Author Topic: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)  (Read 2037845 times)  

Offline sceptique

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23850 on: January 19, 2018, 01:29:05 PM »
Got the feedback.
Some of the highlights:

"You're an all-around excellent writer, and your command of setting and character development are particularly good. However, your narrative voice strikes us as far too "adult" for a YA novel: it's a much more formal voice than is typical for a commercially-successful YA novel, and the cultural references are obscure and out-of-date by contemporary YA standards."

A few of my beta-readers are going to say: "Told ya so."
I've heard a few times that "this is not a YA novel, market it as 'General Sci-Fi' where it belongs."
I guess I'll do just that. ;)

There are also a few more suggestions for improvement related to plotting and structure.
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation - you can't fix the novel problem spots until they turn you down because of them.

So, let's see how it does on the "grown-up sci-fi" market.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 01:39:23 PM by sceptique »
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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23851 on: January 19, 2018, 02:39:26 PM »
Got the feedback.
Some of the highlights:

"You're an all-around excellent writer, and your command of setting and character development are particularly good. However, your narrative voice strikes us as far too "adult" for a YA novel: it's a much more formal voice than is typical for a commercially-successful YA novel, and the cultural references are obscure and out-of-date by contemporary YA standards."

A few of my beta-readers are going to say: "Told ya so."
I've heard a few times that "this is not a YA novel, market it as 'General Sci-Fi' where it belongs."
I guess I'll do just that. ;)

There are also a few more suggestions for improvement related to plotting and structure.
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation - you can't fix the novel problem spots until they turn you down because of them.

So, let's see how it does on the "grown-up sci-fi" market.

Congrats on the excellent feedback! You'd think they could have accepted it and just changed the categories. But I guess they may not have been looking for an adult sci-fi this month or something.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 06:51:04 PM by MelanieCellier »

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Offline Arches

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23852 on: January 19, 2018, 03:33:41 PM »
Congrats on the excellent feedback! Youd think they could have accepted it and just changed the categories. But I guess they may not have been looking for an adult sci-fi this month or something.

I think a lot of the feedback Scout authors are getting is intended to be helpful but not necessarily to explain why a book was rejected. The editors aren't stupid, and they have to know when a simple fix is available that they could accept the book subject to it being fixed. In my case, the critique pointed out a dozen things that could be improved, and it took me less than two hours to address those issues.

Instead of seeing the critique as an explanation, maybe it's better to see it as a gift to help the author self-publish more successfully.

Offline Simply_J

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23853 on: January 19, 2018, 05:01:21 PM »
Got the feedback.
Some of the highlights:

"You're an all-around excellent writer, and your command of setting and character development are particularly good. However, your narrative voice strikes us as far too "adult" for a YA novel: it's a much more formal voice than is typical for a commercially-successful YA novel, and the cultural references are obscure and out-of-date by contemporary YA standards."

A few of my beta-readers are going to say: "Told ya so."
I've heard a few times that "this is not a YA novel, market it as 'General Sci-Fi' where it belongs."
I guess I'll do just that. ;)

There are also a few more suggestions for improvement related to plotting and structure.
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation - you can't fix the novel problem spots until they turn you down because of them.

So, let's see how it does on the "grown-up sci-fi" market.

Not too far away from what any NY editor would say. I guess, an editor, is an editor. And a publishing contract with an advance still requires the same as usual. I saw that you already changed the book's category, I honesty don't think that's the issue. Yes, I know your beta readers think the same way as does the editor.

One of the reasons I like The Commander's Daughter so much, is because it has an anime vibe, that reminds me of when I had time to watch anime. 

Well, here it goes my unsolicited opinion (feel free to ignore it, if it doesn't add anything helpful).

I agree with the editor that you are an excellent writer, and develop well the characters. But I respectfully disagree with the whole 'it's a much more formal voice than is typical for a commercially-successful YA novel, and the cultural references are obscure and out-of-date by contemporary YA standards'.

The cultural references can be edited/replace. The voice? I read some of the previous books selected for publication in the same YA sci-fi sub-genre, and there are a couple of differences I noticed. The POV, usually is first person present. What the story is really about, and the conflict, are both stated clearly in the blur, and the first chapter. The background information is minimum, and if there is any action, is already happening in the first chapter too.

I suggest an experiment, that I just did. I read again The Commander's Daughter excerpt, and mentally I changed the POV from third person present to first person present. And that changed so much that I'm still surprised!

