Kindle Scout – A New Avenue for Writers?

This is an amazing new program, and Greg has always delivered some great books. All it takes is a click to support his book. THE CHANGELING looks great! Check out this story:

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Kindle Scout – A New Avenue for Writers?
By Greg Faherty

Being a writer is a tough business. You have to deal with rejection, long hours sitting in front of a computer, more rejection, editing, more rejection. Even after a book is accepted for publication, there’s still more editing to do, and then marketing, getting reviews… it’s no wonder so many of us enjoy the occasional cocktail. Six or eight times a day!

And today’s publishing environment doesn’t make things any easier. Traditional publishing? Self publishing? Small press? Big publishers? Submit to agents?

Hold on, I need a drink.

Ever since I started writing, I’ve been published 90% traditionally. The only exceptions were when I got the rights back to some books, and I placed them on Amazon myself. So when I finished my latest novel, a YA sci-fi thriller titled The Changeling, I was ready to begin that familiar submission process. Pick the top 10 publishers looking for that type of book, and send it out. One at a time. Realistically, if you throw in a few rejections (to which I’m no stranger; nobody in this business is, unless you already have a publisher or your name happens to be King, Rowling, Martin, etc.) you’re looking at 1-3 years before you get that publishing contract.

A rather daunting process.

But before I had a chance to begin, a couple of writer friends suggested I give Kindle Scout a try.

For those of you who don’t know, Kindle Scout is a relatively new program run by Amazon. Basically, the reading public serves as the slush pile team. The writer uploads a completed manuscript, synopsis, cover art, and some other info. Readers read an excerpt, and then they have the option to vote for the book if they think it’s interesting enough to finish. Get enough votes, attract the attention of the Amazon editing staff, and you have a chance to earn a publishing contract with Amazon. The benefit to the reader? Each book you vote for, you win a free copy of the ebook if it gets published. The benefit to the writer is an advance, royalties, and Amazon’s marketing machine.

Not too shabby.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Let’s take a look at the process:

The first step is getting the book ready for publication. This process is similar to self-publishing through Kindle. Your manuscript must be polished and ready; professional editing is a must. You need a good synopsis, a 2-line, catchy description, and a short, 1-paragraph summary. You also need a professional book cover; that means either investing some money or doing it yourself, if you have the skills. Amazon is very tough when it comes to covers. Shoddy art almost guarantees you won’t even get accepted to run a campaign.

No one seems to really know what the Scout team bases its acceptance decisions on, but if you make it past this first phase, you’ll get an email in a few days informing you your campaign is a go.

Once you stop celebrating, the second step begins. And this is the hard part.

Each campaign runs for 30 days. Amazon will tell you the launch and end dates. Usually, you have 2-3 days to prepare for the launch. You’ll need it! It’s best to prepare your social media posts, emails, and any other promotional strategies during this time, so you can be ready to go the moment the campaign goes live.

In my case, I lost a few vital hours because my campaign started at midnight. Bad Amazon, bad! So it wasn’t until 6am that I got started sending out the news.

Now, here is a key tip. You need to find a balance between over-promoting and under-promoting. Too little, and no one goes to your page. Too much, and everyone who follows you on social media will get sick of you. Remember, people can remove their votes, so you don’t want to annoy anyone! There are also paid services you can use that will blast your campaign link out all over the place, but beware. Amazon tracks where your page views originate from, and if it’s all paid promotion, they will take that into consideration, because it means people might be voting without actually reading the excerpt.

As I write this, I’m in day 12 of my 30 days, and the statistics on my Scout page show a trend already. When I post in social media (twitter, my own FB page, various reader and writer FB pages), I get 2-3 times the number of views as on days that I don’t. Even so, I’m careful to only post 1x per week on my page, and 1x per week on the various promotional FB pages. I’m saving the daily posts for the final week.

All in all, it’s a rather stressful process, especially if you hate waiting. I liken it to submitting traditionally, but you can see the editor reading your book and you’re trying to gauge their reaction.

There is one advantage, though. Within a week or so after your 30-day campaign ends, you learn if you’ll be offered a contract or not. Unlike traditional publishing, where a book can sit for up to 12 months before the editor even sees it.

The best thing is to practice patience and pour another drink!

For those of you who might be interested in taking a look at my book, here’s a little bit about it.

Struck by lightning, developing new superpowers, and pursued by a power-hungry secret military group that wants to use her as a weapon of mass destruction…it’s so not the 18th birthday that high school senior Chloe Olivetti was hoping for.

This is the summary to THE CHANGELING. If you have a minute, please register for Kindle Scout (it’s free!), read the excerpt, and if you like it, give it a vote. The benefit to you? If it wins, you get a free copy of the book for your Kindle and the book gets published. Plus, you’ll have my ever-lasting gratitude for your support (and maybe another free gift as well!). Here’s the link:

http://tinyurl.com/Changeling-scout

Thanks again!

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