A few weeks back, I wrote an article for The Digital Reader outlining my reasons for submitting my crime novel, The Invisible Hand, to the new Kindle Scout program from Amazon. Although the campaign received terrific support, in the end the novel was not selected for a contract.
Does that mean the experience was all for not? Hardly. I learned plenty in the process.
- Solved: The Mystery of the Hot List - One of the most noticeable details lacking from Kindle Scout is a metric to gauge a campaign’s popularity. Yes, there’s a hot list of titles, but it’s refreshed every hour without any indication of how its compiled. Early in my novel’s campaign, I conducted a little experiment. I un-nominated my novel through my personal Amazon account, then re-nominated it. This sent my novel into the hot list for the next hour. What that tells me is the hot list doesn’t gauge which title is in first, second, third, etc. It measures nomination activity in the previous hour. I could be wrong, but that would mean titles with the most noms might not even be on the hot list. Interesting.
- Amazon Keeps You in the Loop, for Better or Worse - It figured all along that Amazon would notify “Scouts” of the titles they nominated that won contracts. After all, there’s a free e-book in it for them. But what I didn’t expect, and came to find out, is they’ll also let Scouts know when a title doesn’t make the cut. Good on Amazon for keeping participants informed of what’s happening.
- Caution: Kindle Scout can Make Rejection Public - Keeping participants informed also means news of the rejection is e-mailed directly to everyone who nominated the title. This public type of rejection might sting a little more than some writers would like. If your fragile ego can’t take that, it’d be best to avoid submitting to Kindle Scout in the first place.
- Even if You Lose, You Win - Although my novel wasn’t picked up, the experience wasn’t a total loss. Throughout its campaign, The Invisible Hand whetted the appetite of readers who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of it. That built interest I can leverage when the novel is eventually published. I picked up Twitter followers, networked with some great people and wrote posts like this one, all while e-book sales of my backlist spiked. That’s good gravy.
Not everyone will have the same experience with Kindle Scout, but I’d say it’s a good thing overall. The writers that did win contracts should do well, and those like me will have benefited anyway. I’m still seeking a publisher for The Invisible Hand, it just won’t be through Kindle Scout.