Kindle Scout Services List
Here is a list of all of the various promotional options I've compiled over running all of my campaigns, and hopefully some of them will come in handy for you (or at least the ones that you end up using).
If there is one blog post of mine that you are going to read to find out everything you want to know about promoting your kindle scout campaign, then this is the one. However, if you're interested in finding out a lot about each of these programs and how the worked out for me, then you might want to go through the blog posts and my guidebook to figure out what will work best for you.
Want to know more about the Kindle Scout program in general? Check out the bottom of this post for some more information!
So, without further ado, here is the list!
- Best Indie Press
- Online Book Club
- Author Shout
- Melanie Rockett
- Just Kindle Books
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Amazon Giveaway
Not Recommended (Paid)
On the Fence (Paid)
- Books Butterfly
- Scout Boost
- Twitter Ads
- StumbleUpon Ads
- Gleam Giveaway
- Bing Ads
- Book trailer
- Pinterest Ads
- Reddit Ads
Not Recommended (Free)
Best Indie Press (Recommended/Expensive/High Value)
This one was new for me, and up front I didn't really think it would be ideal. For one thing, It is incredibly expensive ($250, though you can get $50 off with coupon code 'LC50' when you sign up).
However, one thing they do is direct traffic to both your campaign page and a facebook post to get signups, and I've gotten a fairly large number of people to view my book trailer and like my page on facebook from their service. All told, the cost per click came to about 15-20 cents per click (counting the facebook clicks) so it isn't cheap, but I would definitely consider them to be high value clicks and on the days my campaign ran I saw a noticeable uptick in all sorts of web traffic. You can check it out here.
Jessica has been incredible to work with throughout the campaign. She is professional and transparent, which are two of the most important traits when working with promotional companies. She is really smart about how Kindle Scout campaigns work and trickles the nomination in over several days. She wants you to think of her service as a triple threat:
- Kindle Scout Nominations
- Facebook Fans/Likes
- Newsletter List Building
I would certainly agree that her service covers these three areas, and I managed to get quite a few of each out of it!
I recommend this one, but considering the high cost of it (even with the coupon code) it is one of the pricier options. Still, considering the cost per click is low and they are high value clicks, this is definitely one I would suggest for people wanting to make a serious impact to their campaign over several days.
Online Book Club (Recommended/Expensive)
I've used OBC for a while now and I've had really good luck with their services. The only initial problem is that they are incredibly expensive. This ad ran over one day and generated a trackable external click load of over 600 (and It ended up being my second highest campaign day altogether). That being said, the clicks were fairly expensive, but what you get in addition to clicks is targeted advertising across a lot of platforms.
For example, they share on twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram, linkedin, and other places to drive clicks to your campaign, and it ends up generating a lot of action. They also have a built in giveaway that people can sign up for and you can share.
The only big thing about this company: they will not feature books that either haven't been reviewed by them and received a positive review or from an author they have previously vetted.
Basically, what this means is that if you want to work with them to promote a kindle scout entry, you have to first prove you aren't writing books full of typos, errors, and mistakes. You'll have to submit for a review and work up from there, so building a relationship will take time (all good things do). I wrote another blog post reviewing the company here that you should check out to decide if they will be worth adding to your outreach efforts.
Author Shout (Recommended/Cheap)
This site builds a landing page for your campaign and then drives traffic to it using links. I discussed it in quite a bit more depth in an earlier blog post from my The Everett Exorcism campaign, and I was please with how well they performed. They drove a fair number of traffic to my campaign, and it trickles in instead of all at once which makes it the perfect supplementary Kindle Scout promotion. Definitely make sure to sign up early in the campaign because it is designed to run all 30 days! Check it out here!
Melanie Rockett (Recommended/Mid Range)
This one was new for me as well with my most recent campaign, and like the previous resource Author Shout it makes a perfect supplement. Melanie does a good job building some custom links and shares throughout the campaign to quite a few followers, and it serves to keep a steady trickle of nominations. She also worked extremely fast, which was another plus, and has multiple tiered packages. You can find her on Fiverr, and I would recommend getting the 30 day package (the 15 day seems sort of pointless in the grand scheme of things). Check out her offerings here.
I can easily recommend her service because of how professional she was, but there are cheaper options out there if you aren't interested in spending a lot of money on your campaign. The twitter sharing images she made for me were clean and professional, which was another plus in her favor.
