Wondering about trying Kindle Scout, Amazon’s new ebook publishing company? I decided to try it with my upcoming suspense/fantasy novel, Jordan’s Shadow, and I’ll give you my reasons why.
First, a bit about Kindle Scout. Amazon has started their own publishing arm for ebooks and audiobooks, called Kindle Press. You submit your manuscript and cover design and if they accept you into the program, they create a campaign page for you. People can browse available books, read a little about them, read a sample, and if they like a book, they can nominate it for publication. If you get enough nominations, it tells Amazon you have potential readers and a platform, and they’ll take a look at your book more closely. Having a lot of nominations does NOT guarantee they will publish you.
I’ve heard a lot of debate from my author friends as to whether this is a really good opportunity or an evil author trap. After much consideration, I decided to be bold and daring and try Kindle Scout. Here’s why:
- I had this novel and a cover design almost ready to publish when Amazon announced their program.
- Amazon promises that the whole process from the time you submit until you get their publishing decision will be 45 days. Thank you, Amazon! I actually recently turned down a publisher interested in Jordan’s Shadow because they took four months to read my query letter and ask for a proposal! I’ve had publishing companies of late tell me to expect a decision in one to two years! At my age, I just don’t have that kind of time anymore. But 45 days is nothing. If they say no, I can jump right back in there with my indie publishing plan.
- Kindle Press only purchases ebook and audiobook rights (for a limited time). I would still have print rights, film rights, all of that.
- My first release (Summer’s Winter) was a disorganized mess. You’re supposed to do some kind of organized pre-publicity building up to your launch, but it didn’t work out that way. I figure if Amazon says no on Jordan’s Shadow, all the promo I’ve been doing to get nominations for the book will have generated a lot of pre-publication buzz and will help with sales if I do self-publish it.
- Amazon gives you an advance. Actual cash money! Wow!
- It’s kind of a weird, new idea, this Kindle Scout thing, but I’ve tried all the old ways to publish and sell. The publishing world is changing drastically and I’m excited about that. I’m ready to try new things!
- If anyone knows how to market books, it’s Amazon. If anyone can make a new idea work, it’s Amazon.
- Yes, Amazon has had some marketing failures, too, but fortunately I’ll still have my day job. I will still have made some money off the book, and it will still be out there for people to buy.
- I have heard many indie authors say that 90 or 95% of their book sales come through Amazon. I imagine most traditionally published authors these days sell most of their copies through Amazon. How cool would it be to publish with a company that has that kind of selling/marketing power!
- Some have criticized that Amazon doesn’t promise it will do much promotion for Kindle Scout winners. Well, neither do the small presses I’ve been submitting to for decades. Or the large publishing companies either, for that matter. But I figure if Amazon gives me cash and publishes my ebook, it’s in their best interest to at least give me a promo or an ad here and there. And that’s better than I have from them now!
- Someone on Facebook just criticized this program (and I assume me, for being a part of it) as being a popularity contest, not based on merit. Well, of course it is, at least in the beginning. As I said earlier, getting nominations is to show Amazon you have a platform, so Amazon will consider your book–and consider it based on merit at that point. They don’t solely determine publication based on number of nominations.
- Every other publishing program I’m aware of is also based on popularity in some form–not strictly “merit,” whatever that means exactly. Hey, writers out there–how many publishing companies have you submitted to that asked you about your “platform”? Have you ever been told by an editor that your book is absolutely amazing, but that they can’t publish it because it doesn’t “fit” with them and they wouldn’t be able to sell it? In other words, how popular your book might be is more important than how brilliant it is to traditional publishers, too.
My Kindle Scout campaign runs through December 8. (And as of last time I checked, Jordan’s Shadow was in the “hot and trending” category. Yay!) So, I don’t know how it will all turn out. Whether I’ll be accepted. And even if I am, whether I might find there are problems with it I didn’t foresee.
Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted. (And in the meantime, if you want to nominate Jordan’s Shadow and be part of my unashamed popularity contest, I would be very, very grateful!)