Please give it a try, and you will see what I mean. In first person, the narrative becomes poignant, and there are words that you might feel the need to replace, because of how intimate the voice sound. So, any 'formality' is gone. And, there are too many Japanese sentences. I know what most of those mean, but the average KU reader probably doesn't. I hope this helps.

Offline Simply_J

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23854 on: January 19, 2018, 05:19:55 PM »
I think a lot of the feedback Scout authors are getting is intended to be helpful but not necessarily to explain why a book was rejected. The editors aren't stupid, and they have to know when a simple fix is available that they could accept the book subject to it being fixed. In my case, the critique pointed out a dozen things that could be improved, and it took me less than two hours to address those issues.

Instead of seeing the critique as an explanation, maybe it's better to see it as a gift to help the author self-publish more successfully.

I agree with you. It's a matter of taking the positive and keep going on.

What do you guys think of asking the moderators, to allow individual threads for authors to have the submission critique 'before' submitting to Kindle Scout?

So, authors could get suggestions /feedback/ while they can still do something to improve the submission? We are already doing that with blurs and covers, so a 5000 word read shouldn't be a problem.

I'm suggestion this, because many authors in this board could help, thanks to the experience acquired by years submitting to editors. Many of us, myself included, gave submitting to editors a try, before self-publishing, and some of us, are hybrids too.

We learned the hard way for example, that too much information, very little dialogue and character interaction, would get us a rejection. And that is one of the issues I found in common among most of the nominated books that had not been selected. Sometimes beta readers would not say anything, or don't know any better. A fellow author, would tell because he/she knows the consequences of not killing the darlings. By the way, usually there is no need to kill any paragraph, just moving them further and divide them would be a fix.

Anyway, speaking of paragraph, I have some of them to create, I'll see you later.

Offline kalencap

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23855 on: January 19, 2018, 09:11:49 PM »
Got the feedback.
Some of the highlights:

"You're an all-around excellent writer, and your command of setting and character development are particularly good. However, your narrative voice strikes us as far too "adult" for a YA novel: it's a much more formal voice than is typical for a commercially-successful YA novel, and the cultural references are obscure and out-of-date by contemporary YA standards."



There are also a few more suggestions for improvement related to plotting and structure.
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation - you can't fix the novel problem spots until they turn you down because of them.

So, let's see how it does on the "grown-up sci-fi" market.

Thanks for sharing a bit of your feedback. Crossovers can do well. Glad to see your preorder availability up on Amazon.

Offline Jill James

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23856 on: January 19, 2018, 10:13:56 PM »
Pushed the submit button on Kindle Scout for Ghostly Intentions tonight. I feel as nervous as I did when I was doing query letters to editors and agents!
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Offline sceptique

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23857 on: January 19, 2018, 10:49:54 PM »
Thanks, Simply_J! A lot of excellent ideas here.

To be honest, I'd be surprised if the book was chosen, knowing what I know about it's content. :)

You are right, this is, essentially, an "otaku" book, and "otaku" are not a mass market by definition.

There are some editorial suggestions, that make take some time to implement (like changes to the plot structure).
But the suggestions for book marketing might be an easier fix. Here are some more, if you are interested:

Marketing comments:

         Youve chosen some YA categories for the books marketing, but there are several aspects of the content that are inconsistent with many YA readers expectations for the genre, and so you might consider modifying either the content or your marketing strategy in the interest of best meeting readers expectations:

o   While there are many notable exceptions to this, most commercially-successful contemporary YA novels use a first-person narrator, or at least adopt a more young adult perspective. For example, the references to The King and I and Viktor Frankl are more consistent with the narrative voice of a book being marketed to middle-aged readers than to YA readers.

o   Compared to most contemporary YA, an unusually high proportion of this novels content is devoted to the adult characters discussing their adult conflicts with other adults. From a Sci-Fi worldbuilding perspective this is fantastic because it enhances the novels sense of scope and realism, but YA readers are mostly interested in seeing the story through the young adult protagonists perspective, and these scenes (particularly the ones featuring Stan and Takura) have a thoroughly adult point of view. Should you publish the book and find that YA readers are not drawn to the content, you might consider dropping the YA categories and simply marketing the book as non-YA Sci-Fi. (In which case, you might also consider changing the cover design to de-emphasize the protagonists age.)

o   To our eye, the cover design looks more like a line drawing than is perhaps ideal: the black shape outlines are very prominent, and the color shading looks a bit flat and painted on. We think that readers will be more likely to consider purchasing this book if the cover art is further refined so that it has a more photorealistic appearance. Furthermore, most readers will only ever see the books cover at thumbnail size, and many will only see it in grayscale, and so we recommend proofing the illustration and lettering to those parameters, as well.

