If you’re not familiar with the Kindle Scout program, it’s a publishing option sponsored by Amazon. Unpublished manuscripts are submitted for consideration and if accepted, the author wages an online campaign for thirty days soliciting nominations (votes in favor of publication). Books receiving good support are rated as the campaign wears on with “Hot and Trending” being the most desirable rating. Should the book ultimately be published by Kindle Press, supporters who nominated it receive a free digital copy.
After observing a few fellow authors participate in Scout, it’s still not clear how the books are selected for a contract. The For more information, I asked two authors, Martin Crosbie and Julie Nicholls, to share a bit about their Kindle Scout experience.
Martin Crosbie’s book, The Dead List, a suspenseful whodunit, was selected for publication by Kindle Press. I’ve read all of Martin’s published works; I’m particularly fond of My Name Is Hardly. A fine author, he graciously (and very promptly!) answered my questions.
Please explain how participating in the Scout program impacted your writing career in a positive or negative way. It’s all been positive. As part of the process I had my trusty editor who I’ve used for my previous four books edit my manuscript. Upon acceptance Kindle Press assigns you an editor to work with. The assigned editor could find zero errors in my manuscript. So, I know I have the right editor (shameless plug for Laurie Boris) working with me.
Additionally I’m networking with authors who are on the same page as I am and I feel as though I’ve reached readers who may not have seen my work.
How does it differ from submitting to other publishers? Kindle Press accepted me. When I first submitted to traditional publishers no one wanted to publish me. That changed after I enjoyed some success with My Temporary Life, my first novel but previously I had over one hundred rejection letters. So, it was really nice to get a “yes”.
What, if anything, would you like to see changed in the Scout process? It all came together for me fairly seamlessly so I’m not sure that I could suggest any changes. The thirty days can make for anxious times but it’s only thirty days. Other submissions to trad houses take far longer.
Will you submit to Scout again? I think so. My royalties for the first year are on track to be higher than they forecast and I haven’t had to market it as much as my other books. There are still things you can do to attract potential readers but pricing is up to Kindle Press, so the book only goes on sale when they reduce it. I’ll submit the second “John Drake” book and I’m considering submitting another book that I should have ready at the beginning of next year.
Thank you, Martin, for sharing your thoughts. Best of luck with your next Kindle Scout submission.
Next post: Kindle Scout–the good, the bad, and the ugly, Part 2