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Messages - kalencap

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Writers' Cafe / Facebook ads during kindle countdown deal
« on: May 09, 2018, 07:47:05 AM »
The kindle countdown deal for "The Ancient Tripod of Peace" is this week. Have a few promotions stacked on the weekdays and it is having its best week, though modest by some posts I've seen.

Question is on running facebook ads and bid prices - how high to go. The facebook ad I have isn't spending its daily, but the CPC won't cover the amount paid per copy even if 100% if I go higher. With other promotions running, is it worth it for the "deal week" to run it higher anyway?

Folks, for those of you who haven't heard - Kindle Scout is officially closing.

Here's the e-mail I just got this afternoon.

Dear valued scout,

As a member of the Kindle Scout voter community, we wanted to let you know of some upcoming changes being made to the Kindle Scout program.

As of April 3rd, Kindle Scout will no longer accept new submissions, and you will no longer be able to start a new Kindle Scout campaign. Once the current campaigns end their voting period, you will have until May 31st to log into your Kindle Scout profile, redeem free copies of your selected nominations, and save any info you may want.

Mike drop...

Interesting, given the recent lack of selections. By the way, while still struggling with initial sales, Saturday was one of the best single days for "The Ancient Tripod of Peace." Still hoping a few more reviews will come in and help its social proof soon for May plans.

So, started a short duration (one week) one today as well - 52 people requesting so seems in line with what others have stated. Mine might be running a little light, but am seeing what happens the first day before posting to a bunch of mystery sites.

Given that this wasn't even an option with the launch of my first novel way back in 2012, thought I'd try it out. Other than getting it listed on goodreads book shelves for requestors, not sure what the advantage of getting so many more to request than what is available. Hoping it results in an eventual review or two since it is a challenge to get someone to break the ice.

So, almost to the 100 request mark at the halfway point. For both the mystery and young adult genres, a week seems to work for seamlessly moving from decent display in the recently listed to the ending soon columns. That is what I was hoping for with a short giveaway of one week (+ a few hours). This way the novel will be in the hands of the recipients quicker as well. Again, that fits better with my goals for it whereas others may have other goals in mind.

Will see if I get more than 100 copies requested, but don't expect much more than that. All postings for this have been free other than the initial giveaway setup.

So, started a short duration (one week) one today as well - 52 people requesting so seems in line with what others have stated. Mine might be running a little light, but am seeing what happens the first day before posting to a bunch of mystery sites.

Given that this wasn't even an option with the launch of my first novel way back in 2012, thought I'd try it out. Other than getting it listed on goodreads book shelves for requestors, not sure what the advantage of getting so many more to request than what is available. Hoping it results in an eventual review or two since it is a challenge to get someone to break the ice.

Trisha, thanks for getting "The Ancient Tripod of Peace" on KU. Glad to know that it is working properly.

Also, the line of yours - "vampire comedy (with cats, of course)" is great!

Letting folks know that the kindle ebook for "The Ancient Tripod of Peace" is live now on kindle after a short preorder time. For those with kindle unlimited, it is free to read, $2.99 otherwise. Believe the link in my signature will take people there.

Thank you to all for your support and sharing of your journeys. Has been an interesting 10 weeks since first listed on kindle scout and here on this forum thread. With one editorial review live from Readers' Favorite, the process now turns to seeking heartfelt reviews.

I still have 3 full on my kindle scout selections and will continue to review here to add others as current ones drop off. Haven't seen one selected for kindle press since before my notice of non selection in mid-February. As others have mentioned, it has been a while.

Finally got my form letter rejection. No feedback, which was disappointing. Mine was a Nano book, plus it took like forever for them to turn it down, so I was kind of hoping. Ah, well.

Sorry yours wasn't picked. Hope you'll let us know when it is launched.

My campaign for Sicarius Soul finished this morning and I'm so relieved. Even though I did all my planning and scheduling before it went live, I spent 30 days obsessively clicking refresh on the Kindle Scout page and tracking my campaign data.

Sicarius Soul is the fifth book in a spinoff series. Notwithstanding the two strikes against it, I was determined to 1) deliver a fantastic book with 2) a great cover through 3) an outstanding Scout campaign. And if Kindle Press still says no, it would not be because of something I'd failed to deliver to the best of my ability.