  One more comment on the cover design: the gun in Harvies hand seems too old-fashioned compared to the way the guns are described in the story.
Kindle Scout campaign -
"The Commander's Daughter" (HARVIE Book One)
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3S650OYOVGEFS

Offline Brigitta Moon

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23858 on: January 19, 2018, 11:01:45 PM »
Thanks, Simply_J! A lot of excellent ideas here.

To be honest, I'd be surprised if the book was chosen, knowing what I know about it's content. :)

You are right, this is, essentially, an "otaku" book, and "otaku" are not a mass market by definition.

There are some editorial suggestions, that make take some time to implement (like changes to the plot structure).
But the suggestions for book marketing might be an easier fix. Here are some more, if you are interested:

Marketing comments:

         Youve chosen some YA categories for the books marketing, but there are several aspects of the content that are inconsistent with many YA readers expectations for the genre, and so you might consider modifying either the content or your marketing strategy in the interest of best meeting readers expectations:

o   While there are many notable exceptions to this, most commercially-successful contemporary YA novels use a first-person narrator, or at least adopt a more young adult perspective. For example, the references to The King and I and Viktor Frankl are more consistent with the narrative voice of a book being marketed to middle-aged readers than to YA readers.

o   Compared to most contemporary YA, an unusually high proportion of this novels content is devoted to the adult characters discussing their adult conflicts with other adults. From a Sci-Fi worldbuilding perspective this is fantastic because it enhances the novels sense of scope and realism, but YA readers are mostly interested in seeing the story through the young adult protagonists perspective, and these scenes (particularly the ones featuring Stan and Takura) have a thoroughly adult point of view. Should you publish the book and find that YA readers are not drawn to the content, you might consider dropping the YA categories and simply marketing the book as non-YA Sci-Fi. (In which case, you might also consider changing the cover design to de-emphasize the protagonists age.)

o   To our eye, the cover design looks more like a line drawing than is perhaps ideal: the black shape outlines are very prominent, and the color shading looks a bit flat and painted on. We think that readers will be more likely to consider purchasing this book if the cover art is further refined so that it has a more photorealistic appearance. Furthermore, most readers will only ever see the books cover at thumbnail size, and many will only see it in grayscale, and so we recommend proofing the illustration and lettering to those parameters, as well.

  One more comment on the cover design: the gun in Harvies hand seems too old-fashioned compared to the way the guns are described in the story.

I always wondered if they actually read all of the books. Based on your feedback, I would have to say they do. I hope your book does well on Kdp. 11,000 views is a huge audience.

Offline Steve Vernon

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23859 on: January 20, 2018, 12:51:47 AM »
Okay, so it's Saturday. I've got today off as well.

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

1 day left Cutie by Peter Stein
5 days left An Occupied Grave by A.G. Barnett
7 days left Island on Fire by Sophie Schiller
7 days left Knight School by Robert G. Culp
7 days left The Thief's Son by Jose Carlos Antunes
8 days left Blood Will Tell by Colleen S. Myers
12 days left Acts of God and Other Damage by Missy Wilkinson
12 days left Secret of the Lost Key by Paul Kilmartin
13 days left Angels In The Basement by Kristi Lane
13 days left The Human Dilemma by Rupert Exavier Moore
14 days left The Ancient Tripod of Peace by Kalen Cap
14 days left My Love Is Vengeance by Georgiana Derwent
22 days left Justified Sins by Brian Drae
22 days left Imperfect Li(v)es by SA Krishnan
28 days left Electric Gardens by M. Black

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!

PS: Don't forget, if you HAVEN'T been selected for Kindle Scout and you are wondering what to do next you can get just as much help from the "My Book Wasn't Accepted For Kindle Scout - Now What?" thread. Even if you already know what you are going to do I guarantee you'll get an awful lot of support from the gang over there!

Check it out - https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,243477.0.html


Offline Peter Stein

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23860 on: January 20, 2018, 02:44:48 AM »
A note on the cover for The Commanders daughter. Whenever I grade a cover I use three measurements. a) Design, style b) a face in the crowd or unique? c) grab-appeal (is it something that makes you wanna reach out and look more closely)

I'd say that even if TCD has slightly low points on a) that is actually a cause for increase in b) and c).

