Kindle Scout…Part 2

In my last post, author Martin Crosbie shared his views with regard to his successful bid to have a book published by Amazon through their Kindle Scout program. Julie Nicholls, whose book was not selected, answered the same questions and gives a different perspective. In the name of transparency, let me state I was editor on her book, and I am very proud of it.

dm-coverJulie is the author of several adult fantasies and romances; Dragon Moon is her first work intended for younger readers. She is also an extremely talented graphic designer and produces amazing book covers.
Please explain how participating in the Scout program impacted your writing career in a positive or negative way.
 I was disappointed with a number of issues regarding my Kindle Scout experience. Obviously I was upset I didn’t get the gig, but other issues bugged me. My book received over 3,000 nominations. I was in “hot n trending” rating for almost the whole thirty days. I’m not saying just because of this I should have been awarded a contract, but I don’t see the point of it otherwise. Knowing an author who received 400 nominations was selected for publication, quantity of internet support seems to have nothing to do with it. When I published my book on my own, I was hoping to receive a few sales from the 3,000 nominations, and for this reason I opted to sell my book at 99c initially, with the idea that the low price would be attractive to the nominators who were hoping to receive it for  free. I paid for advertising and hoped for a good turnout but was greatly disappointed.
How does it differ from submitting to other publishers?
I have never submitted a novel to a publisher previously so I cannot comment, but I do know that the turn around for Kindle Scout is just forty-five days, and I know other publishers take much longer.
What, if anything, would you like to see changed in the Scout process? I think they should scrap the nominations and ‘Hot n Trending’ idea. It gives false hope and from what I’ve seen, serves no purpose.
Will you submit to Scout again? I don’t believe I will.
Many thanks to Julie for sharing her viewpoint. I appreciate her openness and honesty.
My Two Cents’ Worth
As with most endeavors in life, whether or not you get the result you want greatly colors your opinion. That’s just human nature. As an observer, though, I’ve reached some conclusions on Kindle Scout (What a surprise, right? lol)
  • It is true that the forty-five day waiting period is significantly shorter than the vast majority of traditional publishers who typically take anywhere from three to six months to respond to submissions.
  • If your book is not chosen, this is a horribly public way to be rejected. Should a traditional publisher turn you down, only you and the publishing house know unless you choose to blab it to the rest of the world. The biggest problem I see with this is the effect it might have on the people who nominated the book. Because it was rejected, they might think maybe it wasn’t as worthy as first believed.
  • Most authors spend a good deal of time campaigning during the thirty day nomination period. Scout collects the email addresses of those nominating books so the author is unable to capture any of this momentum for the future. I don’t see any way to avoid this; the privacy of those voting should be respected.
  • The free book incentive backfires on the books not selected. If you’ve nominated a novel with the expectation of a free copy but then receive notification you won’t be getting it for free but it is available for purchase, it has a real “bait and switch” feel to it.
  • What IS the point of the nomination process? Many books  have had tremendous support but were not chosen and by the same token, books who had few nominations were. What if the viewers all voted for Joe Blow to win American Idol by a landslide…but the judges said nay, nay, we choose Susie Sunshine. Why ask the masses what they want if it has no impact on your decision.
  • What would I like to see changed? Restructure the process with the goal of selling more books, whether published by Scout or the author. That’s a win-win for both sides. Instead of giving free books to those who nominate them, offer it at an exclusive low price. Allow better, more customizable communication between the author and the voters. Those changes wouldn’t mean a damn, though, if the votes don’t matter. If the nominations play no part in the selection process, then this is all a dog-and-pony show misleading the voters and the authors.

Have an opinion or any information to share about Kindle Scout? Please weigh in! One thing I was not able to confirm was if Scout had published a debut novel and I’d love to know.



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