The Kindle Scout Experience for Writers
Writers are Seeking Readers
I have been writing for many years and have a number of full length manuscripts stored on my disks and hard-drives. Several years ago, I addressed a question to the HubPage community whether placing the books on HubPages would attract a sufficient readership to justify my efforts. (And also how to guide readers to scroll from one chapter to another in this medium). With all respect to HubPages as a great outlet for articles, my fellow Hubbers advised I try e-book production.
New Print on Demand technology empowers writers
Well I wasn’t sure that e-books were for me, until Print on Demand for paperbacks came along. With print on demand, selected companies, such as Create Space or Ingram Spark, will store your book file and it will be printed when a customer orders it from Amazon. Some companies provide this service for “free” (well basically a cut of the royalties and your money when you order author copies). The author does not have to order a minimum of say 3,000 copies, stock them and sell them somehow themselves.
Low cost e-books also empower writers
A matching e-book can be a great idea because Amazon and some other companies are set up to promote e-books. E-books are even cheaper to produce than print books because there are no print or postage costs, so they are suitable say for a giveaway to attract someone to your paperback or your HubPages article.
Consider Kindle Scout for the free publicity
I had designed and developed my first book, Special Pictures to Talk About, in conjunction with my photographer friend and was looking for cost effective ways of promoting my book when I happened to re-visit my Kindle Scout account. Kindle Scout has been out there since about 2014 (which is the best I can determine from their page which is copyright from 2014).
Kindle Scout is an Amazon-related company that recruits new authors. Authors place the first 5,000 words of their manuscript, a blurb, several photos and a cover image on display for 30 days. A very small percentage of authors are offered contracts. The contract is for the e-book rights only (so you can still do what you want with the print book) and lasts 5 years. It is worth $1,500 USD.
I had looked at this and made an account in 2016. At that time, I was somewhat put off by the idea that it was a popularity contest and persons with the most social media contacts were guaranteed winners. Apparently this is not so, and a quality selection process is involved as well.
Already having a book out there, I began to consider Kindle Scout as an advertising tool. Each new campaign links back to the campaigner’s Amazon Author page, hence effectively functioning as an advertisement for previous works.
Remember Amazon / Kindle is the Real Winner
Now let us be clear who actually wins from the Kindle Scout process. Many authors enter their manuscripts, but only a very small percentage are selected.
- A large proportion of authors who enter Kindle Scout campaigns become so committed they publish through Kindle Direct Publishing anyway. This give Kindle / Amazon product to sell and royalties to collect.
- The campaigners are expected to drive traffic to their campaign in the hopes that most clicks = the $1,500 contract. This isn’t true, but turns the campaigner into an Amazon Kindle advocate for 30 days. Well, maybe it is a partnership – both the Kindle site and the campaigner’s book are being viewed.
I don’t hold anything against Kindle for being smart. In fact, I would rather work with a smart company than a dumb one. However, I would encourage all authors to open their eyes and go into the process with a business-like attitude.
Now What Do Writers Get Out of the Kindle Scout Process?
- First and foremost: 30 DAYS FREE PUBLICITY.
- Motivation to edit and polish their manuscripts.
- A more professional attitude develops from knowing eyes are on your work. (This is a psychological benefit, but I found that once the Ms was on display, I could make all those editorial decisions I had wavered about for years. I no longer questioned whether to add this or that, I suddenly KNEW MY MARKET.)
- Motivation to write more. (I knew the 30 days of display and up to 15 days of waiting for feedback afterwards might be stressful, so I started writing another manuscript to occupy the time. In the last 60 days I have written a full length manuscript.)
- Experience designing appealing covers. (This is something the closet writer might never have attempted, or dreamed a publisher would do for them. But when launching a campaign, you need a cover.)
- Writers who self-launch e-books after the campaign closes hope that their page views will translate into sales. (Whether this is effective is so far unproven, but it underlies the motivation to spend money on advertising to gain more page views EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT BEING PAID BY THE CLICK, as we on HubPages may be.)
- Experience writing author biographies, book blurbs and other promotional material required for the campaign.