Kindle Scout - Ravens Peak - Part 3

It's Tuesday and the sixth day of the Kindle Scout running for Raven's Peak, so time to update a bit on the results as the campaign gets into full swing. The first few days were easy and went rather smoothly with the book on hot and trending until Monday Morning.

That's when it slipped back off. I started posting on facebook like crazy and reached out to a lot of people and managed to push it back onto H&T, but now it's getting a lot harder to keep interest generated. 

In any case, I thought I would give a quick rundown about what Kindle Scout is, and then post the results for the first 5 days. Here's the link to my post:

What is Kindle Scout?

Kindle Scout is a reader-powered publishing platform. Amazon used to have a yearly contest where the winners received publishing contracts through Amazon Imprint (their publishing company). You can't submit to Amazon Imprint, they contact you (so I've heard).

Basically, you need a short blurb, a book description, a cover, some social media links, and the book. It has to be really clean so you want to at least do some heavy editing, and you give them the word document.

They look it over, create a page for it, and then send you links for your campaigns. After a couple of days, it goes live and you can start directing people to it to read the blurb. They put about 10% of your book up for people to read, and people can nominate. You can also do things like answering questions about the book, sharing an author biography, and even showing your backlist of novels if you have other titles available on Amazon.

BEFORE YOU DO THIS, however, you need to seriously consider the contract:

Basically, you give them digital rights (for all regions/languages) and audio rights. If they want to, they can publish in all of these regions and languages, but if they choose not to then you get the rights back. You also have print book rights, so you can make hard copies and paperback books.

They pay 50% (instead of 70%) and they set the prices, and they also load it into Kindle Select so it is exclusive to Amazon. For some people, this can be a deal-breaker if you want wide distribution in KOBO, B&E, etc. Another feature is, if you get picked, they pay an advance of 1500. This isn't a lot, but it's better than nothing, and even better than some publishers offer.

Your contract is for 5 years, and they guarantee 25,000 dollars over those 5 years or you can cancel the contract and get your rights back. This is 5 years and the royalties YOU make for THIS book, not how much the book makes in total. However, it can include all different channels, so it isn't 25,000 per channel. There are other ways out of the contract as well, but once you're in, you're in.

What Amazon offers: they might edit it for you (which can be costly) and they might promote it for you. They don't guarantee anything and give themselves the option. Which means you have to work really hard to get the book selected, lose 20% royalties, and you MIGHT get some promotion and editing.

So, is it worth it? I guess that is up to you. A lot of people say: Try a traditional publisher, then try kindle scout, then self-publish. Not many titles loaded onto Kindle Scout get chosen, and even if you don't get picked, it can be a part of your self-publishing marketing plan anyway.

What else do you get?

Which brings me to how Kindle Scout works. You load a book, click the button, they build you a page and set-up a contract, and then it's live. During the 30 day campaign, you promote the book to friends, family, and everyone else you can think of. Your goal is to drive traffic to the page, and hopefully people who see it will like it enough to nominate it.

People who nominate it receive a free copy when it is published if Amazon picks it. If they don't pick it, then those supporters get nothing, but they are still added to a list that nominated your book. The nice thing about this list is that after your campaign when your book is made available, Amazon will email this list on your behalf to tell them the book has been published, where it is available (on Amazon) and send them a link to it. This might generate some sales for you, and can be added publicity.

One thing to note, nominations don't count at all until the campaign ends, so if someone nominates on day 2, then removes their nomination and never re-adds it later, then they didn't technically nominate and won't receive a copy or email.

***Some people nominate books near the end of their campaign in the hopes that they can rack up as many free books as possible. They try to pick the likely winners. You can hope to see these people near the end if your campaign is going well.

How do you promote a Kindle Scout book?

Again, that's totally up to you and how much you're willing to invest time and energy. You can just drop your book onto the site and hope the Kindle Scout crowd really likes it, but you aren't likely to hit hot and trending. People like to nominate books that are already doing well, so you'll want to work hard to make your book as good as possible.

It needs a perfect cover, and it needs to be error free. If nothing else, make the first 10,000 words of your book perfect. People need to read it and say: "I need this book." It also needs a good blurb and description.

Facebook is huge. So is twitter. I schedule about 5-10 daily tweets in advance using the KS link and various wordings and I have a pinned tweet and facebook post. I've also joined a ton of author/publicity groups on twitter and share my post into those groups to put it in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

I also blog about it, but I think you already knew that.

Author communities are also fantastic. Join WriteOn and be a contributing member. I haven't had much success with Wattpad, but that's my fault and not theirs. Then, if you want to join in with a great group of people, join RRBC. I would avoid it, however, if you aren't prepared to promote your friends and put in the effort. If you're just hoping to find people to promote you, then it isn't the right kind of place.

Then, there are other things you can do. Boosted posts on facebook is an option. Also, some sites will promote Kindle Scout (paid services):

  1. AuthorAdNetwork
  2. BooksButterfly (not listed as a service, you need to contact them directly)

When I started the campaign I reached out to a lot of advertising sites I've used in the past to see if they were willing/able to promote KS books. It was more out of curiosity than anything else. Most said they either wouldn't, or didn't have the infrastructure but might do it later (ebookhound), but these two seemed genuinely interested in trying to put something together to reach their audiences. 

It's just an added option, and is best served near the middle of your campaign (when things are stagnating) or the end (to finish strong). You can get some really good traction successfully using twitter and facebook alone.

Tracking and statistics:

The nitty gritty. Amazon gives you access to page views, hours in hot and trending, and not much else. They will tell you how much traffic is coming from people browsing and how much is coming from outside sources.

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These supplied stats can give a sense of how well your outreach plans are going and if/when you need to make a huge push.

These supplied stats can give a sense of how well your outreach plans are going and if/when you need to make a huge push.

For reference, here is the first campaign I ran last year...didn't go so well:

Naturally, that book didn't get picked...

Anyway, I hope all of this helps, and I would love if you were willing to check out my book. If you like it, please nominate! Anything helps!

For more information, check out: