Amazon’s ‘scouts’

I’m looking into trying one of Amazon’s publishing programs, called Kindle Scout. I was invited to do so, along with every single other author on Kindle: At the bottom on my now flat-lined earnings report, I saw a little line: “Be considered for a publication contract in 45 days or less.” So I clicked the “Learn more” button and was brought to the Kindle Scout site, which I read over with some interest.

I then dashed out a post to the Facebook writers group I belong to see what my fellow scribblers thought, but so far have been getting a collective “Huh?” So I will explain:  The Amazon god has deigned to create a traditional-style publishing house, which gives a (teeny) advance and lots of marketing support to its authors. It’s called Kindle Press, and just like a gatekeeping publisher, not everyone gets accepted. Thought I was done with that crap. But…the marketing push might make it worthwhile, if I were to get in, since marketing is the thing I do least well. However, you don’t apply the way we did in the old days (either through an agent or mailing your cumbersome manuscript in a large manilla  envelope where it sits on someone’s desk for three months before you get a one-sentence form-letter rejection letter); you apply through Kindle Scout.

In Kindle Scout, an editor does indeed review your work of deathless prose, but you also have to gather ‘nominations’ for your book. Some of these might be done for you, through a pool of readers they supposedly have on hand; but others you have to corral yourself. So, yes, again, you’re going with hat in hand to friends and relatives, begging…But you’re not begging them to buy the book, or even read it, or review it, just nominate it for publication. The more nominations the better, though it’s not clear to me how much that plays into the editor’s decision. I mean, if you get a ton of nominations and the book’s a complete piece of trash, will they buy it? (Probably!) If your book is a masterpiece, but doesn’t reach that magic number, are you toast? I did a little drive-by on the big writers’ forums (that I don’t participate in) and it’s a big topic of discussion. It does seem that very few submissions make it to publication. Those whose books don’t make it are quite bitter about the experience. Those whose have seem pleased but unable to give any concrete information about sales or how they’re being marketed.

So that’s that. Shall I offer myself up as the Kindle Scout guinea pig, purely out of love for my writers group members, and see how it works? Need to think about it some more. The process only takes 45 days, so I can’t claim a time issue.  The ‘advance’ at $1500 is laughable, but still more than I usually make in a month or two, or six. I know I’ll be incredibly pissed off and offended if I don’t get accepted, but I think I can handle it—as long as the rejection letter has more than two sentences. Besides, if it is  rejected, then it goes straight to Amazon anyway, with the benefit of some premarket exposure from all the folks you beg to nominate you.  Also not sure how the print book fits in, and I have to have one of those.

I’m hoping any fellow authors who have been through the process will stumble across this post, and give us a rundown on their experiences.  Even at my age, this writing business is still a learning pro

5 thoughts on “Amazon’s ‘scouts’

  1. Interesting, but if they are asking writers to get nominations that’s marketing. So, once again, they want to know how big your warm-market is for their marketing. Doesn’t sound like much help for writers already good at marketing. Just my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The trouble is the recruiting isn’t it Kathy, its another thing to spend time on rather than being able to write. I agree with you marketing your book is the most tedious and difficult bit. I am of the opinion with so many books out there, getting noticed whatever you do is a matter of luck.. 1500 dollars would pay some of your self publishing expenses so ….. Depends how energetic you are feeling. Good luck if you decide to go for it and count me in for a nomination. Sam.x


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