The first ten books from Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform Kindle Scout have gone on sale. Here they are:
- G1 by Rigel Carson – Science Fiction
- A Highland Knight’s Desire by Amy Jarecki – Romance
- Eddie & Sunny by Stacey Cochran – Mystery/Romance
- L.A. Sniper by Steve Gannon – Thriller
- Pit Bulls vs. Aliens by Neal Wooten – Science Fiction
- Royal Date by Sariah Wilson – Romance
- Running from the Past by Alan Orloff – Thriller
- The Game Master by William Bernhardt – Thriller
- The Omega Connection by Allan Leverone – Thriller
- Unpaved Surfaces by Joseph Souza – Mystery
These authors will receive a 5-year renewable publishing deal, a $1,500 advance, a royalty rate of 50 percent, and the option to take back rights to the book if the author does not earn at least $25,000 during the 5-year contract.
What is Kindle Scout? The Kindle Scout platform, launched last October, basically lets readers vote for their favorite unpublished work submitted by the author. It is a smart way for Amazon to use its massive reader base to pick and choose books that have a good chance of success in the marketplace.
How does Kindle Scout work? Readers gets a preview–an excerpt from unreleased books, complete with cover art and each reader can nominate up to three for publishing. Each book is open for nominations for a 30 day period. At the end of those 30 days, KS (Kindle Scout) tallies how many votes each the book received and decides which ones go up for publication. As a thanks from KS and the author, the reader gets a free copy of the book once it is published.
Good? Bad? Blah? The program definitely does Amazon a lot of good–good PR, helping indie authors get noticed using an existing customer base, getting books vetted by their audience before publishing them.
KS sounds like a great deal for indie authors also. If a book is picked up for publication by KS, it is quite a good deal being a winner backed by the Goliath Amazon and getting a nice 50% royalty. Even otherwise, putting the book up for nomination can help an author perfect the pitch, blurb, cover etc of a book. What better platform to hone your presentation skills than Amazon’s customer base, I ask you?
Can books of any genre be submitted to Kindle Scout?
Currently, KS accepts submissions in the following genres:
- Science Fiction
- Contemporary Fiction
- Historical Fiction
- Action & Adventure
What do I need to submit to Kindle Scout?
From the Kindle Scout guidelines page, this is what you need to submit:
- Complete, copyedited, never-before-published manuscript
We’re looking for a manuscript of about 50,000 words or more in Word format. Make sure the entire book is ready to publish. This means (at the very least!) the manuscript has been professionally copyedited. We recommend following The Chicago Manual of Style.
- Great title & book cover image
Having a title and cover image that reflects the essence and uniqueness of your book – its setting, characters and plot – gets readers to jump in and start reading. Your cover image needs to be taller than it is wide (we suggest 4500 pixels in height and 2820 pixels in width or a 1.5 height/width ratio). It must be in PNG (.png) or JPEG (.jpeg or .jpg) format and no larger than 5MB.
- Book one-liner of 45 characters or less
This will be used throughout the Kindle Scout website. Think of examples like “Space opera meets the Middle Ages” or “How far would one woman go for her dreams?”
- Book description of 500 characters or less
Summarize your book for potential readers. Keep it compelling and remember — building an audience starts here. This is a reader’s first experience with your book.
- Your bio & photo
A short bio (500 characters or less) and your photo give readers a chance to connect with you. You will also have a chance to answer questions about your book and personal story in a short Q&A section. Here is the list of questions you will be able to choose from.
- Thank you note of 500 characters or less
Readers who nominate your book will appreciate hearing a word of thanks from you. At the end of every campaign, we notify readers whether the books they nominated were selected. The thank you note you submit will be included in the reader notification — no matter the outcome. Consider including ways for them to keep in touch with you via social media or email lists.
Sounds like things every indie author would have ready to go anyway, right?
What’s my take? To me it seems a very attractive proposition with little to lose. Some of the collections I am working on right now are designed to be hooks for my platform, and I only see benefits of putting one of those books through K. So, I am pretty sure I will have a book submitted in a few months.
Now, how about you?