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Self-publishing Success Story: A Kindle Scout Win For Debut Novelist Jo Ullah

Self-publishing Success Story: A Kindle Scout Win for Debut Novelist Jo Ullah

headshot of Jo Ullah

Debut novelist Jo Ullah shares the success story of her Kindle Scout win

Successful self-publishing isn't only about achieving bestselling status of multiple titles. There is a multitude of smaller success stories that can arise along any indie author's marathon journey, and today debut novelist Jo Ullah shares her success story of how “winning” Kindle Scout has got her new career off to a flying start.


Kindle Scout – a win-win chance for indie authors

cover of The Locksmith by Jo Ullah

Jo Ullah's debut novel, as submitted to Kindle Scout

I recently put my debut novel, The Locksmith, on Kindle Scout. I did this because I saw it as a win-win choice for an indie author.

I had my novel all ready to go – edited, professional cover design and formatted for both eBook and paperback. I had planned to publish at the end of November, in time for Christmas.

Then at a meeting of the Bristol Authors' Alliance, fellow ALLi members were talking about Kindle Scout. I went home and looked up all I could about it.

Because I am a brand-new, never-before-published author, I was worried about how I was going to get my book noticed; how to get those first all-important reviews which encourage other people to buy my book. From what I could see, Kindle Scout could be the answer.

How Kindle Scout Works

My novel would be on their site for 30 days.

  • If at the end of that time I didn’t get selected by KS, then everyone who voted for my book would get a notification when I published it:  free advertising.
  • If I did get selected, everyone who nominated my book got a free pre-publication eBook to read and (hopefully) review.

Those authors whose books are selected receive:

  • $1500 in advance royalties
  • a five-year contract with Kindle Press as their publisher for the ebook
  • 50% royalties on sales

The paperback rights remain with the author. KP have rights to the audio, but most authors ask for and get those back, as currently KP don’t seem to do anything with them.

How to Submit Your Book to Kindle Scout

Visit https://kindlescout.amazon.com for submission guidelines. You will need:

  • an unpublished, properly edited novel of over 50k words
  • a professional-looking cover
  • a short snappy blurb
  • a tagline


KS will direct you how to fill in all the fields. My first loading up of my MS resulted in a horrible looking badly formatted mess, possibly because I had sent them my formatted version. I sent another, pre-formatted version, and they reloaded this – now all looked fine. Because they are in the US and everything is through emails with an 8 hour time difference some patients is required!


Write a bit about yourself and add some links. This is a chance for authors to promote their other books.

Once you've entered your book, the KS team will review it for suitability. That takes about three days.

If your book is accepted, you will receive an email with a link to your campaign so that you can spread the word. I also found a tab to view my campaign.


Sharing Lessons I Learned

As you can see I did not promote myself particularly well through my own channels.


I also found that because I had only put my novel in the category relating to my book (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense), it disappeared from front page view as soon as it was out of  “Recently Added”. People had to scroll through all the other thriller books to find mine. People are lazy and don’t do that, which is reflected in the bottom of the ‘U’ that my book stayed in for most of my 30 day campaign, until it resurfaced to front page with “Ending Soon”.

Next time I would but my book in all the categories I could get away with! 


The aim is to get in Hot & Trending which gives your book the most visibility, as shown in the chart above I only managed this for one day.


Even with my poor efforts at promotion, and the little amount of time when my book was easily visible, I still ended the campaign with over 1800 nominations. This was so many more people and potential readers that I could have reached on my own.

If only 1% of those people read and review my book, I will consider that fantastic.

Casting Vote to Kindle Scout

Despite how many people vote for your book, the decision on whether it is selected is down to the KS team, so I was over the moon when they decided to pick my book.

What Happened Next

Notification of my selection came via email. My book had been edited twice by them, but they were doing a special Christmas promo at the time which included an advisory edit, win or lose. As a UK writer my book was given a full edit with US recommendations on format, spellings and word meanings (UK words that don’t exist in the US).

Whether to accept these is up to the individual author.I did a mix-and-match for some of the words, but accepted most of what they did. I have since reformatted some of my paperback to reflect more UK standards.

I have been paid (whoopee), and my book is now available for pre-order. Some reviews are already coming in (scary!)

By the time the release date comes on 3rd April the whole process will have taken five months.

That maybe too long for some indie authors, and I did find the wait difficult, especially the lack of communication, but I would do it all again for my next book.

I received a Facebook friend request almost immediately on hearing from KS that I had been selected. The friend request was from a KS winners' group which I joined. They are supportive of each other and answer newbie questions, a very helpful lot,just like ALLi.

I would recommend anyone to give it a go. Its free, gets your novel ‘out there’ and can lead to a greater readership.

If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them in the comments here, or if they are confidential, feel free to contact me via my website.

OVER TO YOU Do you have a Kindle Scout success story to share? Or any other kind of self-publishing success story that has given your indie author journey a head start? We'd love to hear about!

How I won at #KindleScout - and why I'd do it all over again - debut novelist @JoUllah shares her #selfpub success story Click To Tweet

Author: Jo Ullah

I grew up in a quite rural location in the boarder lands between Somerset and Dorset with plenty of time for dreaming. As I was unable to read books because of dyslexia, my mother read to me until I was ten. She had a strong taste for horror and mystery, with a naturally spooky mind excited by all things supernatural. These things I gladly inherited and transfer into my writing and sometimes my artwork too. Find out more about my work at my website: www.joullah.com.


This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. This has been really interesting Jo, as I’d looked at Kindle Scout, but had the impression that it was only open to authors in the US – clearly I was wrong. Well done on being selected and it is, if anything encouraging that it wasn’t just popular vote that it was based on, because as we all know that can be manipulated by those with some kind of big following.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I’ve seen several Kindle Scout promotions but hadn’t figured out how it actually worked. Question – does the KS team use the rankings to narrow down what they look at?

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