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Grey Daze: A Lance Underphal Mystery
by Michael Allan Scott


Kindle Edition published 2015-03-29
Bestseller ranking: 167157

Product Description
An IAN Book of the Year Finalist and featured on NBC's Daytime Show, the third book in the Lance Underphal Mystery series is part of a new breed of supernatural thrillers which can be read and enjoyed in any order. Based on real events, this is one of those dark, disturbing novels that keeps you turning pages.
 
Download the sample or use the "Look inside" feature for a FREE E-book offer.
 
It's a mystery- Something is wrong. As Lance Underphal pads softly across the cold flagstone, he hears her weeping. She is on her knees, hunched over in the middle of the room, her back to him, facing the dark fireplace. Something is very wrong. Lance wants to rush to her, but can't. In a hoarse whisper, he says, "Callie?" She lets out a mournful wail from deep within as she turns, their infant son in her arms, blue and still. He reels from the blow. How can this be? They don't have a son.
 

Author Topic: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)  (Read 1721366 times)  

Online Carey Lewis

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23200 on: December 15, 2017, 10:12:04 AM »
So after nearly 14 days on the chopping block, my book was rejected. I awaited feedback and got none, so like Allie, I emailed asking if I was to get any. Today I received the same response, which pretty much said my book wasn't even looked at because it had so few nominations. I have a few problems with this after taking a moment to think it through.

I feel now would be a good time to say I didn't think I would get accepted by Scout, so my rejection came as no surprise, and indeed, there was no heartbreak on my part. I simply use the platform to get new eyes on my work, which will hopefully turn into fans. So what I say doesn't come from bitterness or frustration, merely non-biased thought.

From its inception, it was feared Scout would be nothing more than a popularity contest. Bill has said a few times recently that if it was truly "reader powered" it would be subject to click-farms and selections essentially being bought. Well, after doing more thinking, I think this is partially true.

While nominations won't get your book selected, it will get your book LOOKED at, according to the email I got. I don't believe there is a magical number of nominations that will get the book in front of the eyes of editors. I can't help but believe it's on a sliding scale, or a bell-curve if you will. Let's say when the program first started, it was 50 nominations. Now that people are getting thousands of page views (my first campaign I don't think cracked 1000, which was normal at the time), it can be assumed the number of average nominations rose as well.

Maybe before people had enough outreach on their own to get enough nominations to secure a read, but with all the paid promotions going on now, I can't imagine the number of nominations not rising with all the new page views these promotions bring. So what that means to me, is that to get at least a shot, one needs to pay for promotions. To get eyes on your book from the decision makers, one has to pay.

Scout has become what skeptics feared it would be: a popularity contest. Not to win, but just to have a shot.

If this isn't the case, then they should take more time to craft the wording in their emails. Because that's what it said. Not enough nominations to attract a read. It's not hard to read between the lines.

Doing it this asinine way loses them a lot of good quality books, as another poster mentioned. I've read many Scout winners and it takes me less than one hand to count all the good ones. I've read many Scout rejects that have been as good, if not far better, than ones Scout has selected. I've also read some absolutely dreadful Scout rejects as well.

Yes, I realize not everyone will enjoy the same things. Yes, I know everyone has different tastes. Yes, I know everyone is different. But come on. While I didn't greatly enjoy The Great Gatsby, I can say it's a good book and well written. Reading Cormac McCarthy, I can't help but feel he's almost daring you to give up and lull you to sleep and sometimes it feels like torture to finish, but I can still recognize it as good and some of the prose is beautiful. I didn't understand Last Exit to Brooklyn fully, but it was still thought provoking. I wanted to burn American Psycho after I read it, but it was still a pretty good book. My point is you can recognize quality without actually liking it.

As authors, we've all got branding on our minds (or at least most of us do). I have a fairly big TBR list of Scout winners I haven't gotten around to yet. When I think of cracking one open, I cringe. I don't expect much anymore from a Scout winner, in fact, I automatically assume I need to lower my expectation of quality. This is the Scout brand to me, and I'm sure I can't be alone. Is that how Scout wants their brand to be known? Would anyone want that to be their brand?

Sure, sometimes you want to watch The Avengers. I get it, sometimes that's exactly what I want too. But should you forsake all other movies for that franchise because they spent $100+ million on it while a far better movie won't even catch your eye because it only cost $10 million to make? The Avengers is just fine for what it is, but sometimes I want to watch Pulp Fiction, or a "prestige" picture.

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Offline Heittwriter

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23201 on: December 15, 2017, 10:28:16 AM »
So after nearly 14 days on the chopping block, my book was rejected. I awaited feedback and got none, so like Allie, I emailed asking if I was to get any. Today I received the same response, which pretty much said my book wasn't even looked at because it had so few nominations. I have a few problems with this after taking a moment to think it through.

I feel now would be a good time to say I didn't think I would get accepted by Scout, so my rejection came as no surprise, and indeed, there was no heartbreak on my part. I simply use the platform to get new eyes on my work, which will hopefully turn into fans. So what I say doesn't come from bitterness or frustration, merely non-biased thought.

From its inception, it was feared Scout would be nothing more than a popularity contest. Bill has said a few times recently that if it was truly "reader powered" it would be subject to click-farms and selections essentially being bought. Well, after doing more thinking, I think this is partially true.

While nominations won't get your book selected, it will get your book LOOKED at, according to the email I got. I don't believe there is a magical number of nominations that will get the book in front of the eyes of editors. I can't help but believe it's on a sliding scale, or a bell-curve if you will. Let's say when the program first started, it was 50 nominations. Now that people are getting thousands of page views (my first campaign I don't think cracked 1000, which was normal at the time), it can be assumed the number of average nominations rose as well.