Just Kindle Books (Recommended/Cheap)
This is a fairly well established site with a decent following, and they offer a direct Kindle Scout promotion for only about thirty dollars. Quick responses and a lot of professionalism, and they have a coupon code (PAIDAUTHOR) which might get you $5 dollars off. Check that one out here.
I like using this company in general since they are so professional, so it is easy to recommend using them for your campaign. It will get you a decent boost plus some trickle in nominations, so probably best toward the slow middle of your campaign.
This one was from a friend of mine named Jaxon Reed and he blasts out to his newsletter on your behalf. Super cheap with some solid results. Check it out here.
I would definitely say this one is worthwhile considering how cheap it is and since it funnels in some decent results. Check this one out for sure and decide for yourself if it is worth the newsletter promotion.
Google Ads (Recommended/Cheap/Difficult)
This ad program is one of the most powerful ones out there. It also gets pretty expensive if you aren't careful, because it links out to billions of people and constant clicks per day. If you want to go down this road, it's going to take a lot of experimentation to learn how it works. The most important thing is to bid small, start with low daily campaign amounts, and gradually ramp up to higher bids and spend.
The only big problem I would say with google is that it takes so much time to learn the interface, but to be honest it might be worth spending that time early on in your career. It'll take months to get good at using Google Ads, but when you learn how to do it, it will make a huge difference in your marketing power.
Facebook Ads (Recommended/Cheap/Difficult)
They have done a lot of work with this platform to make it more user friendly. There are boosted posts and ads, and I would recommend staying away from boosted posts. They count 'reach' and 'success' differently and will make it look like your post worked really well when it might have performed poorly. However, facebook is also an incredibly powerful platform with some of the strongest clicks. Be sure to hone your targeting and track your relevance score because the better your ad is performing, the cheaper it will be.
Facebook is a staple of Indie Author promotion, but it is also honed for specific genres. If you match those genres, then you're going to do really well, but there is a chance your audience simply doesn't respond to facebook, and that it fine. If you aren't seeing any traction, then don't waste time trying to force this one to work.
Amazon Giveaway (Recommended/Cheap)
This was something new I tried out: basically, you run an Amazon giveaway by picking a product, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and then creating a giveaway. You can enter any information you want, giveaway whatever you want, but there is a really nifty feature that Amazon doesn't really bring up a lot: if you link to an Amazon website, then the link is active.
It is useless for linking to your own website, but Kindle Scout falls under the blanket of websites that will be clickable links. Basically, what I did was set up a giveaway (using Amazon follow as an entry option) and then in the welcome message and the win/lose messages I added a link and call to action to check out my Kindle Scout campaign. I got quite a few clicks (a dozen or so) out of it, and considering they were also following on Amazon it was a double win. The interface is clean and easy to set up, so this is a great place to check out for a little boost and reward for fans!
I've had some really good luck and a lot of fun using Amazon Giveaways, and since you can give away paperback versions of your books it is a great way to get some extra promotional copies out into the world! If you give away eBooks, however, please note that you cannot get your money back in a refund, only as additional eBooks for a new giveaway.
Author Ad Network (Not Recommended/Expensive)
I ran this ad one time, and never again. It was incredibly expensive and completely not worth it. I could hardly believe it performed so poorly considering the price, but it was in the range of 100 clicks and came out to around a dollar per click.
They are certainly in the business of making money off of authors with a lot of flash but don't have the marketing muscle to back it up. I won't even link to it, so you'll have to jump back on google if you want to find it.
If someone has had good luck using this company, then please let me know. For now, however, I haven't met anyone who actively recommends them.
Goodreads Ads (Not Recommended/Expensive)
I only don't recommend this one because it isn't worth spending time on. All in all, it isn't terrible and they are high value clicks, but my daily impressions were so low while bidding $1.20 per click that it just wasn't worth the effort. You have to load money in advance, and the clicks cost so much that it is a double negative: you'll spend a fortune per click and still take forever to get them. Just not worth it.
That being said, if you want to play around with some money and aren't interested in trying to get fast clicks, it can get you some traction on the goodreads website just through impressions and slow clicks over time. Keep in mind that the people who are clicked are incredibly high value targets since they are often regular readers.
BookBub Ads (Not Recommended/Expensive)
I would recommend this one because of how valuable the clicks can be, but again they are extremely expensive. For example, on Reddit you can get 1,000 impressions for about 40 cents, whereas on BookBub that would cost about $4 dollars. So, 10x as many impressions, which would make it nearly impossible for BookBub to compete.
