In hindsight, I seem pretty smart.

Kindle Publishing offers many services that I needed. I am my own editor, and while time and experience have honed my skills, no one is really objective enough to be his or her own editor. I write a first draft, and then I pare it down, and then I add a little here and there, and then I edit it one more time to weed out typos, inconsistencies, and extraneous items. I’d say each draft gets progresssively faster.

My editors at Kindle Publishing helped a lot with Crazy of Natural Causes and even more in Forgive Us Our Trespasses, which marks my second success in the program. I’m trying to build my own “brand.” (A part of me deeply regrets the use of that noun.) I’m trying to make my four novels feed off each other. It’s not easy. I wasn’t the first to think of it.

If a publisher has no investment in me, it has no incentive to promote my efforts. The KindleScout program has provided me with services I’ve never had before. Crazy of Natural Causes has not been wildly successful, but it boosted sales of the previous novels, and the selection of Forgive Us Our Trespasses means that someone important at Amazon believes my work can be wildly successful.

Okay. Now let me give you a few paragraphs to convince you that you should read me in general and the soon-to-be-available Forgive Us Our Trespasses in particular.

Denny Frawley is an ambitious solicitor (known as a district attorney in many states) with political ambitions, a cocaine habit, an alcoholic wife, a scheming mistress, and several murderous cops working with him. His two children have been considerably influenced by dear old dad.

Hal Kinley, a lifelong acquaintance of Frawley, is a good cop who has oft been passed over for his goodness. His estranged wife is loving with one of Frawley’s minions. His son has fallen into the clutches of the Frawley twins and their own lawless cabal. Frawley hires Kinley as an associate, mainly just to keep an eye on his old teammate. Kinley becomes determined to bring Frawley down, partly in the name of decency and partly in the name of his son.

My latest yarn includes many other characters, side trips, and burning issues: drugs and sex; black, white, and Latino; law and order; crime and punishment; and, above all else, the corrosive effect of patronage. It’s quite frank. I think teens and young adults would get something out of it, but I also think their parents might not want to let them. This theme seems to run through all my fiction.

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            I hope you’ll take a leap of faith and give my books at least a look and maybe a try. I wrote a good bit of non-fiction in a previous life, and some of those books are available on my Amazon page!

            My fiction writing (mostly short stories, reviews, and essays about writing) is available at www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com. I write non-fiction, most often sports, at www.montedutton.com. I’m on Facebook, and on Twitter, you may choose among @montedutton (general), @wastedpilgrim (irreverent and political), and @hmdutton (literary).

 

 

Don't Give Up

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One response to “NOTES FROM A TWO-TIME KINDLE SCOUT WINNER

  1. Thanks so much for blogging on this. I feel fairly lost in the process as Amazon are deliberately vague about it all. I also don’t really want to beg for votes because it could descend into vanity, and might be confirmation for some that the book isn’t worthy if it still fails after a lengthy campaign.

    I wondered what people thought about hot and trending. How important is it to sustain that? Do we think that Amazon will only review those books that are still ‘hot’ by the end of the month?

    I don’t have the best front cover in the world, but it does incorporate the novel’s themes and motifs, and so just about succeeds for that reason. Possibly a bit dated-looking. It might not be enough — but I like to remember that the cover isn’t the main event. I understand people saying that the cover SHOULD be perfect… but let’s bear in mind that a professional design process at a publishing house is a complicated game, played by marketing experts. I simply didn’t have those resources available, and can say in truth that I never place much stock in a book’s cover. Still, hopefully mine isn’t TERRIBLE and I haven’t hobbled my campaign. I accept both sides of the argument.

    I’m going to post the link in case anyone is interested and can offer any guidance (beyond the now-irreparable stuff)! If you enjoy the sample or are intrigued (it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea), please give it a vote so that I know I haven’t worked on this for nothing. It would mean a lot because writing is a lonely business; but I do love it…

    https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3MQP9LU0F3GGF

    Like

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