My Adventures with Kindle Scout (Part 1)

I’ll admit, I’ve been too busy for blog posts lately. Writing and editing and more editing has kept me working full-time–but with a temporary lull and a new publishing adventure on the horizon, I’ve decided to try to keep a small log regarding this new phenomenon called Kindle Scout.

Apparently, Kindle Scout has been around for about a year and a half now, but I first learned about it during NaNoWriMo last month. Kindle Scout is Amazon’s latest breakthrough in the publishing industry that blends crowdfunding and traditional publishing for a unique approach. Authors submit completed, formatted manuscripts with covers, author bios, etc.–just like they would for publishing directly to Kindle. Readers review the first 5,000 words over a 30-day period and vote for the ones they like, and then a panel of editors examine the books to determine which one they want to pursue–offering a $1500 advance to the authors and a more-or-less flexible contract. It is risky, and I’ve read some negative reviews of it along with the positive. Kindle Scout has attributes of both traditional and self-publishing without necessarily offering the benefits of either. You don’t have the control that you would if you self-published or likely the publicity that you would if a major publishing company fell in love with your book. You’re locked in for five years unless you meet certain requirements, and some people aren’t comfortable with that. But for self-published authors who don’t have a large audience and aren’t making much of a steady income (like me) and who preferably already have a few books available, it might be worth a try.

Coming SoonI finished The Grim Reaper: And Company! a couple months ago. It was a small project that I wrote mostly while procrastinating on Automaton‘s sequel, but in the end I fell in love with it and wanted to get it published. If Kindle Scout doesn’t work out that well, I already have a list of agents I plan to contact to move forward for traditional publishing.

But back to Kindle Scout. I’ve been doing my homework, and after consulting a calendar I decided to wait until after the Christmas rush and after the likely initial flood of NaNoWriMo manuscripts before I submit. I chose Monday, January for as my ideal date for the start of my campaign, and I’m working on promotions now. I know I want to stay in the “Hot and Trending” category for as much time as possible to get attention, but I’m afraid of building too much hype right now because there’s no action that people can take at the moment. The Grim Reaper doesn’t have a website of its own and I’m still in pig-headed denial over the fact that I really need an author website. Voting won’t happen until January. But I do want people to get active right away so that I don’t have to waste any more time on the lower end of the spectrum than needed.

Apparently, Kindle Scout is more than a popularity contest. There are popular books that get rejected instantly, and not-so-popular books that the editors decide they love anyway. Currently there seem to be about 50 books in the system, maybe more–the number changes daily and I think over the next week or so there will be a lot of new ones. I’m working on social media graphics, blurbs and summaries that I hope will get people interested. Do I have what it takes? Either way, it will be good to have experience with the new platform and find out where I stand!

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