One of the things I absolutely love about the cover is that one a first look you can see that there is something 'off' with the picture of the girl. That increases the grab-appeal. Now I am intrigued. There is more to discuss, composition etc but I'll leave it at that.

Even if a genre change is condidered I think the girl is a keeper.

Offline Kay7979

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23861 on: January 20, 2018, 03:03:49 AM »
Pushed the submit button on Kindle Scout for Ghostly Intentions tonight. I feel as nervous as I did when I was doing query letters to editors and agents!

I submitted mine last night, too. Good luck with yours and don't stress. Come what may, it's great exposure for your work.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 05:42:55 AM by Kay7979 »

Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23862 on: January 20, 2018, 04:01:28 AM »
Quick question for those who've published through Scout/Kindle Press: When someone who has nominated your book actually downloads their free copy, it counts as a sale in the Amazon ecosystem as far as we can tell, correct? So, you get a ranking boost from it, etc? (Not including royalties, of course.)

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Offline georgiana89

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23863 on: January 20, 2018, 04:23:00 AM »
They certainly do read all shortlisted books, and quite thoroughly at that.

Does anyone know whether there's a set definition of what "shortlisted" means? I suppose that most of the time, you wouldn't know whether or not you'd been shortlisted, but the current promotion where shortlisted books get feedback and others don't means there must be a line drawn somewhere.

 Is it a case of getting a set number of views/H&T hours/nominations etc? Or is it, rather like selection seems to be, entirely at the editors' discretion? Or is the whole thing as shrouded in mystery as everything else about the process?!

Offline georgiana89

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23864 on: January 20, 2018, 04:25:46 AM »

There are some editorial suggestions, that make take some time to implement (like changes to the plot structure).
But the suggestions for book marketing might be an easier fix. Here are some more, if you are interested:


Sorry to hear you didn't get chosen. But that sounds like helpful feedback and as though they really engaged with the book, rather than dismissing it out of hand. I find it both fascinating and a little odd that they go into so much detail about the cover.

Anyway, good look with the self-pubbing. Like I said before, I'm sure you'll have a strong launch after all the pre-publicity you most have gained with this campaign.

Offline georgiana89

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23865 on: January 20, 2018, 04:55:40 AM »


What do you guys think of asking the moderators, to allow individual threads for authors to have the submission critique 'before' submitting to Kindle Scout?

So, authors could get suggestions /feedback/ while they can still do something to improve the submission? We are already doing that with blurs and covers, so a 5000 word read shouldn't be a problem.

I'm suggestion this, because many authors in this board could help, thanks to the experience acquired by years submitting to editors. Many of us, myself included, gave submitting to editors a try, before self-publishing, and some of us, are hybrids too.


I think this would be a great idea. I've done a lot of CP-ing/beta reading and received and acted on a lot of feedback on my novels too, and I'd be happy to give my thoughts on people's entries pre-submission. And indeed, I'd be keen to get views on any subsequent novels I decide to enter.

In the meantime, where's the thread you mentioned where people comment on covers and blurbs before they are submitted?

Offline ronesa_aveela

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23866 on: January 20, 2018, 06:02:23 AM »
Pushed the submit button on Kindle Scout for Ghostly Intentions tonight. I feel as nervous as I did when I was doing query letters to editors and agents!

Good luck. May the gods of KindleScout be with you. :)

Offline ronesa_aveela

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23867 on: January 20, 2018, 06:08:23 AM »
I submitted mine last night, too. Good luck with yours and don't stress. Come what may, it's great exposure for your work.

Wishing you lots of luck with your campaign, too. :)

Offline Missy Wilkinson

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23868 on: January 20, 2018, 08:17:04 AM »
Thanks, Sceptique, for sharing that feedback. Your experience has taught me a lot about what editors are looking for--solid, tightly-plotted books that fit a distinct genre.

Knowing this, I feel less optimistic about my chances. My book is a revised MFA thesis that I didn't write to genre. It has vaguely literary aspirations. However, my numbers are back up after a week off the hot & trending list. I credit this entirely to Jessica Rose's services at Best Indie Press (http://unbouncepages.com/bestindiepress_kindlescout/?utm_source=jessicaemailsignature&utm_medium=email&utm_content=jessicaemailsignature). At $200 for a four-day promotion, it is not cheap, but just check out these stats. (My promo went live on Jan. 16.)