Maybe before people had enough outreach on their own to get enough nominations to secure a read, but with all the paid promotions going on now, I can't imagine the number of nominations not rising with all the new page views these promotions bring. So what that means to me, is that to get at least a shot, one needs to pay for promotions. To get eyes on your book from the decision makers, one has to pay.

Scout has become what skeptics feared it would be: a popularity contest. Not to win, but just to have a shot.

If this isn't the case, then they should take more time to craft the wording in their emails. Because that's what it said. Not enough nominations to attract a read. It's not hard to read between the lines.

Doing it this asinine way loses them a lot of good quality books, as another poster mentioned. I've read many Scout winners and it takes me less than one hand to count all the good ones. I've read many Scout rejects that have been as good, if not far better, than ones Scout has selected. I've also read some absolutely dreadful Scout rejects as well.

Yes, I realize not everyone will enjoy the same things. Yes, I know everyone has different tastes. Yes, I know everyone is different. But come on. While I didn't greatly enjoy The Great Gatsby, I can say it's a good book and well written. Reading Cormac McCarthy, I can't help but feel he's almost daring you to give up and lull you to sleep and sometimes it feels like torture to finish, but I can still recognize it as good and some of the prose is beautiful. I didn't understand Last Exit to Brooklyn fully, but it was still thought provoking. I wanted to burn American Psycho after I read it, but it was still a pretty good book. My point is you can recognize quality without actually liking it.

As authors, we've all got branding on our minds (or at least most of us do). I have a fairly big TBR list of Scout winners I haven't gotten around to yet. When I think of cracking one open, I cringe. I don't expect much anymore from a Scout winner, in fact, I automatically assume I need to lower my expectation of quality. This is the Scout brand to me, and I'm sure I can't be alone. Is that how Scout wants their brand to be known? Would anyone want that to be their brand?

Sure, sometimes you want to watch The Avengers. I get it, sometimes that's exactly what I want too. But should you forsake all other movies for that franchise because they spent $100+ million on it while a far better movie won't even catch your eye because it only cost $10 million to make? The Avengers is just fine for what it is, but sometimes I want to watch Pulp Fiction, or a "prestige" picture.

Carey,

If what you say is true, then I fear Lost in Atlantis will more than likely get overlooked, too. I can't see it hitting H&T again without paying for promotions, so now I'm beginning to formulate a different plan of action in the event I receive the same response as you.

That's frustrating they don't look at the work regardless of nominationsif that's the case (as they stated in your e-mail), then they are most definitely passing on a lot of quality work. Had I known that information before submitting, I wouldn't have submitted in the first place.

What were your stats at the end of the campaign? I'm at 2.7K views and 129 hours in H&T, and the campaign ends in 13 days. I would like to know what the pre-requisite is for getting overlooked.

My other question is...if they do reject the work, then will publishers still be interested given the fact that 7 chapters are published on Kindle Scout? That is if I didn't want to rush into self-publishing, of course. However, I'm not sure they would be willing to touch it with a ten-foot pole after having nearly a fourth of the book onlineand it looks to be permanent (unless they can remove it after the fact).
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 10:29:53 AM by Heittwriter »

Offline Heittwriter

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23202 on: December 15, 2017, 10:45:53 AM »
Nominated both One More Moon and Spark 211!

Brit

Offline RalphWebster

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23203 on: December 15, 2017, 11:16:46 AM »
Carey,

If what you say is true, then I fear Lost in Atlantis will more than likely get overlooked, too. I can't see it hitting H&T again without paying for promotions, so now I'm beginning to formulate a different plan of action in the event I receive the same response as you.

That's frustrating they don't look at the work regardless of nominationsif that's the case (as they stated in your e-mail), then they are most definitely passing on a lot of quality work. Had I known that information before submitting, I wouldn't have submitted in the first place.

What were your stats at the end of the campaign? I'm at 2.7K views and 129 hours in H&T, and the campaign ends in 13 days. I would like to know what the pre-requisite is for getting overlooked.

My other question is...if they do reject the work, then will publishers still be interested given the fact that 7 chapters are published on Kindle Scout? That is if I didn't want to rush into self-publishing, of course. However, I'm not sure they would be willing to touch it with a ten-foot pole after having nearly a fourth of the book onlineand it looks to be permanent (unless they can remove it after the fact).

I am really sorry to hear that.  As tomorrow begins my "wait", I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Could it be that there is a committee process involved with the selections, a process where a number of people have to weigh in and a number of factors need to be considered?  That being said, there could be a number of reasons why someone is or is not selected, # of nominations could be one factor depending upon circumstance (like number of books in genre,etc.)  A committee process could explain the delays - and perhaps some of the confusion.  I am going with that hope.  It sounds like I might be beginning a long and difficult number of days.  Did I say Happy Holidays???

Offline JenOrtiz

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23204 on: December 15, 2017, 11:19:27 AM »
As it's been a year since I was accepted under the Scout program to be published by Kindle Press, I thought I'd come back with some thoughts.

First, I would say that it's been a mixed bag. The first few months were quite nice, sales-wise. Then KP started adjusting the price (I fluctuated between $.99 and $3.99, sometimes without warning) - and my sales and reads plummeted. I certainly don't feel as though I was given any kind of preferential marketing treatment, because of being in the Scout program. In fact, when I was on promo, it was thrown in with several hundred other books on promo and I was found on the 10th+ page.

So, overall, it has been more disappointing than anything.

The advance was nice, the editing was okay (though I felt as though they wanted to cut out large portions of my book that would have adversely affected the voice/tone of the storyline - I rejected those changes), their communication is fair.

