My Kindle Scout Experience: Stage 0 – The Why

Technically, this should have been the first post of the series, but since I wanted to capture my prepping memories before they faded, I kinda rushed into it. I thought of doing the “whys” next because, of course, the why is the most important part of any journey.

So, the crux of this post is “Why Kindle Scout?”

This was not just a question I asked myself, but many who know me well asked as well. A lot of people who have followed my journey as an author and understand the current state of the publishing business were curious, why was I choosing Kindle Scout at all?

They knew I was fiercely indie minded and I was starting to see my books gaining traction. Getting published traditionally wasn’t on the last of a million bucket lists I could ever make. I didn’t care about “legitimacy” or “status” or “approval.” All I cared about was writing a good story and making my readers happy, and of course, make some money doing that.

Kindle Scout on the other hand was pretty much a traditional deal with a twist. The royalty is higher with Kindle Press, the timeline to launch is super short, and they don’t ask for the copyright of the paperbacks were a few differences among others. But still, Kindle Press is one of Amazon’s traditional imprints.

My friends had every reason to be surprised. One of them, another independent soul, asked me if I was having second thoughts about being indie. I told her I was definitely not having second thoughts. I was not planning to take any of my other books to Kindle Scout, except of course, if the right kind of book came along again sometime in the future.

Another one whose life’s goal is being published by the Big 5 regardless of how long it takes to get her one novel out was giddy with joy. She was sure I was working on query letters for my next project. Heck, no! I wasn’t. NY was nowhere on my mind.

So, why then?

Well, the cliched answer is: I wanted the experience.

My journey as an author has been a thrilling ride. I have followed a forgotten dream and I have rediscovered myself while I experimented with every format of fiction writing. Kindle Scout, when I first heard of it in 2014, sounded like something I wanted to try out. I didn’t think of the marketing aspect, I didn’t think whether this was going to be traditional, and I didn’t even think of how difficult or enjoyable the process was going to be. All I wanted was to have one of my books in it someday simply because the idea sounded cool.

However, there are quite a few reasons why any author might want to choose the Kindle Scout program. Try these:

  • A great royalty rate of 50% (great compared to much lower rates offered by the B5, but not as great as the 70% rate of a self-pubbed title)
  • A decent contract with a good right-reversal clause (5 years if the title does not generate $25000)
  • An advance, albeit small, but still hard cash
  • A short publishing timeline (a month or two on an average)
  • And last but certainly not the least, the backing of Amazon’s marketing machine. Yeah, who wouldn’t like that one in their corner?

There are also a number of relative cons:

  • The 45 day exclusivity period that the program needs while the campaign runs
  • The loss of control over pricing, formatting, etc (comes with every traditional deal)
  • The 30 day campaign itself which can be quite stressful for an author

However, as I mentioned before, I was there just for the experience. It was all rosy, until one of my friends asked a question that stumped me. “Will you call yourself an indie author anymore?”

I remember holding my breath for a second. I didn’t think of that. I would become a “hybrid” author. Did that mean I was going to lose the “indie” tag? Did I want to?

For one, it was too late to reconsider since The Eternity Prophecy had already been submitted. But then, I realized, being a hybrid author does not make me any less independent. In my opinion, trying out Kindle Scout made me more indie than I was before. Because now I was exercising my capacity and desire to choose even more, and the ability to choose is at the core of any independent.


Stay tuned for more of my experience with Kindle Scout. Next up – The Campaign

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in kindlescout, on writing
8 comments on “My Kindle Scout Experience: Stage 0 – The Why
  1. Nice post–since I kept being asked what Kindle Scout was. I’m going to give it another try in February with a different novel. I’m looking forward to our posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] What is Kindle Scout? It’s Amazon’s publishing platform, different than self-publishing, where Kindle Press is your publisher. Because of this, you earn less royalties than self-publishing (still more than traditional publishing), but Amazon does the marketing for you. Here’s a great blog post about the topic from Kindle Scout Winner, S.G. Basu. […]


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