ASP 32: How to Get Published on Kindle Scout with Rachelle Christensen
Quote of the Day:
“When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.”
– Philip Roth
Rachelle is the award-winning author of 10 books, including The Soldier’s Bride (a Kindle Scout Selection). She is a stay-at-home mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and romance from a little farm in Idaho, where she lives with her husband and family. In between raising kids and chickens, she carves out time to write daily, and studies marketing strategies. Rachelle graduated from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music.
Can you tell us about how you got started writing?
Ten years ago, after I graduated from college, I went to my first writer’s conference. The experience was an eye-opener. I realized, in a good way, that I knew nothing. I then went on to learn more about writing, networking, and other things that helped me in the industry.
What exactly is Kindle Scout?
Kindle Scout is American Idol for Books. It’s a new publishing platform that Amazon is pushing as a “reader-powered” publisher.
Who can submit to Kindle Scout?
Anybody can submit their unpublished book for a Kindle Scout campaign, but they have to have a cover. These books are displayed on the Kindle Scout page, and submission is free of charge.
Anybody with an Amazon account can then nominate or vote for books, three at a time.
If Kindle Scout’s editorial team chooses your book, then every person who voted for that book gets a free e-copy before its release date. Amazon specifically asks them to leave a review for the book.
Is it available for both fiction and non-fiction writers?
Right now, it’s only open for fiction authors under five categories:
- Literature & Fiction
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Teen & Young Adult
Why did you decide to give it a try?
I heard about it through the Amazon newsletter, and it piqued my interest. A couple of my author friends tried it and did very well, and Amazon ended up including one of their books in Kindle Worlds.
I had a book that was ready to go, The Soldier’s Bride. It had already been professionally edited, so I decided to give Kindle Scout a try. I was going to self-publish it anyway.
Tell us about the process.
Each Kindle Scout campaign lasts 30 days. Within 45 days, you find out if your book makes it and will be published by Kindle Press.
You submit your book and they do a quick content search to see if it’s acceptable for their platform. You have 30 days to get as much interest for your book as possible.
You can see on the Kindle Scout page if your book has an orange flag, meaning you’re on the “Hot and Trending” list. Every author has their own Kindle Scout stats page where it shows how many hours your book was on the “Hot and Trending” list and how many page views your book excerpt received. They also show you where your campaign is coming from.
Do you think it’s more difficult for new authors to win in Kindle Scout?
Kindle Scout is a contest, but it’s also a traditional publishing process. A book may have a lot of nominations or votes, but the Amazon team will still have the final say. They will analyze what’s selling right now, or if your book is of high enough quality. But it definitely helps that you’re noticed.
Did your cover make a difference?
Yes. You have to have two things before submitting: a good cover and a well-edited book.
Benefits of getting a Kindle Scout contract:
(1) The contract is beautifully simple: Kindle Press Submission & Publishing Agreement
- You get a $1,500 advance.
- You get 50% e-book royalty.
- You get to keep the print rights.
- You get a five-year renewable contract.
- If you don’t make X money within a certain timeframe, you can get your rights back.
(2) You have a built-in audience.
(3) You can write a thank-you note that will go out to all the people who voted for your book, whether you win or not. In my thank-you note, I included a link to sign up for my newsletter.
Benefit of submitting to Kindle Scout and not getting selected:
An acquaintance of mine whose book didn’t get selected still published his book on Amazon. Amazon then sent out another email (to those who voted on his book) announcing that his book was now available. The email also included a link.
Does the manuscript have to be ready to publish in order to enter?
Yes, it does. It does not have to be typeset, but it has to have a cover and should be edited. They also require you to submit a Microsoft Word doc.
My book went through my beta readers, a critique group, and a professional editor before I submitted it to Kindle Scout.
Tips for authors interested in Kindle Scout:
If you’re serious about Kindle Scout, take some time to study it. Pay attention to what’s “Hot and Trending,” check out the blurbs and covers, and find out what gets picked. Also check the authors’ social media links and see what they’re doing. Find out what’s working for them.
Any reason not to try Kindle Scout?
If your book has obscene content, it’s not allowed.
Also, if you don’t have the confidence to withstand a very public process, you might want to avoid it. For example, authors are used to getting rejections to their books in private, but in Kindle Scout, EVERYONE who nominated your book will know via email message from Amazon if it wasn’t chosen.
But I think there are enough benefits to put yourself out there. Some people have received contracts on their second or third try, etc.
Rachelle’s website: RachelleChristensen.com
Rachelle’s newsletter signup for Free Kindle Scout Guide: 10 Tips to Win a Kindle Scout Publishing Deal
The Soldier’s Bride will be available for preorder on Monday, Feb 29th, with a release date of March 15th. I can send the link over Monday. Check out Rachelle’s Amazon Author Page for a complete listing of her books.
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