  • Hot & Trending: 711 hours. It hit the list within 9 hours of going live, and stayed there the whole way through
  • Final count: 9,485 views
  • Highest view: 689 on Day 1, although 673 on Day 13 came close
  • Lowest view: 137 on Day 24
  • 20 of the 30 days delivered more than 200 views
  • Started at 81% internal, 19% external traffic. By the end, it had shifted to 59% internal, 41% external. It had, on Day 27 actually clocked in at 57%/43% but the last few days of mostly internal views shifted the balance back
  • Of the 3,856 external views, my shortlink (that I used on my social media posts and newsletters) delivered 1,846 views. I did use several advertisers, but I drove about half of the external traffic myself through my existing author platform

I have loads more daily data, and I've reached out to all my advertisers for click-through information to calculate ROI. When I have information, I'll share it!

Great stats for your campaign. Good luck.

HI everyone. I just got my rejection through from KindleScout. But it's a pretty nice rejection!  :)  Most of my issues seem to be copy editing, which is shame after I paid for editing services. Need to process this, but probably makes sense for me to get these addressed before publishing (and if anyone has any recommendations for good copy editors then please let me know). In line with the openness of others, here is my feedback.

General comments:
This is an entertaining, well-plotted, and often humourous Fantasy novel, and we think you do a great job making the book politically relevant without clubbing the reader over the noggin with the message. The main reason we’ve decided not to publish it, though, is that it still requires a lot of line editing. While you certainly do demonstrate strong writing chops, there are thousands of sentence-level editing issues that need to be fixed in order for the novel to meet the high expectations of High Fantasy readers, who are a fussy bunch. At 134K words, this will require more intensive editing than we normally provide. We’re not sure what your next plans are for the novel, but if you’re planning on self-publishing it, then we strongly recommend that you invest in one or more rounds of professional line editing, in particular to address the many missing colons and em dashes, the pronoun-antecedent clarity issues, and the other punctuation issues.
Copyediting comments:
•   Your sentences tend to be very complex like little clockworks, often involving multiple semi-independent clauses. While this is a mark of mature writing that is especially appropriate to this genre and which we sincerely admire, it requires an exceptional mastery of punctuation and pronoun-verb agreement in order for the writing to flow well and be easily understandable. Your writing style really requires a lot of colons, semicolons, and em dashes, but you almost never use them, and their absence requires the reader to often have to reread sentences to unpack their meaning and tone. For this novel to make the best possible impression on readers, we think it needs one or two more rounds of line editing. One of these rounds should focus especially on making the text conform to sections 6.82 through 6.87 of The Chicago Manual of Style, which are the em dash and colon conventions that readers are used to seeing in top-tier High Fantasy. Here are those conventions in a nutshell:

1.   When you start a sentence with a statement or declaration, and then finish off the sentence with a clarification of that initial statement, then the clarifying phrase generally needs to be preceded by a colon or single em dash. (Fiction writing tends to treat colons and single em dashes as interchangeable in most contexts, so it’s not usually necessary to obsess over whether you need to use one over the other.)
2.   When you place a clarifying or illuminating detail in the middle of a sentence, this detail often needs em dashes before and after it – commas are not adequate for this job.

Some examples from the text, with some of the corrections boldened and underlined:
o   “But then it occurred to her: would the wizard approve, or would her strike her dead…?”
o   “Eden was already rich and well-connected – you don’t lead the Second without the connections to begin at captain when others start digging the latrines – but he made a pretty penny out of the liberation.”
o   “And Fiske is quite dull – can you imagine having a judge as lord protector?” (This could also just be broken into two sentences.)
o   “I will introduce you as my bagman – a place of respect, you understand – that will allow you to remain with me during the meeting.”
o   “Left raised to the first bolt: it was deflected away, an inch from his palm.”
o   “I’ve been on the streets with the guard – I’ve seen them, and I don’t recognize any colors or markings to identify them.”
o   “Creeping across rooftops had never been Mareth’s strong point suit, and carrying a metal pail of hot coals was not helping his balance or his attention, either – the heat only just bearable through his gloved hand.”
•   The manuscript would also really benefit from some close editing to improve pronoun-antecedent agreement. You tend to use a lot of discrete clauses in your sentences, which requires particularly keen attention to making sure that the sentences pronouns, verbs, and all modifiers are grammatically clear, otherwise the reader has to frequently stop and reread the sentences to be able to fully understand them. Again, authors who use more straightforward, simplistic styles tend to not have to worry so much about this kind of thing, but your sentences often express more than one idea, and this style requires an extraordinary level of editing to pull off so that they don’t unduly fatigue the reader. On the flip side, the rewards of editing complex sentences like yours well are immense, because they demonstrate to the reader that your storytelling is complex, yet easily accessible.

