My Experience with Kindle Scout

How the KS program made me feel from day 2 on.
Hi friends!

Last Tuesday, I announced to you all that my book, THE BLOOD OF SEVEN, was not selected by Kindle Press, despite all the hard work I put in marketing it and getting the word out.

Today, I'd like to write about the experience, start to finish. I'll do all I can to keep any bitterness from creeping in, but I apologize in advance if it does. :)

If you want to know what Kindle Scout is, go here to learn more.

Step One: Create Your Submission

I crafted all the parts of my submission in Word so I could keep an eye on the character counts. YES, CHARACTER counts. Not words, letters and spaces and punctuation. The only exception from this character count "rule" was the title. The one liner, the description, the author bio, and the answers to the questions I chose all had character restrictions.

I get it. Kindle Press wants to know if you can succinctly define your book in all its parts and pieces. Once I got it whittled down to the bare minimum, I plopped the text into the proper fields in the submission form and hit go.

After that, you agree to the terms and conditions and contract. I had a lawyer look at the contract, and he actually said it wasn't a very good contract, but I was gungho (spell checker wants me to change "gungho" to "bunghole") and excited, so I disregarded what he said.

You also need a cover image. The one I'd been using was "stolen" off the internet, so I couldn't use it. So, since I have some talent with acrylics and a paint brush, I painted my own cover, which you all have seen WAY TOO MUCH. And if you're curious, a portion of it is the background behind the title of this blog.

Step Two: Wait

After you submit your, well, submission, you wait. KS got back to me the next day to let me know when my campaign would launch. I had two days to get ready.

Step Three: Get Ready

I created a "marketing plan," which I mostly kept to. This plan included when to email friends, when to email work associates, when to post on Facebook, when to Tweet (which ended up being every day), and other things, like blog posts, Next Door app posts, LinkedIn posts, blog interviews, etc. Below is a sampling of my plan:

February 24th: email blast, Facebook, Tweet, blog post, update website, LinkedIn post
February 28th: Instragram, LinkedIn
March 2nd: Facebook and Twitter reminder, email reminder
March 4th: Facebook
March 7th: Facebook and Twitter and reminder email
March 8th: LinkedIn Reminder, updated website landing page, blog post about myself, not my book
March 10th: RMFW Post
March 13th: Facebook
March 15th: Posted on Nextdoor.com; Interview on Lisa's blog?
March 16th: Reminder email to work people
March 18th: Mike reblogged Lisa's blog
March 19th: Reminder email to friends and Facebook Live video
March 20th: Recording of chapter one and two posted on YouTube and blog
March 21st: Facebook, Twitter, LInkedIN, and NextDoor
March 24th: LinkedIn and Facebook and email to friends
March 25th: Facebook and Twitter and NextDoor and LinkedIn, blog post, reminder email - LAST DAY TO VOTE


Step Four: Launch Day and Beyond

On Launch Day, I started following my plan. My stats are below:

Hours in hot and trending and total page views. I don't think "page views" equals nominations.

Hot and Trending statistics over the course of my campaign. As you can see, I had a few days in which I wasn't getting much traffic despite my best attempts to garner more clicks. I think this was due to it being St. Patrick's Day weekend. :)

Page Views per Day

Where the clicks were coming from

So, for 30 days I did all I could to get people to nominate my book. I worked my butt off. I neglected my new novel while I worked solely on getting word out about this one. I even spent about $20 on "boosting" ads on my professional Facebook account, which I don't think did a whole lot, so I would not recommend that.

Step Five: Campaign Ends and You Wait

I was actually really relieved once my campaign ended. It meant I could redirect my energies back to my current WIP. The waiting wasn't TOO bad. I've submitted to agents and editors before, which takes months to hear back. It only took ten days for Kindle Scout to get back to me to inform me my book was NOT selected.

Step Six: Fuck it

Sorry for the language... I promise that isn't bitterness seeping in! What I mean by Fuck it is, there are other avenues out there, and I know it. The KS program was something to try, it didn't work, but you know what, I gathered over 2,000 people who are interested in my book. That's a big deal. So, some day when it DOES get published, all those people will want to buy a copy.

I can also say, this is not the first time I've been rejected (it was probably like the 50th), so it didn't bother me that they didn't want to publish my book. What bothered me was they give ZERO input into what qualifies a book to be published. Is it number of nominations? Is it hours in hot and trending? Is it all just purely based on the book content? WHAT IS IT? That's what's driving me mad about the program. I just took a survey they sent me, and I let them know what I thought. It isn't fair to the authors that we don't get to see the ratings and reviews people input when they click the nominate button. It isn't fair that we have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER about how they select books.

I also found out from a friend whose book will be published by Tor in July that his agent said it is a shitty contract that strips away all of the author's subsidiary rights. You know how authors make money? With subsidiary rights. Not only that, but everyone who nominated it, if it was selected, would have gotten a free copy. So... who is left to buy it and help me boost my sales? Even if I could convert 5% of those people to purchasers, I wouldn't have made back the advance KS promised in their contract.

So, all in all, the experience was sort of dreadful for me, and I won't be trying it again anytime soon. A lot of people have asked me if I'm going to self-publish THE BLOOD OF SEVEN, and I'm not. I'm not at that point in my career in which I want to self-pub my first book. I still have lots of options. Agents, small presses, etc. My dream is to be published by a publisher, not by myself.

There you have it. My experience with the KS program, in summary, was not fun.

Let me know if you have any questions about my experience in the comments!

Peace and Keep Writing,
Claire L. Fishback

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