On top of that, you have to get invited into the program to be able to run ads at all, which is a huge negative in my opinion. In general, I just can't recommend it when there are options out there with considerably cheaper clicks. Still, it might be worth requesting an invite to the program and playing around with it, because outside of Kindle Scout it can still be incredibly valuable.
I just can't recommend this one, though, for use in a Kindle Scout campaign.
Books Butterfly (On the Fence/Expensive)
I used to recommend this one, and in some cases it is good, but it is just too hit-and-miss for me to want to stand firmly by it. You can run the free promotion (gold level is $100) and get a fair number of nominations out of it, but the problem is inconsistency.
I've run it and gotten a huge burst (900+) of clicks that result in page views on your Kindle Scout campaign, and then on another day you might only get 100 people clicking through to your campaign and it ends up registering low pageviews through Amazon. They can't control the response of readers who you are reaching out to (nor the quality of your product) so this is just a risk of doing business.
I have personally never had any problems working with Books Butterfly in the past and had positive interactions, but I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that some people have reported negative stories in their interactions with the company (one in particular when an author requested more information and was informed that they didn't need his business).
Definitely worth checking out if you want to hit a mid-campaign boost, but use at your own risk. You can find it here.
If they were more consistent in their results, I would definitely recommend them. (Edited for clarity 6/28/17)
Scout Boost (On the Fence/Expensive)
This one barely (BARELY!) made it out of the not-recommended section, because it is expensive and just performed so-so. You can use a coupon code (25%-OFF-NOW) which makes it almost worthwhile, but the results were incredibly mediocre. The thing is, I could have spent that money going deeper into ad platforms and gotten as good, if not better, results out of it.
For me, it wasn't necessarily a waste of money, but it fell in the category of things I didn't expect to do very well that actually ended up doing worse than my lowest expectations. I just can't recommend it.
Use it at your own risk here.
Twitter Ads (On the Fence/Expensive/Difficult)
A lot of people hate twitter ads, and sometimes I can really see why. They can be incredibly useless clicks, and if you aren't careful they can quickly balloon your costs. If you run a twitter ad, make sure you use cards, have good ad content (do not spam hashtags in ads) and run with incredibly low bids. What sort of annoys me is: they recommend I bid about $2 per click, but when I say 'nope' and bid .07 cents, I still end up spending my entire budget.
That means that they would gladly charge me over twenty times the minimum price of a click if I'm willing to pay it. That's the biggest reason I won't strongly recommend them, because you have to pay more attention than most other places.
That being said, they can still get you a flood of fairly cheap clicks if you use them correctly, and sometimes they can translate through to decently valuable traffic.
StumbleUpon Ads (On the Fence/Expensive/Easy)
Very easy to use beginner platform, but it doesn't register pageviews quite how I would like. The problem is, they use embedded forms to bring a webpage INTO their webpage, so you stay on stumbleupon but you are fed content from outside.
To be honest, it is a little too clever for its own good, because the source website isn't tracking credit quite how it should, and a LOT of websites (Amazon, for example) add code that stops this sort of embedding from happening. It's a tool used by a lot of hackers and bad actors to steal data or passwords, so that sort of limits the functionality of this website. Still, it is nifty and you can get fairly cheap clicks (plus, they 'reward' you for running ads) so it isn't too bad. Also, the fact that it is clean and easy to use is a huge benefit for beginners.
So, if you are new to social media ads, this might be a decent place to start out just to get your feet wet, but you'll pretty quickly advance beyond what they are capable of offering.
Pinterest Ads (On the Fence/Expensive/Slow)
You have to be careful and make sure to bid low here, which also means results will come slowly. It isn't a bad place to play around with some money and has a pretty huge audience, you just can't use it as a staple platform.
The benefit of this one, like instagram, is that it is a strongly visual advertising website, so if you have a good book cover you want to showcase then this can help you drive traffic using it.
I can't recommend it, though, because it is too easy to waste a lot of money very quickly.
Reddit Ads (On the Fence/Expensive/Overpay)
As mentioned above, you pay by impression and can get quite a few fairly cheap. Then, it just comes down to luck of the draw. The problem is, even though you get impressions cheaply you have to pay a fair amount daily as a requirement, and when you say "spend $5 dollars" they often spend $6 or $7.