Just a couple representative examples of many:
o   “Closing her eyes, she saw her mother’s body impaled by the demon’s talons, screaming at the injustice of life.” This doesn’t work well because “her mother’s body” sounds lifeless, and so is an unintuitive subject for the verb “screaming”. This would be easier to read as “Closing her eyes, she saw her mother – her body impaled by the demon’s talons – screaming at the injustice of life.”
o   “In fact, if there had been a viable alternative, he would have avoided it.” This is problematic because the whole point of the sentence is that he would have taken a viable alternative, had there been one.
•   There are also a large number of garden-variety comma errors, as well as hyphenation and compounding errors, and some “little word” errors that we think would be worth investing the extra effort into fixing. Just a few examples:
o   “Around the cat’s neck was the gem she had traveled such a long distance to obtain, the object of years of research to track it down.”
o   “I underestimated you, girl.”
o   “Anything else to report, Aebur?” (There are a lot of missing direct address commas like this one – see CMoS section 6.38 for more guidance.)
o   “[crap]-eating grin”
o   “straight forward tastes” should be “straightforward tastes”
o   “above-ground people”
o   “ram shackle” should be “ramshackle”
o   “The warlock is behind this, then.”
o   “Dear, Duke, you must have misheard me.”
o   “…our navy will continue to be the best in on the seas.”
o   “…chants of, “Eden’s Silver”, from below.”
o   “Well, if that wasn’t a sign”
o   “Never has a group of ramblers, traipsing over farm land, tried to be so careful” (Also, “farm land” should be “farmland”.)
o   “Dwarves were filling stout barrels of with water….”
o   “they passed off for other pirates”
•   “…a human male body but with the legs, feet, and hands of a bird of prey.” Hands of a bird of prey?
•   For what it’s worth, we can find no evidence online that the term “hedge” was ever used outside of the works of George Martin for the context you’re using it in. Admittedly, we only did a quick Google search, and so we beg your pardon if you’ve researched this more deeply than we have. But if we are correct, then this makes your use of the term sound too obviously derivative of Martin, and so you might consider not using it in order to avoid this comparison. Likewise, the term “mana” for magical energy has a fairly recent history that is traceable directly back to Dungeons & Dragons, and so you might consider inventing a less well-worn term so that die-hard High Fantasy readers are not so likely to see it as derivative.
•   The maps at the beginning of the book are outstanding, but they’re not formatted well for legibility on black-and-white e-readers. We recommend using larger and higher-definition versions of the image files, as well as formatting them as PNGs instead of JPGs.
Marketing comments:
•   Your cover design is beautiful, and the birds, smoke, and glowering shadows are very effective for conveying a sense of compelling tension. Here’s some food for thought, though: the story and writing style remind us of Terry Pratchett, but this doesn’t really look like a Terry Pratchett cover, and so if you’re hoping to make it clear to Pratchett fans that they will like this book, then what’s your plan for doing that? You’re probably not going to want to change the cover as it’s obviously very expensive (and eye-catching, too, which is hugely important), so to our thinking, this will require you to make sure that the book description and any other marketing text you create make it very clear that while the cover design looks like super-serious, old-school High Fantasy, that the story’s tone has a Pratchett-esque levity that the cover image doesn’t convey.

That's great feedback. Overall, I'd see that as encouraging.

You can call customer support and have them change it. Sometimes changing your keywords in KDP will change the categories, but it might be simpler to call Customer support.

Echo that. I just added a sub-sub category. Of course, that only helps if there are sales happening. My ebook goes live next week. (I have a few things lined up, not necessarily in the order you are supposed to, but we shall see what happens.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A New AMS Thread
« on: March 07, 2018, 07:48:15 PM »
Update --It finally showed up on my KDP graph ten days after appearing on the AMS graph!  :D

10 days? Ugh. That is hard to track.