At this point, I'm waiting until I can ask for my rights back and, in the meantime, I'm going about my merry way and working on other projects. I won't be submitting to KP or the Scout program again.

I wasn't expecting to be a best seller under this program, but I was expecting to see the "Featured Amazon marketing" that was promised and I don't feel like that happened.

To be 100% fair, some Scout authors have had GREAT success and I think that's wonderful.

I'm glad I submitted, because I always would have wondered. I would certainly suggest trying out the program, just be aware that everyone's mileage varies, as it will with any trad publisher (can we call KP a trad publisher? I guess?).

To those running campaigns, good luck! If you're chosen, congrats and enjoy the advance!  ;) If you're not chosen, take heart in that everyone who nominated you will get notified when you publish your book on your own, which will hopefully be a nice marketing boost for you.

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Online Carey Lewis

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23205 on: December 15, 2017, 11:49:46 AM »
Carey,

If what you say is true, then I fear Lost in Atlantis will more than likely get overlooked, too. I can't see it hitting H&T again without paying for promotions, so now I'm beginning to formulate a different plan of action in the event I receive the same response as you.

That's frustrating they don't look at the work regardless of nominationsif that's the case (as they stated in your e-mail), then they are most definitely passing on a lot of quality work. Had I known that information before submitting, I wouldn't have submitted in the first place.

What were your stats at the end of the campaign? I'm at 2.7K views and 129 hours in H&T, and the campaign ends in 13 days. I would like to know what the pre-requisite is for getting overlooked.

My other question is...if they do reject the work, then will publishers still be interested given the fact that 7 chapters are published on Kindle Scout? That is if I didn't want to rush into self-publishing, of course. However, I'm not sure they would be willing to touch it with a ten-foot pole after having nearly a fourth of the book onlineand it looks to be permanent (unless they can remove it after the fact).
My stats were 97 hours H&T with 3.6K page views. I know it's quite low, but I did absolutely NO marketing whatsoever. I didn't even inform my mailing list, nor made any posts on Facebook. The only place I mentioned the campaign was here on this forum. I adopted the set it and forget it model for reasons I posted many many pages ago.

I don't know the exact number of nominations needed to secure a read, but I imagine you'll be fine.

More interesting to me, is I launched with a free strategy for three days. The only marketing I did was to tell my list, post in three facebook groups, and again, this forum. During those days, my book was consistently in the top 1000, always number two in my first category (suspense - ghosts), and never higher than 6 in the remaining two (Crime Fiction - Heists, and Crime Fiction - Noir). Granted, that's the free store, but with ZERO promotions other than stated above. I could only imagine the damage the book could have done with some Amazon marketing behind it.

My theory was that as soon as a book was submitted, someone was reading it, and they'd read it until the author gave them a reason to discard the book. If it passed that initial reader, it would go on to someone else, who may or may not make the selection. That was my running theory, and maybe it was true at one time, but now I have to reassess. Now it seems (according to the email I got) that only books with high nominations will be read, becoming (like I said earlier) everyone's biggest criticism of the program - a popularity contest. This sucks because some of us don't have a large group to market to and can't afford promotions, no matter how cheap they may be.

And please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to attack writers who have gotten the Scout contract, I'm merely questioning the methods of selection. Hey, if you got a contract, good for you. There have been two writers on this forum that have gotten contracts (I'll leave them nameless and they're before my time so I never read their winning books) who have admitted, upon reflection, that their books weren't the best they could have been. One, I believe, put their book through a few more rounds of edits (from outside sources) before handing in the final draft to be published.

I will be submitting to Scout again, and again, I do not expect to be chosen. Part of me doesn't want to be. Many authors have been disappointed with the process and want their rights reverted. JenOrtiz, who posted above, is one who wrote on this thread at an opportune time. What she said about the edits suggested, taking away from the tone and voice of the book, only gives me more credence to the quality (or lack thereof) they're looking for or trying to propagate. While the advance would be nice, it doesn't seem Scout is really keeping up their end of the bargain with the muscle of Amazon marketing behind it. I can't help but feel readers would turn away from the Scout brand such as I had because of poor reading experiences.

Carey Lewis | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline Cecelia

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23206 on: December 15, 2017, 12:08:52 PM »
It looks as though they cleaned up their list. I got a heap of "not selected's and one selected. Congratulations author of  The Locksmith!
[https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/112AYBO4QPZ9Y][/url]
New Campaign https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/112AYBO4QPZ9Y

Offline Elvis English

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23207 on: December 15, 2017, 01:45:20 PM »
Just nominated the top 3 on the list:

One More Moon by Ralph Webster
Spark 211 by Rick Post
Shadowed by Death by M.A. Adler

As always, best of luck.

Offline ronesa_aveela

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23208 on: December 15, 2017, 02:01:18 PM »
I wasn't expecting to be a best seller under this program, but I was expecting to see the "Featured Amazon marketing" that was promised and I don't feel like that happened.

This is what I'm in it for, so if this doesn't happen, it would be better not to be chosen. At least then the people who really had in interest in the book might buy it.
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Offline WasAnn

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23209 on: December 15, 2017, 04:19:25 PM »
To those believing that KS is now a popularity contest...I don't think so. While I don't work for the mighty Zon, I do know they utilize algos and metrics in ways unmatched in the private sector. Possibly better than the public sector!

While that wording is awkward and gives a very wrong impression, which they should revisit, what I think is left out of that is the secret sauce. Naturally, they can't mention the secret sauce, but they could do better.

The verbiage could be altered to be...insufficient customer engagement. That is, I think, a far appropriate and probably accurate description.