Not a terrible place for clicks, but be careful. Also, another thing to note: reddit has some pretty ugly corners to it, and you might need to be careful about limiting certain subreddits so that they don't get your ad.
I would recommend if they didn't force you to overpay on a daily basis and you could trickle clicks a little easier.
Gleam Giveaway (On the Fence/Time Consuming)
This can get expensive, but it has powerful clickthrough if you make your campaign visit a required action. Giving away bigger prizes draws way more people, and you can customize to also get shares of the giveaway, following on social media, or visiting other places on your website for additional entries. Gleam is fun to play around with, people love winning stuff, so it is a win-win. That being said, this can quickly become a very expensive option.
I've had some amazing luck using gleam for some pretty big giveaways and they can really help build an audience. Might be worth checking out if you're interested in doing a lot of social media promotions all at once, and since you can run it during the entire 30 day campaign it can really help trickle in votes.
I would recommend this one strongly if it wasn't so time consuming to set up, operate, and then expensive when rewarding prizes.
Bing Ads (On the Fence/Expensive)
Just like google with a much smaller audience and payment required up front. Also, clicks are going to default to more expensive, which is a negative. Still, it isn't terrible and if you like google this is very similar.
I would honestly say, just use google. If you are a google master, then this one might be worth supplementing your other efforts, but all in all it just isn't really worth it.
Book Trailer (On the Fence/Fun/Expensive)
This can be a lot of fun (and I talk a lot about this option here) but it doesn't directly get your clicks. Sure, there are some cool parts attached to it, but all in all I would say there are better places to spend your money. However, if you don't make it Kindle Scout campaign centric, then you can always re-use it for promotions months and years down the line. In the mentioned post you can find some information about how I made my trailer.
I enjoyed making the trailer and seeing it in action, it just isn't really driving a lot of traffic the way some other efforts are, and since making a good one can get fairly expensive it was more for me than for the campaign.
Handouts (On the Fence/Time Consuming)
I printed off some handouts and passed them out, but this takes a lot of effort and time to leave them at places and drive around. If you're looking for an interpersonal campaign, then this is perfect, but for me it is easier to do most of my work online in my spare time (I don't have hours to spare driving around to bookstores and libraries).
If you do go this route, uprinting is pretty cheap for making handouts (bookmarks, in my case) and I made them open ended so that after my campaign ends I can just direct the traffic to a new promotion. It just spares me from having to worry about not getting them out fast enough.
This can do a lot of good outside of a kindle scout campaign, however, so it is worth keeping in mind for your future efforts.
This is a great platform for building up shares on social media. Basically, you sign up for an account and then build a campaign. Fill in some details, run it through a vetting process, and then voila it is ready to go. How it works: on the day/hour you pick everyone who signs up will send out the exact same tweet/facebook message/linkedIn post/tumblr share.
It also tracks how much 'reach' your team of supporters have (and it is cool to see that 1,000,000 plus people are going to get your post). However, keep in mind one HUGE detail: they are posting it, not retweeting, so if you put a message that says: "Check out my new Kindle Scout entry..." then THEY are posting that message as if it is THEIRS. The trick is to write things in the third person: "Nominate this Kindle Scout entry and get a free copy...".
I won't support campaigns anymore that personalize the message because then I get confused readers wondering if I have a new campaign or a new book coming out. It is just bad practice. A couple of links you'll need: headtalker and then a facebook group that trades support. Join the group and then share/post and cross-promote!
Share Social Media (Recommended/Free)
Do this, but don't overdo it. Don't spam people or hit them too hard with hourly posts. I've heard of authors sending out newsletters every couple of hours (a huge no-no) and people scheduling twitter posts for ten times a day. Don't overdo it. Invite people to your stuff, keep up a new post every couple of days, but also post about other stuff (what you're working on next, things you think are interesting). Share with your fans, don't deluge them, and social media can be a hugely beneficial way to get nominations.
Goodreads Groups (Recommended/Free)
Join groups, meet people, and find places where they invite authors to promote. Leave links to your campaign, and people will click them. This generally gets me a handful of clicks over the life of a campaign, so I can certainly recommend this. There are a lot of things I don't like about Goodreads, but it is a solid community of readers and as long as you aren't spammy and overbearing you can find places that are receptive to your message.
