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Kindle Scout Conclusion

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My Kindle Scout campaign has completed. I received an email from Amazon on Sunday that Vigilante Angels Book I: The Priest was not selected for publication. Rats! I hadn't had high expectations, knowing that only 2-3 out of every 300-400 submissions are selected. Even if you have an amazing book and cover, it is subject to whatever Amazon is looking for at the time. Right now, it seems to be romance books.

The process was a great learning experience. If you "play the game" in search of page hits, nominations, and Hot & Trending status, you are forced to think up ways to drive traffic to your page. In other words, you learn a lot about book promotion and marketing. I hung out in the Author's Cafe discussion area, which has a thread dedicated to Kindle Scout. There are many veterans there, and I learned a great deal from them. It's a very supportive group. My final stats are above and are pretty good for a debut author/newbie with no social media following and no backlist of other novels to lean on.

The tangible benefit is that once you publish your book, Amazon will send an email to everyone that nominated it during the Scout campaign. That can get your launch off to a good start, and help to build your email list. 

So what's next? I may put Book I up for preorder today, for about seven days while I read through it one more time before publishing. I'll publish on/about June 1. I want to put Book II: The Cop up for preorder simultaneously with publishing Book I, to piggyback from those sales. Book II will be a longer preorder, probably a month, to give me time to get the editing done. I'm about 70% done with the writing. Then, I'll record the audiobook of Book I, and start the writing for Book III: The Candidate, which I've already outlined. Hopefully, by then I'll have some folks contributing to the forum here as to where they'd like to see the story go!

I want to thank everyone who supported my Kindle Scout campaign. Please sign up for my newsletter so that you can get all of the late-breaking news on the above topics. Onward!

Kindle Scout Day 0

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Just as I was finishing up the third and final draft of Vigilante Angels Book I: The Priest, I decided to learn more about the Kindle Scout program that I had been hearing about. Previously, I hadn't paid much attention because I heard the word count minimum was 50,000 and my first book in the series was intended to be a novella at just over 40k words. However, after applying comments from my beta readers and editors, after the third draft, the book reached over 46,000. I inquired to the KS team and they said that 46k was the minimum, so what the heck, I decided to go for it.

I'll elaborate below, but if you are reading this between April 19 and May 19 (noon eastern US time) could you please go to this link and press the Nominate button for me?  If you can, hang around for a minute or so and read the excerpt, or scroll through it since they don't count folks that just go and click as much as those who take the time to look at the book before nominating.

Kindle Scout is what Amazon calls "reader-driven publishing." The way it works is that you can submit an unpublished book of 50,000 (ahem) or more words, along with the completed cover, to their website. The book must be professionally edited, and you have to also provide things like the synopsis/blurb (500 words) and one-liner (48 characters!). I did that yesterday. Then you have to wait a while so the Amazon Scout team can vet the submission and make sure it meets some minimal criteria. If they like it, you then get an email saying that you have been accepted to the Kindle Scout Campaign. They provide you with the 30-day window for your campaign (mine is April 19-May 19). I received that yesterday also.

During the campaign, your book info is put up on the website for the Amazon 'Scouts' (their voracious readers) to review and vote on (nominate) for publishing by Kindle Press. You are in competition with other books listed there for nomination votes and page views. They keep a Hot and Trending list for those that are doing well. You definitely want to be on H&T every day. They track it by number of hours on H&T. At the end of the 30 days, you wait (and wait) for them to send you an email saying you were either accepted to a publishing contract, or (sadly) rejected.

This is for the ebook only, although they hold rights to audio for 90 days. You are free to publish your paperback/hardcopy, but not until the ebook publishes by them. It's a big deal, because once accepted, you have the marketing power of the mighty Amazon behind your book. And they give you a $1,500 advance, which is nice.

So, tomorrow at noon my adventure begins. I'll be in competition with others who will spend big bucks on advertising campaigns to get folks to nominate their books over mine. I'm not going to do that. I'm hoping that people will help me because they like the book, and hope that it can stand on its merit. I may do a $5 fiverr or something, but nothing elaborate. I'm reading other blogs and posts from those who have already been through the process to learn about it. Again, if you want to help, please go to the link above and nominate. If you do, thank you in advance!


Vigilante Angels Book I Cover Reveal!

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Vigilante Angels Book I: The Priest is now in its second draft review, and the cover design is complete! I'm hoping to get it published in time for summer beach reading season. Until then, please subscribe to my newsletter and Twitter feed for updates. Thanks! Billy