Well, I am now in the waiting stages of my Kindle Scout Campaign. I expect to hear back from Kindle Scout – one way or another – by sometime next week or the week after at the very latest. It is a little nerve-wracking but I have always said that writing is nothing more than waiting misspelled – so I will do my best to hang in there however this plays out.
In the meantime I thought that some you folks – those of you who AREN’T tired of hearing me go on and on and on about Kindle Scout – might like to hear from a couple of other authors on how their Kindle Scout campaigns worked out for them.
Let’s look at B.B. Griffith, first.
I was talking to B.B. just yesterday over at kboards – and if you folks AREN’T following kboards by now what the heck are you waiting for?
B.B. posted this article on the kboards Kindle Scout thread. I was so impressed by his carefully thought analysis that I asked him if he had any plans for this entry and if I might be so bold as to reprint it on my blog – along with proper attribution.
This one looks pretty good! It’s got a crow on the cover and I always like crows and besides it is the first in a series and it is FREE – at least for today.
Let’s give a listen to what B.B. Griffith has to tell us, shall we?
As you can see, they were pretty good, but not outstanding by any means. My split was 68% external, 32% internal. There were fifteen days when I logged zero hours in H&T. I had two five day blocks where basically nobody saw my book. Here are my thoughts now that I’m on the other side of the campaign.
1.) Don’t sweat H&T and page views.
I think it’s good to hit at least 1000 page views. I don’t know why that is, but I think it’s a good number to shoot for, it rolls over the counter to the “K”s. Don’t worry too much about hitting 2,000. I also think you should spend some time on H&T outside of the beginning and end of the campaign, but don’t worry about maintaining it constantly. I think KS likes to see that you can run a publicity campaign. I think that how powerful that campaign actually is, whether it reaches 100 people or 500 people, is of less concern to them. Unless you can reach 5000 people. In which case I’m not sure you’d be doing this.
2.) Space out your promo bullets.
I had three bullets in my promo gun. The first was my facebook author page. I sent out a sponsored post to everyone who likes my page (about 350 people). I spent ten bucks to promote it. That was on the 30th and 31st. It bumped me a little, but not a lot. The second bullet was my mailing list. I have about 700 people on that list that I’ve gathered over three years. Nothing crazy, but a good shot. I sent it out on the 6th of February and that kept me H&T for four days or so. Then I fell off again. The last bullet was a promo on my other books. I ran a big promo on some books in my backlist and it pulled people to my website, which had a prominent “VOTE FOR ME” up top. That was on the 20th and got me through the end of the campaign.
3.) Approach the campaign with the attitude that if KS says no, you could turn around the next day and publish your novel on KDP.
I had a cover artist create my cover, and I had a content editor and two copy editors go over my manuscript. I did everything I normally do to self-publish my books. Only instead of hitting “publish” I submitted it to Scout. Even though they say they’ll edit, I think it’s important to give a completely polished copy to them.
4.) Backlist and sales history help a lot.
I don’t sell a ton of books just yet, but I do sell some, and I sell consistently. The Sleepwalkers is my seventh book, and my others have reviews that the Kindle Scout people can look at to see if I know what I’m doing or not. I recognize that this isn’t possible for everyone, and that’s frustrating for a lot of people because I think that whether they meant to or not, the initial impression I got from the Kindle Scout program was that it was primarily for first time writers trying to break through, but now it’s getting manuscripts from all over the place, newbies all the way to NYT Bestsellers.
That said, you can definitely get chosen if you don’t have a backlist, but what you need to do is look like you are going to build a backlist. If you don’t have the sales, look like you’re going to make sales. Put together an online presence. This might entail putting together a simple website, or at least a facebook author page. A twitter account doesn’t hurt, either. KS is looking for great books, yes, but they’re also looking for authors that they can get behind. People that won’t quit. Which brings me to my last point.
5.) Don’t quit.
Writing is hard, and publishing is often harder. Sometimes it seems like there are so many ways to get down about yourself and so few ways to get pumped up, but always remember that the only way you lose is if you stop. It’s all in your court. This is one venue to becoming an author, and I think it’s a pretty good one, but there are others as well. I suggest trying them all and seeing what sticks.
That pretty well sums up life – and writing – in general. Life – and writing – is not about how many times you get knocked down. Life – and writing – is about how many times you get back up.
Now, let’s take a look at how Cindy Rinaman Marsch got knocked down by the failure of her Kindle Scout and how she got right back on her feet and turned it around into an indie publishing victory.
But to do that I am going to have to point you over to the blog of the ALLIANCE OF INDEPENDENT AUTHORS or ALLI for short – on account of it would be poor form to simply just copy and paste that blog article.
All I have to say is kudos for Cindy for turning that defeat into a victory. I know that we are going to hear an awful lot from her in the future.
Lastly, I’d like to post my own final chart of Kindle Scout statistics – not so much as to compare them to undeniably successful B.B. Griffiths who has cleared the bar and is running his victory lap even while I type this sentence – but just in the interest of keeping the record straight.
So here are my big orange bars.
That’s a total of 572 hours on the Hot & Trending list and exactly 1700 views – which is an awful lot.
I can’t wait to see how this is all going to turn out.
Yours in Storytelling,