They know exactly what every single scouter does on a page. They know how long they looked, how far down the read, if they gave up on the sample halfway through, if they clicked nomination without finishing the sample, if they gave feedback when the popup shows up. They know everything.

If a thousand people click to your page, and you get 100 nominations, you have a 10% success rate. But wait...did you get 15 of those nominations without scrolling with sufficient slowness down the sample? Hmm. Did 500 of those who clicked not even bother to expand the sample and not nominate?

As scouters here, we show support to each other, but I'm not sure that support is useful when it's an auto-click. Read each one all the way through, give feedback, LOOK like you actually want to read the book.

So, while we can't know for sure what's in the secret sauce, we know they love algos. It's easy to set up a customer behavior algo that tests engagement. I wouldn't take the popularity contest idea literally. If it were, then those with the most time on hot and trending would get it every time. They don't. Not even close. Look instead at the concept of engagement and work from there.

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23210 on: December 15, 2017, 04:37:31 PM »
To those believing that KS is now a popularity contest...I don't think so. While I don't work for the mighty Zon, I do know they utilize algos and metrics in ways unmatched in the private sector. Possibly better than the public sector!

While that wording is awkward and gives a very wrong impression, which they should revisit, what I think is left out of that is the secret sauce. Naturally, they can't mention the secret sauce, but they could do better.

The verbiage could be altered to be...insufficient customer engagement. That is, I think, a far appropriate and probably accurate description.

They know exactly what every single scouter does on a page. They know how long they looked, how far down the read, if they gave up on the sample halfway through, if they clicked nomination without finishing the sample, if they gave feedback when the popup shows up. They know everything.

If a thousand people click to your page, and you get 100 nominations, you have a 10% success rate. But wait...did you get 15 of those nominations without scrolling with sufficient slowness down the sample? Hmm. Did 500 of those who clicked not even bother to expand the sample and not nominate?

As scouters here, we show support to each other, but I'm not sure that support is useful when it's an auto-click. Read each one all the way through, give feedback, LOOK like you actually want to read the book.

So, while we can't know for sure what's in the secret sauce, we know they love algos. It's easy to set up a customer behavior algo that tests engagement. I wouldn't take the popularity contest idea literally. If it were, then those with the most time on hot and trending would get it every time. They don't. Not even close. Look instead at the concept of engagement and work from there.
No offense Ann, but where did you hear that is the way the Amazon algo works for Scout? The only mention I've heard about that theory is here on this forum, which started as speculation but was repeated so often, it has now become believed as fact. If I'm wrong, and that's the way the Scout algo works, then I will humbly stand corrected. For now, the only concrete evidence I have inside the opaque workings of Scout's process is the email I received, which was probably the same email another poster received.

I nominate quite a few books, and I look at the cover, briefly the description, maybe a line or two, and more often than the content, the author bio. I can't imagine I'm so unique that I'm the only one that does this. Many many many scouters will nominate on the last day of the campaign, and more than likely, will do so without looking at the content of the work, but something has tickled their fancy. And as is human nature, they nominate at the end to get as much for free as they can and to not waste too much time.

And just to reiterate, I didn't say to win the contract it was a popularity contest. I said to have a SHOT at winning it was a popularity contest. They so much as said so in the email they sent. Nominations are the indicator to put the book in front of editors.

I think most people give the Zon a lot more credit than is probably warranted. Their algos are made by people, and people are just that... people. Not infallible.

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Online Bill Hiatt

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23211 on: December 15, 2017, 06:55:35 PM »
Here's the way I see this situation. We have two contradictory pieces of data: Anthony's rejection two days before his campaign was over on one hand, and Carey's and Allie's email saying they didn't get feedback because they didn't receive enough nominations to be shortlisted on the other.

The first piece suggests two things: that books are read prior to the end of the campaign, which implies that campaign stats don't matter. The second piece suggests nominations are what is used to determine the shortlist. Both pieces of evidence are just a few days apart, so the discrepancy probably isn't due to any change in the KS process.

I could be wrong, but the only way I see to reconcile the two is to assume that the person doing the email didn't know what he or she was talking about. Perhaps he or she misinterpreted something.

There's nothing inherently irrational in using some of the campaign stats to determine who makes the shortlist; in fact, the way the Kindle Scout process is worded could be interpreted in exactly that way. The problem with that, though, is that, if there is one thing Amazon likes more than algorithms, it's keeping its behind-the-scenes stuff behind the scenes. "Secret sauce," as Wasann said. Is there any rational explanation for Amazon suddenly deciding to release a detail about how the shortlist was created? Not that I can think of, especially when the email could just have explained that the book didn't make the shortlist without elaborating. One could assume that detail was leaked by mistake, but that still doesn't explain Anthony's situation.

The only other possibility I can think of is that it was an editor rather than an emailer who made the mistake--an editor who didn't realize nominations had anything to do with the shortlist and thus read and decided on the fate of Anthony's submission prematurely. Which is more likely--that the emailer was mistaken about the process, or that an editor was?

The situation isn't great in any of those scenarios. Someone screwed up at some point. Maybe multiple people did. I would, however, suggest that there's no way to reconcile the conflicting data if we assume that Scout now uses the nominations to create a shortlist. (We know the Scout process hasn't always done that because of the people selected with very low H & T numbers; they would never have made the shortlist if they needed a lot of nominations to do it.)


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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23212 on: December 15, 2017, 09:43:42 PM »
I think it's shockingly inconsiderate to keep someone waiting the full two weeks and then say their book didn't even make in into consideration. Whatever is going on over at Scout (and Amazon!) at the moment, they really need to get back on top of things.

