Kindle Scout is a relatively new opportunity for indie authors to pitch for what is effectively a publishing deal with Amazon. In some respects, it's similar to a crowdfunding campaign, in that you need to rally your own support in order to succeed against stiff competition, and it's not for the fainthearted. Today US author Cindy Rinama Marsch shares her experience in pitching for a Kindle Scout deal. Although technically unsuccessful in that she didn't score a pubilshing deal at the end, she still had much to gain. Over to Cindy…
In early December 2015, just as I was about to publish independently, I read the informative ALLi Insights: Reaching Readers with Kindle Scout and instead launched into a 30-day Kindle Scout campaign.
Rosette did very well, drawing almost 2400 viewers and enough nominations to keep it “Hot and Trending” for 96% of the time. Many said they were drawn in by the cover, blurb, and excerpt. But in the end Kindle Press declined to publish my book. I launched it myself on KDP Select for a strong first week of sales and reviews.
Why read advice from a Kindle Scout “loser?” I believe Kindle Scout is looking for more genre-specific work than mine, mostly from already-successful authors. But I had an awesome campaign. I’m glad I entered the fray and have profited from it even without being chosen. I have winced to see other Scoutees miss opportunities and want to share three strategies to make the most of your campaign.
How to Make the Most of a Kindle Scout Campaign
First, you must write a solid story, hire high-level editing (even a writing teacher needs an editor), and create a beautiful, professional cover. Some win with mediocre covers, but why risk it? Once you can affirm all, add these things to your checklist:
- Excellent Submission Components
The Kindle Scout entry fields (http://kindlescout.amazon.com/submit) constrain each element – title, tag line, blurb, and bio, plus three interview answers. Make the most of your tag line – mine was, “Why did she edit her wedding-day journal?” Some titles don’t display fully – consider eliminating your subtitle. The blurb displays partially when someone hovers over the cover image, so make sure it entices the reader to click. The bio and interview questions help sell your book with friendliness and professionalism. Proofread!
- Paced Promotion Scoutees agree that we should optimize our visibility opportunities. The first and last few days of campaign you’ll be visible and get nominations from “Recently Added” and “Ending Soon.” In between you want to push into “Hot and Trending.” Every couple of days use Facebook, Twitter, paid advertising, your mailing list, or even just business cards, and study the results. Promo can maintain the 20-50 views a day needed for enough nominations to keep you “H&T.” After my first day’s 400+ views boosted by Facebook friends, my best result in promo came from M.L. Gardner discovering my excerpt and asking to feature my campaign in her 600-reader newsletter, tripling my views over two days (January 4-5 in the image).
- Purposeful, Sincere Networking
And that brings the final tip, most fruitful in my Scout experience: networking. I reached out to other Scoutees with their contact information. Be sure to use those link opportunities in your entry! One generous soul revealed the amazing “Kindle Scout Experiences, Anyone?” thread in the Writers’ Café at KBoards.com with a wealth of information on making the most of a campaign. I made personal connections with established authors to learn from them, and we newcomers commiserated. One fellow Scoutee reviewed my novel as soon as it was published. I look forward to mutual support and promotion through these connections in the future.
A Different Win
So in the end, though I did not win a Kindle Press contract, I gained a lot of experience and knowledge about this publishing game, and I met many new colleagues. Kindle Scout’s promised announcement of my publication brought my sales rank into the top 1% of Kindle Paid books for a few days. All that made it worth it. I’m a winner!
OVER TO YOU If you've applied for Kindle Scout, do you have top tips to share? Whether you won or lost, do you think the reward repaid your effort? We'd love to hear about your experiences.#Authors - thinking of trying #KindleScout? Read these #toptips first! Click To Tweet