I finally got my rejection email for hypnoSnatch this afternoon on day 13. I'd been expecting it after reading posts here in the last few days about new staff since August, and must have website, blog, Instagram, etc., so I'd already gone through feeling the disappointment by then (mostly). Of course, the good thing about not being selected is being able to publish as soon as I make some edits instead of having to wait 3 months.
I plan to make the book free for the first day or two so everyone who nominated can still get a free copy if I can figure out how to coordinate that with KS's notification.
Originally, I was going to publish at the end of January and really looking forward to it. I had never heard of Kindle Scout. For 3 years, I'd been seeing the KS banner on my KDP book sales report page flash in front of my eyes every time I refreshed the page, but I always ignored it. The name didn't appeal to me; I think it reminded me of the boy and girl scouts. About a week or so before I planned to publish, my computer was running slow maybe, and I got a closer look at it. So I tried it, not knowing that it would take over my life for the next 45 days. I don't regret that because I've learned a lot about marketing, my book got a lot of publicity, and I'm sure I'll sell more than I ever would have without having gone through this. Mostly what I've learned is how much I still have to learn. But the best part was this community of people offering advice and encouragement all along the way.  Thanks everyone, and good luck with all your books however you end up publishing them :)

Sorry yours wasn't selected. It was day 13 to receive mine, too.

At least a bunch of us within the past two months appear to be self-publishing ours before spring. So, we can see each other's works on the other side of these projects.

Sorry Cleopatra wasn't selected. Hope to see it up on Amazon soon.

Congratulations! Quite the achievement.

Nominated a couple others as entries entered the waiting room.

Gearing up for the ebook soft launch in 10 days. (Though I keep adding promo plans. Still more of a soft initial launch though.)

Tasche: I thought your story was very sweet, and I look forward to reading it when you publish.

Kalen: I tried to pre-order your book on KU, but it didn't work, so I'll get it in two weeks.

Georgiana: I got your book on KU and will start reading it soon.

RD: I just finished reading Knight School and will do the review soon. I'll give you 5 stars since you say you fixed what I complained about, but I'm going to trust you and not read the whole thing again.

A quote from my FaceBook friend Andy's post for Day 7 in the waiting room:

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us." -- Franz Kafka

Thanks. I've had a number of pre-orders go through, but later on is appreciated as well.

By the way, already had The Lost Tomb of Cleopatra and nominated Vic Boyo as well today.

Placed my order. :)

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Breathing a big sigh of relief to be on my final day. Thanks to everyone for all your support. Feeling the love, and I'll be passing it along as my slots open.

Yay! Nominated yours sometime ago. Good luck.

(Ooh. And it is nice to finally have two ebooks in my signature.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:43:00 PM »
Hey Everyone,

I got my feedback from the Kindle Scout editors. CLOSURE was not selected for publication. The book is autobiographical in nature and does say "based on a true story" on the cover, but they said it's not "fiction-y" enough and that perhaps I should market it as a memoir instead. I marketed it as fiction because I didn't want to use my real name, and I changed the names of all the people to protect their privacy. Sigh. If I still want to market it as fiction, they're saying I need to make a lot of changes--major rewrites.

I'll be in the corner licking my wounds for a bit.


Sorry it wasn't selected. Hope some of the feedback is helpful though.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: February 26, 2018, 05:21:11 AM »
Hey, hope everyone's campaigns are going well.

Not selected by Kindle Press, the ebook for "The Ancient Tripod of Peace" is available for a short pre-order, released March 13. See - . Plan to have kindle countdown deal in May 6 - 12 for it.

Moving along with it. My current nominations are full, but will check in again after those clear.

At what price do you plan to launch? There are a number of promo sites with short lead times, and there are a few that take books at $2.99 and even $3.99 if you're planning to launch at full price. Granted, few readers that subscribe to the newsletters are willing to pay full price for a book, but if you're in Select you may pick up some KU readers. You may want to use AMS as well if you're launching at full price.

Working on this myself. Yay, I’m just getting an idea of KU, since didn’t use on first novel. May not have been an option in 2012. Planning to launch ebook full ( at 2.99) and see how ku does. My first deal date is 0.99 on May 6 - 12 as planned, corresponding to Biggest Week in American Birding along Lake Erie with kindle countdown if everything loads right. Hope with the pricing that I can try ams ads and BookBub cpm ads (the paid ads, not the special listing most try for with the high reject rate). Probably use Facebook ads as well. Other than initial sales, will try to focus on review seeking through April.