Having said that, it's been really interesting hearing an overview of the feedback from those who've received it, and I hope that situations like the recent ones don't make them decide not to continue with the feedback. I can see from their perspective how much simpler it is to have a closed door. (However frustrating it may be for all of us!)

I've been planning to do a Scout run in the first half of next year, with a set and forget approach. I guess I'll have to think it through (and keep watching how things progress) to decide if there's any point to doing one now.

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Offline Steve Vernon

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23213 on: December 16, 2017, 03:58:52 AM »
It's Saturday.

I've got a shift at work to head to, and I need to go and clean the snow off of the sidewalk first.

So, bearing in mind that this is going to be a hasty entry, let me say a couple of things about one of the things that people "know" about Kindle Scout.

First off - "Kindle Scout is a popularity contest!"

Well, they have never made any bones about how nominations and Hot and Trending weighs in their decision-making. That is why I would ALWAYS recommend that anyone entering a book into Kindle Scout needs to be prepared to do a bit of campaigning. I do not recommend throwing good money at it - although some folks do. However, whenever I see someone start out their campaign by announcing that they aren't going to do ANYTHING to promote their Kindle Scout offering, I wonder if they are going to achieve success.

Lincoln Cole went to a great deal of effort a while ago to keep a running list of how much H&T each of our kboards candidates had. Some of the winners spent a LOT of time in the H&T list. Some of them spent hardly any time at all in H&T.

(H&T = Hot and Trending)

So, I would say that it ISN'T always a "popularity contest". Sometimes your book just doesn't make the cut.

Remember, Kindle Scout and Kindle Press is just an odd variety of a publishing company. I've been dealing with with publishers for several decades and I can tell you that sometimes no matter how good your book is, it doesn't make the cut. Same thing with Kindle Scout. Maybe you have JUST written the very best hardboiled detective novel and Kindle Press just released three other hardboiled detective novels. Well, odds are that your wonderful book is going to get passed over. There can be all kinds of reasons for a book not making the cut.

When a book doesn't make the cut - with any sort of a publisher - it always hurts. You always instinctively want to say "That sucks!". You always instinctively want to blame the publisher for just being short-sighted.

Don't do that.

The thing to remember is that Kindle Scout is the best free pre-release mechanism on the market today. You get thirty days to promote your book. Even if it doesn't make the cut, if you can get your book out right away that is a pool of possible readers. So that, more than anything, is why I recommend that folks need to do what they can to promote their Kindle Scout campaign.

Everybody has a whole lot of reasons for feeling the way that they feel about anything - but heck, Kindle Scout "is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It's a place where readers help decide if a book gets published."

They say it pretty plainly. They don't try to hide any of the facts.

So let's get on with today's list, shall we?

Remember - the campaigns that need nominations the most are the ones that are closest to the LAST DAY LEFT, 1 day left, 2 days left etc.

Updated List

LAST DAY LEFT! One More Moon by Ralph Webster
LAST DAY LEFT! Spark 211 by Rick Post
5 days left Shadowed by Death by M.A. Adler
7 days left Winter City Wolf Moon by Elvis English
7 days left Want What You Have by Rishabh Jhol
9 days left to CHRISTMAS!!!
12 days left Lost In Atlantis by Briton Heitt
12 days left Hotel Murder by Luke Christodoulou
12 days left Burnt by the Flame by Sharon Robards
13 days left Soul Catchers by Carrie Pulkinen
13 days left The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village
14 days left Hold it Write There by S.A. Krishnan
20 days left Chinawoman's Chance by James Musgrave
21 days left Jericho Jaxon: Alien Hunter by Karen M. Bryson


I put this list up every morning and I strive to keep it up-to-date so that this thread needn't dissolve into a flurry of "NOMINATE MY BOOK, NOMINATE MY BOOK" posts. No one is under any obligation to nominate any of these books. I'm just trying to keep the thread clear of unnecessary clutter. This way once a day there is a complete list of current candidates and folks can readily check out the kboards members who have a book in the running and can make up their own mind. I try and stay nonpartisan about it - which is why I don't comment on any particular book by title. I just keep the list.
 
If I have missed anyone please let me know either with a PM or by posting a link here in the thread.

Happy scouting, folks!

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23214 on: December 16, 2017, 06:53:05 AM »
Steve is wise in the ways of the world.

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23215 on: December 16, 2017, 08:09:32 AM »
As it's been a year since I was accepted under the Scout program to be published by Kindle Press, I thought I'd come back with some thoughts.

First, I would say that it's been a mixed bag. The first few months were quite nice, sales-wise. Then KP started adjusting the price (I fluctuated between $.99 and $3.99, sometimes without warning) - and my sales and reads plummeted. I certainly don't feel as though I was given any kind of preferential marketing treatment, because of being in the Scout program. In fact, when I was on promo, it was thrown in with several hundred other books on promo and I was found on the 10th+ page.

So, overall, it has been more disappointing than anything.

The advance was nice, the editing was okay (though I felt as though they wanted to cut out large portions of my book that would have adversely affected the voice/tone of the storyline - I rejected those changes), their communication is fair.

At this point, I'm waiting until I can ask for my rights back and, in the meantime, I'm going about my merry way and working on other projects. I won't be submitting to KP or the Scout program again.

I wasn't expecting to be a best seller under this program, but I was expecting to see the "Featured Amazon marketing" that was promised and I don't feel like that happened.

To be 100% fair, some Scout authors have had GREAT success and I think that's wonderful.

I'm glad I submitted, because I always would have wondered. I would certainly suggest trying out the program, just be aware that everyone's mileage varies, as it will with any trad publisher (can we call KP a trad publisher? I guess?).