I would recommend joining groups and trying to be active outside of the kindle scout campaigns. People don't like drive by authors (the ones who post promotional stuff but never actually communicate like a real human being) but they respond really well to participants.
Thank You Note (Recommended/Free)
This is less of an actual promotional method to drive links to your campaign, but rather a way to get nominators to funnel into your newsletter after the campaign is over with.
Basically, I sent in:
THANK YOU! When you read this, you'll already know whether or not The Everett Exorcism has been selected by Kindle. If it was selected then you'll get a free e-book copy directly from Kindle. However, even if it hasn't been selected, I would like to give you a copy anyway. To do that, though, you'll need to give me your email address so I can tell you when the book is available for free on Kindle. Click here to give me that information: http://bit.ly/teefree Thank you so much for your support!
This note now offers a direct copy of the book whether or not it is picked, and that will hopefully get signups either way after the campaign ends. It'll also help with early reviews if the book isn't picked, so it is a win/win for me and makes it easier to want to spend money to generate traffic (sort of a self-selected process of getting newsletter subscribers).
If you didn't do this before making your campaign, a quick email to Kindle Scout to adjust the campaign will get it fixed for you in only a couple of days!
If you don't have a newsletter, check out mailerlite. Free for 1,000 subscribers and then it is fairly cheap thereafter, and if you also sign up for a paid instafreebie account, you get 30% off mailerlite! They go perfectly together!
If you aren't on Kboards, then that is the first thing you need to do. Signup and jump in. It's a very active forum with some incredible information available from the savvy authors who chat there. There is also a dedicated thread over there just for Kindle Scout campaigns.
You can share your link, nominate some campaigns, and when your campaign is about to end you'll bump up the list to receive nominations from the other board members. The benefit of this is people can nominate and support, but the thread is centralized around promoting campaigns and talking shop, not just 'nominate me...no nominate ME' posts.
This is a no-brainer and highly recommended. Join this group, start posting, start interacting, and you will learn so much that it's going to change your world!
Thunderclap (Not Recommended/Free)
This is just like headtalker, except the minimum required is for 100 people to sign up. I would recommend it, except there is plain and simply a better option out there already. If you are considering using this, then just use Headtalker instead.
Just don't bother with this one unless you are a glutton for punishment.
What is Kindle Scout?
Amazon used to have an annual competition to publish books where anyone could enter and then a select number of people won contracts. That was great, but then Amazon decided that it would be better to create a reader powered publishing system that was ongoing rather than annual. The idea is, people can vote on books they like over a 30 day period, and then the editors will pick books to publish under the Kindle Press Imprint.
What you need:
- A 50,000+ word completed (edited) book
- A cover
- A blurb
- A tagline
You submit this to them, they create a campaign page, and for 30 days people can look at your page and nominate your book. You get daily stats about how many people are looking at your book, but you can't see how many actually nominate. You can also see time spent on the Hot & Trending list, which showcases the top twenty books being nominated at that current time.
If you win, you get:
- A $1,500 advance
- Targeted Amazon marketing (very powerful)
- You keep paperback rights
- Easy rights reversion if your book doesn't take off
And quite a few authors have sold 10,000 plus copies in their first year after getting selected by this program. The thing is, Amazon only accepts about 1-3% of the books submitted through this system, so it is important to find ways of floating to the top of the pile. People argue all the time that page views and hot & trending don't matter, but that doesn't seem to be the case, and if anything it matters more than it did when the program was brand new. The competition is tougher and they have already picked over 200 books.
This blog post is designed to help people stand out by finding a way to build your campaign and drive people to your listing. You don't have to spend money, and many people don't, but if you're going to then I want to help you find the best possible avenues to spend that money effectively!
Hopefully some of this information was helpful for you in making up your mind about what to do with your Kindle Scout campaign. I'll keep updating it with new options and add new services as I find them. If I missed any that you want me to test out or mention then link them in the comments below. If/when I run more campaigns I'll make sure to test them out and add them to the list!
Let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree with my assessments and what your experience has been with some of these programs. Also, check out my Kindle Scout Guidebook for more information about the basics of running a campaign and for more tips and tricks not mentioned here!
I also have an indepth look at the Hot & Trending list and how pageviews work in the guidebook, so that might help you understand better how those work.
What comes next?
Now I'm turning to new projects. Will I put more books on Kindle Scout? Most likely. Who knows what the future holds, but keep an eye on my blog (or join my newsletter) to see what is next in my world!