That is the gist of a plan. Will try some promos to learn and see what happens before emphasizing the kindle countdown week in May as more of a hard launch after the soft launch March 13th. Will let folks know if I get preorder up okay and finalized.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: February 23, 2018, 05:55:46 PM »
Believe it or not, I already got the rejection notice along with extremely detailed feedback for Wards and Wonders, proving that books that look like strong contenders are read during the campaign.

Essentially, the editors' issues with my book revolve around two things. First, this is book one of a spin-off series, and they cited examples of things they felt needed more explanation for those who had not read the original series. It's tricky to know what to include for new readers when you're so familiar with the story yourself. Some things seemed like optional information or backstory to me, but the editors wanted more details, and I agreed with many of the items they mentioned. Second, which is the greater problem, I have a number of plot threads that won't be fully resolved until the end of the series, and they felt the story would be more compelling to new readers with more focus on one central plot point. In fact, they recommended moving up events that will be covered in book two, and I really don't think that will work, especially since the book is already over 90K words. I will need to read their letter a number of times and give it serious thought. The book is formatted and ready to publish, and while I don't mind adding small bits of explanatory information, I'm not in favor of altering the plot extensively.

They noted that my writing is extremely smooth and professional and the editing is excellent, which was good to hear. I'm really glad to get their decision so quickly so I can get to work on what ever changes I decide to make.     

That's great you received feedback. Sorry you weren't selected. Hope all goes well with your release.

I'm getting ready to move mine to publication (if the file uploads work out) sans feedback. Must not have appealed enough to the editor team. Knew with multiple POV it would be a stretch, but some readers seem to like it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: February 22, 2018, 03:22:28 PM »
Steve, hope you feel better soon.

Billingsgate, some services help get into H & T. I think it is safe to say time in H & T gets another set of eyeballs on entries outside of the genre lists. During murky middle, my entry only kept up page views while in H & T. So, one advantage of H&T is more page views. That doesn’t necessarily correlate with kindle press picking the title, but it is a preview promo benefit. My internal page views to external were about three to one. So, for every one person I brought in with ads or posts amazon’s kindle scout gave me three. Trust me, a kindle pre-order listing on Amazon is not going to be nearly as discoverable as on scout. So, promotional exposure wise, I’m content with my ad spend for scout (proportionately the majority in Facebook). But, my goals wouldn’t necessarily be the same as yours.

Wish everyone well on your campaigns. This is a good group of supportive authors on this forum (and rational, yay. That is not true if everywhere.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: February 22, 2018, 03:04:21 PM »
I was just curious as to people's experiences with the time it takes to get approved/rejected.  The campaign for my urban fantasy novel "Red Chords" ended on Feb 11.  I had heard 5 - 7 days was normal, with 15 days being an outside max.  It seems like I am on day 11 and my campaign still shows as under review.  I guess with the in-depth feedback, their workload must be higher.  Thoughts and experience welcome.


8 PM of day 13 was mine. I’m guessing you’ll hear tomorrow or Monday.

Have not received feedback yet, so maybe I’m not on that list (6 days after that now). Will likely try to load it as is after tomorrow. Plan to set for preorder a bit with days remaining for a further edit if actionable prior to launch if feedback comes late. Seeing how others proceed has been helpful. (Already set an event ad buy for something in print for May to correspond to kindle countdown deal, so don’t want to dally too long.) Files are ready to submit, but was hoping for a bit of feedback to use. Will see.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Am I doing my launch all wrong?
« on: February 22, 2018, 02:48:47 PM »
Are you saying you haven't let KS send out the email that your book is available? If so, I would do that. I've done two KS campaigns (neither successfully accepted) and I've read most of that thread. I think there're some great points about Also Boughts made over there, but a lot of them are by authors with lots of books. If this is your only one, it probably isn't as important. I would let everyone know about the book and then worry about the Also Boughts later. Also, there are some email advertisers that will let you use their services as a new release without having any reviews. Have you checked out the "My Book Wasn't Selected by Kindle Scout Now What" thread here? That might be helpful (that might not be the exact name but if you search for Kindle Scout threads it will come up.)
I got a lot of sales and even some reviews by fellow KS participants who saw my book while they were campaigning and liked it enough to read it, so don't miss out on the opportunity to let them know you've published.

Would echo this. Go for your personal goals and let go of all the “supposed-to-do’s” otherwise. The nominations from those 5000 is page views are only going to keep your preview in mind so long.

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