To those running campaigns, good luck! If you're chosen, congrats and enjoy the advance!  ;) If you're not chosen, take heart in that everyone who nominated you will get notified when you publish your book on your own, which will hopefully be a nice marketing boost for you.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Kindle Press, like every other trad publisher, doesn't give the same treatment to all books, just as you point out.  The definition of "featured Amazon marketing" is very flexible.

I wouldn't recommend Scout for people who already sell really well on their own. Chances are if an author is making a living on his or her writing, Kindle Press is unlikely to do better. On the other hand, for a complete newbie or a prawn, Kindle Press might make a significant difference. When I look at the reversion terms (less than $25,000 in any five-year period, less than $500 in any twelve-month period), that's typically more than I make on a single book within a comparable time frame. Actually, only one book has made more than that for me in twelve months (ironically, my first Scout reject). That means that even if KP did the minimum for me, I might conceivably do better than I could do on my own. If I didn't, I could more easily get the rights reverted than with any other publisher.

For people looking for agents, it's always nice to have a publishing credit other than straight self-publishing. That might be another reason for trying out Scout.

It's a good thing to try if one has reasonable expectations. Kindle Press isn't likely to have the impact of a Big Five publisher or even one of the other Amazon imprints, but it could get an author more exposure than he or she could get on his or her own.


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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23216 on: December 16, 2017, 09:37:23 AM »
Carey,


My other question is...if they do reject the work, then will publishers still be interested given the fact that 7 chapters are published on Kindle Scout? That is if I didn't want to rush into self-publishing, of course. However, I'm not sure they would be willing to touch it with a ten-foot pole after having nearly a fourth of the book onlineand it looks to be permanent (unless they can remove it after the fact).

After your campaign, you can write to them to ask them to remove your work from their Kindlescout website and from their search engines.  It's in their TOCs, I think.
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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23217 on: December 16, 2017, 09:59:41 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Kindle Press, like every other trad publisher, doesn't give the same treatment to all books, just as you point out.  The definition of "featured Amazon marketing" is very flexible.

I wouldn't recommend Scout for people who already sell really well on their own. Chances are if an author is making a living on his or her writing, Kindle Press is unlikely to do better. On the other hand, for a complete newbie or a prawn, Kindle Press might make a significant difference. When I look at the reversion terms (less than $25,000 in any five-year period, less than $500 in any twelve-month period), that's typically more than I make on a single book within a comparable time frame. Actually, only one book has made more than that for me in twelve months (ironically, my first Scout reject). That means that even if KP did the minimum for me, I might conceivably do better than I could do on my own. If I didn't, I could more easily get the rights reverted than with any other publisher.

For people looking for agents, it's always nice to have a publishing credit other than straight self-publishing. That might be another reason for trying out Scout.

It's a good thing to try if one has reasonable expectations. Kindle Press isn't likely to have the impact of a Big Five publisher or even one of the other Amazon imprints, but it could get an author more exposure than he or she could get on his or her own.

Lots of good thoughts here, but I bolded a couple of them in particular. Like you said, I'm not your logical Scout applicant. Lots of books, Bestseller listed, books in Prime Reading...blah, blah, blah.

BUT, that's where the bolded part comes in. Like a lot of indies, I experienced some burnout. I didn't love the rapid fire requirement to stay on top of the algos, so I took a year and a half off (well, one book, six anthos, two charity anthos, a magazine, a duology collection...but no series). I wanted to really craft the books I had in the hopper.

Taking a year plus off is killer on any indie. Killer. Given my current sales, the reversion terms are about what I'd make for the new duology, so it's not the money. BUT, KS offers us a new and exciting way to reach new readers, pre-build anticipation with a new audience, and maybe--just maybe--get some of that Amazon algo love.

So, while I do agree with you that this is the perfect venue for a debut author, I think more indies than we might otherwise guess are also a good fit. Invigorating, new, with higher stakes, and the real possibility of failure or success...all very heady stuff.

Many of the Scouters here have done it several times. Some of you have loads of books in your signatures now. None of those indies are now debut...but rather experienced Scouters who love the challenge. That's also fun, the challenge. So, I wouldn't say anyone in particular isn't a good candidate for Scouting. We all do it for different reasons. I enjoy following along with their journeys too.

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23218 on: December 16, 2017, 10:07:37 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Kindle Press, like every other trad publisher, doesn't give the same treatment to all books, just as you point out.  The definition of "featured Amazon marketing" is very flexible.

I wouldn't recommend Scout for people who already sell really well on their own. Chances are if an author is making a living on his or her writing, Kindle Press is unlikely to do better. On the other hand, for a complete newbie or a prawn, Kindle Press might make a significant difference. When I look at the reversion terms (less than $25,000 in any five-year period, less than $500 in any twelve-month period), that's typically more than I make on a single book within a comparable time frame. Actually, only one book has made more than that for me in twelve months (ironically, my first Scout reject). That means that even if KP did the minimum for me, I might conceivably do better than I could do on my own. If I didn't, I could more easily get the rights reverted than with any other publisher.

For people looking for agents, it's always nice to have a publishing credit other than straight self-publishing. That might be another reason for trying out Scout.

It's a good thing to try if one has reasonable expectations. Kindle Press isn't likely to have the impact of a Big Five publisher or even one of the other Amazon imprints, but it could get an author more exposure than he or she could get on his or her own.

This is how I intend to use Kindle Scout.

Although I have published seven books under pen names, this time I'm going for it seriously under my own name and intend to give full time a bloody good go!

Scout is part of that plan in one of two ways.

