Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kindle Scout


My book, Indiscretion, has been on Amazon’s Kindle Scout program for an entire week as of today. It’s been on and off the “Hot and Trending” list, which I guess is natural. This is measured by how many people read the sample and nominate my book during a thirty-day period. I’ve done some promotion, but there’s a fine line between promo and overkill. I try to be cognizant of where that line is. That said, self-promotion has never been an easy fit for me.

So what is Kindle Scout, you ask? This is from the Kindle Scout website:

“Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.”

Bloggers have debated the pros and cons of the program. From my point of view, the answer depends on where you are in the publishing world. I’ve self-published seven books with Amazon. The difference with Kindle Scout, besides the nice advance, unheard of for an indie writer, is the strength of Amazon’s marketing that I wouldn’t get otherwise.

No longer can writers just write. Due to the increased number of indie and hybrid writers and the plethora of free book promotions, we must now be creative to keep our books from falling into obscurity, in contrast to those days when I first started, way back in 2011. We now pay companies to advertise our free or specially priced promotions to their huge reader mailing lists, many times at high costs. The outlay is usually refunded by greater sales. We are social media experts, bloggers, promotional gurus, Pinterest pinners, LinkedIn joiners, Google+ members, and Twitter tweeters. We join groups to support each other and share writing tips and posts about the things we learn on our writing journey.

In order to submit to the program, Amazon Scout insists on a professional cover, editing, and formatting. If my book is chosen by reader nominations and the Amazon Scout Powers-That-Be, it will receive a complete edit.

I created the cover for Indiscretion, but after 25 years as an illustrator, and eight book covers under my belt (one for my alter ego), I have no problem immodestly calling my covers professionally designed. I would have to meet the same criteria if I decided to self-publish, so I’m used to the parameters established by Kindle Scout. From what I’ve tracked, most of the books chosen in the first few groups are doing well.

I tried something new with Indiscretion. I incorporated an actual crime, Boston’s 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, with a fictional story. SO, unwilling to miss an opportunity, here’s my pitch for Indiscretion in 500 characters or less:

“Separated from her controlling husband, romance author Zoe Swan meets a charismatic art history professor on the beach and begins a torrid affair. But who is he really? By the time Zoe finds out, she’s on the run with her husband, his jewel thief brother, and a priceless painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. With the FBI and the murderer in pursuit, the trio heads to Boston. The only way to prove their innocence is to make a deal with the very people who want them dead.”

There’s a sample on the site. If you like what you read and would like to read more (if my book is picked, everyone who nominated it receives an electronic copy), consider clicking “Nominate me.” Sorry for the blatant self-promotion.

Here’s the link.

Thank you kindly if you do.


Polly Iyer is the author of seven novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

25 comments :

  1. Good luck with the program, Polly. I love the cover of your book. And thanks for the information about Kindle Scout.

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    1. Thanks, Maryann. I will keep the group posted.

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    2. Oh, and thanks for the comment on my cover. I rather like this one too.

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  2. A good writing friend had her Kindle Scout book published, and she's been pleased with the results. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks, Terry. We have the same friend. In fact, she's my critique partner. She's a lot better at promoting than I am. A LOT BETTER.

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  3. Sounds like an interesting opportunity. Keep us posted on the progress! Promotion is the hardest part of being a writer no matter how you publish unless your publisher pays for full-page ads in Time and People or other magazines.

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    1. So true, and I hate that part. Like I said, we become more than writers in this day and age, whether self-published or traditionally published, for all but the top tier. It's a hamster wheel, and sometimes you think all you're doing is spinning.

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  4. Good luck, Polly! I nominated your book!

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    1. Thanks, Alan, and congratulations to you for making the cut. Best of luck with Amazon behind you.

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  5. I can't wait to read it! Can you vote more than once?

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    1. I wish. Right now I'm not hot, but I hope I will be later. Thanks, Elaine.

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  6. Kindle Scout, in my opinion, is a good vehicle to help emerging writers gain traction. With that said, it takes a good story and a good idea of what marketing entails. You have both, my friend. I've nominated your book, of course, and I hope everyone who reads your post here will also respond in the same manner.

    ps Your book cover totally rocks. I love how the shadows incorporate the stolen art work!!!

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    1. Thanks, Maggie. Of course I couldn't have written the book without you. You are so strong where I'm weak.

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  7. I immediately noticed your book when I clicked on the Kindle Scout link in the KDP newsletter this week, Polly. The program is intriguing because, in addition to that $1500, you get to opt out of the program if you don't earn $25,000 in a five-year term. That says Amazon is confident in the ability for a chosen book to earn $5000 a year in royalties, which is a whole lot more than I've ever earned from all of my books so far.

    That all goes back to the power of Amazon marketing.

    Thanks for the reminder to read your sample. I hope you are chosen!

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    1. Thanks, Elise. It sounded like a win-win, so I hope I'm chosen too. I hope you like the sample. It's also my first book where my protag is written in first person. Three others are in third, so I'm taking all kinds of chances with this one.

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  8. This may get me to finish up a few more titles that have been languishing. Thanks!

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    1. Go for it, Dani. The way I look at it is we have nothing to lose.

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  9. Wishing you the best of luck, Polly! I’ve been aching to read this one ever since you first mentioned you’d written a book involving the Gardner heist. Of course I nominated Indiscretion. It seems as if Kindle Scout is geared toward writers who already have a track record (in other words, someone to promote to), but who haven’t yet reached best seller status. This is a huge opportunity for serious writers and makes far more sense than the free-for-all Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, which I believe Kindle Scout replaced.

    BTW, I agree, the cover is smashing!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thanks, VR. I know your soon-to-be-published book, Twist of Hate, has to do with a missing Cezanne, so I guess we're both intrigued by art theft stories. Yours sounds much more serious than what I write. I'm looking forward to reading yours as well. I know you will be a success.

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  10. Indiscretion sounds so good. I just nominated it and wish you the best of luck! This sounds like a great program. I will join the other comments about your book cover. It is very nice. Have you or would you consider working on other author's book covers? That would be a wonderful side area, but I'm guessing it would be very time consuming as well. :) I'm rooting for you. Let me your progress. I will be happy to do what I can to help. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca. I appreciate your nomination and your compliments. Creating a cover is much easier when you know the story because you wrote it. I'm not sure I'd want to interpret someone else's story. And finding the photos/art is very time consuming, not something to do on the side. If my book is chosen, I hope you enjoy the story.

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  11. I just nominated you, Polly. When it comes out in print, I'd like to read it. I've been to that museum more than once and loved the Jane Langton book Murder in the Gardner.

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    1. Thanks, Gloria. That's right. You read paper only. I will put it out in paper, maybe if Indiscretion is chosen, the paper copy will be out first. I haven't read Jane Langton's book, but now I'll look it up. I appreciate your dropping by.

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  12. I see the comment I wrote yesterday didn't go through so I'll try again:
    Polly, I love your books. Look forward to reading this one. Of course I nominated Indiscretion.:)

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    1. Thanks so much, Marilyn. I appreciate that. Hope you get a free copy. :-)

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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