Thursday, March 31, 2016

What about Kindle Scout?

Hi everyone! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I currently have a Kindle Scout (KS for short) campaign running for my latest release, ZACK'S RANCH. Since launching the campaign, I've learned a few things I wasn't aware of before submitting my book. You can decide if they're pro or con.

Once a book is approved via KS, it is automatically enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program where members can read for free and authors earn some sort of collective royalty. I'm not too familiar with that program, but I intend to learn more. If you're familiar with it, please share!

Another thing I've learned is that anyone who nominates the book can get the book at no charge once it's published. I'm sure that's a big plus for readers.

One negative for KS is that its campaign links don't always work well. I was told they work best with Firefox, but it's certainly not the most common browser. If a clickable link leads to an error page, the user must cut and paste or try another browser. Technical support is slow to respond and often replies with a general "this is how it works" response rather than addressing a specific problem.

Since most of my thoughts on the program are strictly conjecture, I should put in a little disclaimer now. I really have no idea how Amazon decides which titles get published. At first, I thought it was just a popularity contest. If readers liked it enough to make a nomination, the book would be published (providing the cover and writing were acceptable). But that may not be the case.

When I make a daily check on my submission, I see how many votes it's garnered, but the statistics are far more extensive. I'm guessing there's an Amazon algorithm that keeps track of many contributing factors, including how many hours a book is on a hot and trending list, what percentage of nominations come from external links versus the KS community, what variety of URLs bring the readers to the page. There's a listing of direct traffic from web mail, bookmarks, cut/paste, etc. There's also a listing of URLs from various social media websites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and personal websites. Lots and lots of factors to consider.

Supposedly, once my 30 day campaign is finished, the KS editorial team will decide if ZACK'S RANCH, should be published. Then it will be another 30 or so days before the book goes live on Amazon. I'm not sure how much the quality of  my writing or the subject matter will count since contemporary westerns are a very small niche in the romance genre, and an even smaller niche in popular fiction.

At this point, I'm torn between wanting my book to succeed with KS for the wide-spread exposure and wanting to make it available for my readers before the summer season. Now that the commitment is made, I'll have to wait, watch and learn.


For those who nominated ZACK'S RANCH, my heartfelt thanks!

For those who wanted to vote, but had trouble, please try cutting and pasting. I'll keep you posted as my campaign progresses. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3P7JVACJNJZU4

There's also a clickable link on my website at BeckyBarker.com

Until next time, take care and keep reading!

Hugs, Becky

21 comments:

  1. Good luck, Becky. Interesting program.

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    1. Thanks, Jan. I do most everything by trial and error, so I hope the trials pay off in the end.

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  2. It IS interesting. I'm anxious to hear how it goes for people--well, for writers.

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    1. Me, too, Liz. LOL. I wish I knew someone who's been through the process. I'd like to share notes.

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  3. I have to admit I found KS a maze, which I negotiated poorly, delaying my book for a month or more. I finally offered to write a list of instructions & information for KS authors once I'd been through the whole process! I even had to fill in new payment information in spite of having been a KDP author since 2011. Aargh! BUT once thru the rigamarole, they paid promptly. Unlike KDP, however, the only way to track sales is through the numbered listings on your author page. Not as easy as with KDP. But I'm convinced my Futuristic/Paranormal would never have been noticed if it hadn't been taken up by KS.

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  4. Grace - I'm glad to hear you've successfully navigated the program! I didn't have any problem with the set up but ran into a glitch with the save/continue button that wouldn't save and continue! I'd be interested in learning more about Kindle unlimited and the separate payments system.

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  5. I've used KU for my short story, The Gift, with fair success. For a certain amount of pages that are read by KU subscribers, I get a piece of the big KU pie. It is a very small piece. LOL But when I first released the story in December, I got a nice sized piece of the pie. It all depends on how much you promote. But for you, Becky, you will have to do the promoting to get your book accepted in KS. Another author I know did KS a few months ago, and said her book was accepted even though it was not on the "hot" list for long. She thinks one of the things Amazon looks at is past sales records. She has a lot of books on Amazon that have had good sales. I just went and nominated your book. Hope it gets accepted. I nominated the other authors book, too, but never received a notice from Amazon that I could pick up the book.

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  6. Thanks so much for the info and the nomination, Maryann. I have a lot of books on KDP, too. I have over 200 votes so far on KS but I think the traffic is more important than the actual votes. I'll have to check into the free copies. I hope I'm not misinforming anyone.

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  7. Thanks so much for the update and your experience so far with KS, Becky. The publishing world is ever changing and it behooves us to keep abreast.

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  8. Too true, Bonnie. As soon as I'm comfortable with each variation, another challenge presents itself. :-)

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  9. Hmm. I answered Becky's question about the payment system a couple of hours ago, and its seems to have vanished into cyberspace. Let's see . . . The form was complicated, involving a code you had about 10 seconds to find in email & then the forms had to be filled out for EACH country, though Copy & Paste sort of worked, once I figured it out. Frankly, I thought it way too complicated, like access to the Defense Department database or something! And I also had trouble with the Save buttons, first in the initial upload and then when I went to Submit the final version. But it's the first year; hopefully, things will improve. Oh yes, the payment system is like KDP in that you're asked for a bank acct # for direct payment.

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  10. Glad to get your update, Becky. I look forward to learning about the outcome!

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  11. Thanks, Lynn and Maddie. I appreciate the support!

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  12. I'm cheering for you Becky! And voting. thanks for sharing the journey.

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  13. I appreciate your vote and your support, Kathleen! Thanks, bunches.

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  14. Lots of luck and keep us posted. I nominated your book and hope to see it succeed!

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  15. Becky, I use Firefox. The link did NOT work when you first posted about this. Today it did. I nominated your book. I've had friends whose books were accepted and published by Kindle Scout. They think it depends on the number of nominations you get. Looking forward to your outcome. If you report how many noms you got, that should give us an idea of what it takes.

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  16. Thanks for the info, Joan. I asked the KS rep if there was a minimum number of nominations necessary, but she avoided the question. I have no idea about an average, but I'll be happy to report my final numbers.

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