1. I win a contract and then rapidly release the second and third in the series to maximise the marketing Amazon will be doing for me.

2. They don't offer me a contract and I use the publicity gained to launch my three rapid releases.

Either way, it seems like a good way to kick-start a career.

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED
« Reply #23219 on: December 16, 2017, 10:11:03 AM »
I think KindleScout fully expect you to promote your book while on campaign; that's why they want you to have social media links etc up on the website during your campaign.  Doing nothing in the hope of being discovered is just like submitting to a trad publisher; Scout makes it clear that they expect you to reach out to your networks to promote it. I remember reading a Scout submission which was so brilliant and compelling, I read it several times.  The author had no website/FB, nothing and when they lost the campaign they had no follow up contacts in their thank you email. Even on its last day it wasn't H&T. Perhaps had that author just gotten a few external votes it might have helped them move forward in the selection process. I suspect that there is some value they attach to our nominations, perhaps to get us to another stage in the selection process. But clearly they are not the ultimate deciding factor. Perhaps in the early days of Scout, not much promo was needed, but it's likely now that with the astronomical manuscript submissions each averaging 9-10k views, there is a new culling strategy they had to develop and rules may have changed. 

Ultimately, if you don't win you can use the mileage from the one month promo to prepare a self pub launch.  Incidentally my Scout reject reached its two month birthday yesterday since selfpub launch.  I've now made just over 9k total in the two months.  The honeymoon ended a while ago and the book is only just managing to hover between 6000 and 10,000 in rankings.  I've started paid promos on AMS and FB but haven't a clue what I'm doing; I barely get clicks and am losing money so I now apparently need to buy books to learn all that stuff.  I wasn't really on social media before Scout so all this is new to me and I need to figure it all out. 
So Carey, if your reject was a worthy one then self-pub will work out and the KindleScout editors who didn't bother looking at it will eat their hats.
Good luck with your launch.
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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23220 on: December 16, 2017, 10:47:57 AM »
I think it's shockingly inconsiderate to keep someone waiting the full two weeks and then say their book didn't even make in into consideration. Whatever is going on over at Scout (and Amazon!) at the moment, they really need to get back on top of things.

Having said that, it's been really interesting hearing an overview of the feedback from those who've received it, and I hope that situations like the recent ones don't make them decide not to continue with the feedback. I can see from their perspective how much simpler it is to have a closed door. (However frustrating it may be for all of us!)

I've been planning to do a Scout run in the first half of next year, with a set and forget approach. I guess I'll have to think it through (and keep watching how things progress) to decide if there's any point to doing one now.

Your books seem to be doing very well via self-publishing. Do you really think Amazon Press would provide enough benefits to offset giving up control over advertising and pricing? My Kindle Scout run was a little over a year ago, and the program has changed so much I can't decide whether I want to try it again. The five year loss of control in exchange for a pathetically small advance isn't too tempting unless Amazon really promotes the books it accepts. From what I've read lately, they change prices willy-nilly and many books get minimal promotion. I like the idea of using Scout as a launch platform now that there seems to be thousands of readers watching the submissions and nominating books. I also like the idea of getting a critique. And if a book is fairly successful out of the gate, it's likely to get decent advertising support.

You have an extensive series, so an Amazon Press book could drive sales to your existing series, and vice versa. That was the main point I came up with in favor of trying Scout again, myself. I have a finished fantasy trilogy and am starting a spin-off series. If they accepted the first book of the new series, there could be some beneficial synergies, but if it didn't work out that way, it would be a long five years of not being able to market the book myself. 

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23221 on: December 16, 2017, 11:53:52 AM »
Lots of good thoughts here, but I bolded a couple of them in particular. Like you said, I'm not your logical Scout applicant. Lots of books, Bestseller listed, books in Prime Reading...blah, blah, blah.

BUT, that's where the bolded part comes in. Like a lot of indies, I experienced some burnout. I didn't love the rapid fire requirement to stay on top of the algos, so I took a year and a half off (well, one book, six anthos, two charity anthos, a magazine, a duology collection...but no series). I wanted to really craft the books I had in the hopper.

Taking a year plus off is killer on any indie. Killer. Given my current sales, the reversion terms are about what I'd make for the new duology, so it's not the money. BUT, KS offers us a new and exciting way to reach new readers, pre-build anticipation with a new audience, and maybe--just maybe--get some of that Amazon algo love.

So, while I do agree with you that this is the perfect venue for a debut author, I think more indies than we might otherwise guess are also a good fit. Invigorating, new, with higher stakes, and the real possibility of failure or success...all very heady stuff.

Many of the Scouters here have done it several times. Some of you have loads of books in your signatures now. None of those indies are now debut...but rather experienced Scouters who love the challenge. That's also fun, the challenge. So, I wouldn't say anyone in particular isn't a good candidate for Scouting. We all do it for different reasons. I enjoy following along with their journeys too.
Good points. I wasn't actually suggesting that Scout was only for debut authors, just that it might not be as good a fit for someone who is already very successful.  However, as you point out, there might also be non-monetary reasons for giving Scout a try.


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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23222 on: December 16, 2017, 12:06:27 PM »
Your books seem to be doing very well via self-publishing. Do you really think Amazon Press would provide enough benefits to offset giving up control over advertising and pricing? My Kindle Scout run was a little over a year ago, and the program has changed so much I can't decide whether I want to try it again. The five year loss of control in exchange for a pathetically small advance isn't too tempting unless Amazon really promotes the books it accepts. From what I've read lately, they change prices willy-nilly and many books get minimal promotion. I like the idea of using Scout as a launch platform now that there seems to be thousands of readers watching the submissions and nominating books. I also like the idea of getting a critique. And if a book is fairly successful out of the gate, it's likely to get decent advertising support.