Here's the campaign, if you're inclined to check it out: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/F2NAYVTGPPX7
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 08:20:51 AM by Missy Wilkinson »

Offline SadieRiley

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23869 on: January 20, 2018, 08:29:26 AM »
Thanks for everyone who nominated FIGHTING TO WIN. My campaign is in review, and I'm thinking about next steps. If it's not selected I haven't decided what I'll do with the book. It seems that most publish on Amazon immediately. Is that correct?

The email I wrote in the beginning that automatically goes to all nominators is horrible and has no call to action. But what is my call to action if I haven't decided what will happen with the book? When do they typically send this out, and will they let me modify it? If anyone is interested in stats here they are:

6.2k Views
392 hour in H and T

If this post sounds confusing, its because I am confused. :)

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23870 on: January 20, 2018, 08:46:40 AM »
Does anyone know whether there's a set definition of what "shortlisted" means? I suppose that most of the time, you wouldn't know whether or not you'd been shortlisted, but the current promotion where shortlisted books get feedback and others don't means there must be a line drawn somewhere.

 Is it a case of getting a set number of views/H&T hours/nominations etc? Or is it, rather like selection seems to be, entirely at the editors' discretion? Or is the whole thing as shrouded in mystery as everything else about the process?!
It's shrouded in mystery.

There was speculation about a month ago that number of nominations had something to do with shortlisting. Well, not exactly speculation--a Scout employee, in responding to questions, actually said it did. I'm skeptical mostly because the inner workings aren't usually revealed, and at least one book got selected with zero hours in HT, which means very few nominations. I'm inclined to think the employee response may have been misinformed.

I think every book must get at least a glance. I'm now suspecting only the shortlisted titles get full reads. In those cases, they get very full reads.


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Offline Kay7979

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23871 on: January 20, 2018, 09:26:07 AM »
Quick question for those who've published through Scout/Kindle Press: When someone who has nominated your book actually downloads their free copy, it counts as a sale in the Amazon ecosystem as far as we can tell, correct? So, you get a ranking boost from it, etc? (Not including royalties, of course.)

Hopefully someone else will answer your question, but as far as I know, it works like someone buying a book you have on preorder. So, yes, it should favorably impact your sales rank.

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23872 on: January 20, 2018, 09:41:22 AM »
Hopefully someone else will answer your question, but as far as I know, it works like someone buying a book you have on preorder. So, yes, it should favorably impact your sales rank.
I also believe that's the case.


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Offline Steve Vernon

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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23873 on: January 20, 2018, 10:00:02 AM »
Quick question for those who've published through Scout/Kindle Press: When someone who has nominated your book actually downloads their free copy, it counts as a sale in the Amazon ecosystem as far as we can tell, correct? So, you get a ranking boost from it, etc? (Not including royalties, of course.)

Yup. Ranking is initially set by that first big rush of downloads - which is ANOTHER reason to push like all get-out for a lot of nominations.

Offline Steve Vernon

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  • Kindle Scout Kahuna since 2015
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Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« Reply #23874 on: January 20, 2018, 10:09:24 AM »
Does anyone know whether there's a set definition of what "shortlisted" means? I suppose that most of the time, you wouldn't know whether or not you'd been shortlisted, but the current promotion where shortlisted books get feedback and others don't means there must be a line drawn somewhere.

 Is it a case of getting a set number of views/H&T hours/nominations etc? Or is it, rather like selection seems to be, entirely at the editors' discretion? Or is the whole thing as shrouded in mystery as everything else about the process?!

When I got my initial telephone call from Kindle Press to let me know what would be happening with my book I was told that the primary factor in being selected was "Have you written a good, well-crafted, genre-specific, salable novel".  Hot and trending is a small factor, although Kindle Press DOES certainly value high Hot and Trending, simply because the higher your Hot and Trending was - the better your initial ranking would be and the likelier your chances of receiving a good amount of early reviews.

KELPIE DREAMS was my second Scout submission and I promoted the heck out of it. Mind you, I probably only spent $20 to $30 on the marketing side of things. I made up for my lack of a promotional budget with a whole lot of sweat equity. I blogged everyday about the process and experience. I Facebooked like the God of all exhibitionists. I Tweeted like a flock of parakeets on speed. I scribbled NOMINATE MY BOOK in every men's room in Halifax.

So - write the best that you can manage. Write something that CLEARLY fits on a bookshelf - that is, something that fits squarely into a given popular genre. Do NOT write something that is too quirky and/or obscure and/or multi-genre.

And then get out there and hustle!