You have an extensive series, so an Amazon Press book could drive sales to your existing series, and vice versa. That was the main point I came up with in favor of trying Scout again, myself. I have a finished fantasy trilogy and am starting a spin-off series. If they accepted the first book of the new series, there could be some beneficial synergies, but if it didn't work out that way, it would be a long five years of not being able to market the book myself.
It might only be a one-year loss of control if you don't make at least $500 on the book during that year. The same thing is true for each subsequent year. Scout also made audio and translation rights (which KP never seems to use anyway) revert if audio or translation hasn't started within 90 days).

As you know, I like Scout for the enormous exposure a book can get during the campaign. There are definitely more active Scouters now than there were a year ago. I campaigned about the same amount both times, but the first time my internal views were 1/3 of the total, and the second time they were about 60% of the total. Internal views the second time were substantially higher than total views the first time.

The critiques were originally only scheduled for November and December, so we don't know if that will continue. I hope so, because I thought the feedback was valuable.

it's probably true that a book that starts strong in KP will get more advertising support than one that doesn't. That's why the process is something of a gamble if one is selected. There are a lot of variables you can no longer control. Of course, that would be true with any publisher.


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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23223 on: December 16, 2017, 01:05:50 PM »
It might only be a one-year loss of control if you don't make at least $500 on the book during that year. The same thing is true for each subsequent year. Scout also made audio and translation rights (which KP never seems to use anyway) revert if audio or translation hasn't started within 90 days).

As you know, I like Scout for the enormous exposure a book can get during the campaign. There are definitely more active Scouters now than there were a year ago. I campaigned about the same amount both times, but the first time my internal views were 1/3 of the total, and the second time they were about 60% of the total. Internal views the second time were substantially higher than total views the first time.

The critiques were originally only scheduled for November and December, so we don't know if that will continue. I hope so, because I thought the feedback was valuable.

it's probably true that a book that starts strong in KP will get more advertising support than one that doesn't. That's why the process is something of a gamble if one is selected. There are a lot of variables you can no longer control. Of course, that would be true with any publisher.

The feedback you received for your last submission, and your commentary about their investigation of your past submission and current backlist, was a huge plus in favor of trying KS again. It sounded like the editors are really on the ball. Then, I started reading more negative comments, like the ones from the last few days that say consideration may hinge on nominations, and I turned negative again, LOL.

$500/year for a book the length I write, priced at $3.99, comes out to only 15.43 books per month, which really isn't many sales. I'd never make less than $500/year because I'd drive sales from the first series to the second by whatever means it took to do that, even if I spent more on advertising than I made. I can't stand to see my books languishing. My primary mission is to have people read and enjoy them. I don't do free days, but I run Kindle Countdown Deals. I'm running a KCD on the whole series at the moment, with book 1 and 3 at $0.99 and book 2 at $1.99. So far today I have 50 sales, and I'm hoping for a lot more. I'd pull my weight and then some making my Kindle Press book as successful as possible, but I'd hope for a reasonable amount of support on their end. I cringe when I see former KS winning books in the 300-800K sales rank. That's depressing. If the editors deemed the books worthy of publication, Amazon should send emails to perspective purchasers. How much can that cost?

The other factor that is giving me pause is the recent mention of poor editing and overall production standards. I edit my books for months, going over them multiple times to eliminate awkward sentence structures. I make sure I comply with the Chicago Manual of Style. I do my best to have proper punctuation. I know everyone can't afford a professional editor, so KS needs to make sure they have competent editors going over the winning books. If KS is getting a reputation for cranking out books with typos and grammatical errors, I don't want to be part of the program.

I was stoked about KS when I started my campaign, and I still think it has a lot going for it, so I hope they do everything in their power to make it successful for all involved.   

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23224 on: December 16, 2017, 01:26:28 PM »
The other factor that is giving me pause is the recent mention of poor editing and overall production standards. I edit my books for months, going over them multiple times to eliminate awkward sentence structures. I make sure I comply with the Chicago Manual of Style. I do my best to have proper punctuation. I know everyone can't afford a professional editor, so KS needs to make sure they have competent editors going over the winning books. If KS is getting a reputation for cranking out books with typos and grammatical errors, I don't want to be part of the program.
I haven't personally seen that in Scout books--but my TBR list is huge, and I'm way behind on it.

Selected authors report that making editorial changes is optional. That raises two questions. First, are the mechanical errors being raised ones the editor missed, or are they ones the editor caught but the author for some reason didn't correct? Second, is it wise to make mechanical changes in the manuscript optional? I'm happy about retaining more creative control than normal, but I would think typos and grammatical errors should just get fixed.

On the other hand, Scout originally only had one round of editing, but someone not so long ago reported four. If that's true, it suggests that Scout may be taking that issue more seriously. I have noticed it's taking Scout books longer to be published lately, and that may be part of the reason. It's also possible that could be a reason Scout has gotten much more selective. The average used to be 7-8 books a month, but I don't think any month after July has had more than three, and the average is around two. Did the editors have bad experiences with the authors not making suggested mechanical changes? There's no way to know, but it could be. Some people had earlier reported mechanical errors as one reason their manuscripts were rejected, which seemed to me like something that could have been fixed during editing--unless it was the editors' experience that authors weren't getting problems fixed that way.

I'm also not sure how widespread the problem is. Obviously, no one can or should cite specific examples in a public forum like this, but consequently, all we have are general statements, or in some cases speculation based on other people's general statements. If I had the time, I'd run through the recently published Scout selections and see, but I really don't have the time at this point.


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