Thanks for your kind response to my cover reveal last week. When I first shared it, I mentioned that there would be opportunities for you, my loyal readers, to score advance copies of the book, and today I want to tell you about the first of those!
Here's the short version:
If you'd like a FREE ADVANCE COPY of What She Inherits, click the "Visit Kindle Scout Now!" button below and nominate my book for the Kindle Scout program!
When you visit Kindle Scout, you can also learn more about the book and read a sample of the first few chapters.
To learn more about what Kindle Scout is, why I'm submitting my book to it, and how you can help me make this novel a success, read on!
What is Kindle Scout?
Kindle Scout is platform for authors to submit their books to Kindle Press for publication. Kindle Press is an Amazon company.
How does Kindle Scout work?
When authors submit to Kindle Scout, they launch a 30-day campaign to attract the attention of Kindle Press editors. Throughout those 30 days, visitors to the Kindle Scout site have the opportunity to nominate books that appeal. While ultimately the selection of books is up to the editors, when a book gains a lot of nominations, it is more likely to catch and editor's eye. After the 30-day campaign, editors take a couple of weeks to make a decision. Authors whose books are accepted get a publishing contract for the ebook and audiobook and the book is prepared for sale. The whole process goes very quickly compared to publishing industry standards. Selected books are generally on sale within a few months of being selected.
Why am I submitting to Kindle Scout?
Over the past year, I've thought a lot about what I want the future of my publishing experience to be. I am proud of all I have accomplished as an indie author and I have no regrets about the path I followed to publish my first two novels. That said, what I want most in my future publishing endeavors is the support of a team of publishing and marketing experts to help my work reach a broad audience.
Part of the learning curve of self-publishing has been learning just how much I don't know and also learning what my limitations are. I have worked hard to inform myself about best practices in book marketing, but knowing those practices does not mean I can follow them for a variety of reasons including cost (many marketing techniques are cost prohibitive to individual authors) and a lack of connections (those that aren't cost prohibitive often require having a professional network and/or fame and name recognition).
As such, I know that I need a good team in place, particularly for the sake of marketing.
At this point in time, I am skeptical about paying "experts" for their help. As anyone who has read The Sane Person's Guide to Self-Publishing knows, I am 100% against the ecosystem of vendors who have set up tent cities around self-publishing and who make bold claims about how they can help your book if you are only willing to pay. Most of those claims are grossly overstated and the prices are way too high. Blog tour companies, pay-per-click ad opportunities, and the like are happy to profit from the dreams of aspiring authors, and they have an easy out if there's no return on investment. If you don't earn back what you've spent, they'll just tell you that the book business is unpredictable, so it's not their fault if yours didn't sell.
Simply put, I want a traditional publishing arrangement in which I am paid for my work. Any arrangement in which I am expected to pay-for-play is not acceptable to me.
Kindle Scout is, in many ways, a traditional publisher. Accepted projects are given an advance on royalties, editorial support, and marketing support. The royalty rate is more generous than working with a traditional publisher would be. Because it is a digital-only imprint, the author retains print rights, meaning it's up to me to decide if I want to publish hard copies. In that way, Kindle Scout might be considered a "hybrid" publishing model. Unlike many other hybrids, however, there is no cost to the author.
What about the requirement of Kindle Press titles to be Amazon exclusive?
The biggest drawback of Kindle Scout is that its books are exclusive to Amazon, a fact that I have grappled with as I made the decision to go this route.
In the past, I have often cautioned authors against enrolling in Kindle Select due to its exclusivity clause and the way that such arrangements turn indie authors into second-class citizens in the Amazon world. To be clear, for self-publishing authors, I still maintain that it is not in one's best interest to permanently enroll in Kindle Select for all the reasons I've discussed in the past. Kindle Select is a useful component in a marketing plan, and occasionally signing on for 90-day stints in Kindle Select isn't a bad idea, but in the long term it is not a winning proposition.
Agreeing to exclusivity as part of Kindle Scout is not quite the same as Kindle Select, primarily because titles that get through Kindle Scout to be published by Kindle Press are treated by Amazon as traditionally published books, so the terms of the Kindle Owners Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited are more favorable than they are for self-published titles (at least, that is what I've heard from authors who have published this way). Also Kindle Press titles are promoted by Amazon with targeted marketing campaigns, so authors gain tangible, quantifiable benefits in exchange for exclusivity, whereas Kindle Select books only get the chance to be listed as "free" for a few days out of every 90.
Further, and I hate to admit it, my objection to Amazon exclusivity as an indie author is really only a problem in theory and on principle. Frankly, fully 99% of my book downloads are through Amazon or Audible (an Amazon company), so even though my previous books are not technically Amazon-exclusive, they are effectively Amazon-exclusive. Notice, I said downloads and not sales. If we're only talking about sales, by which I mean paid downloads, the number of sales at vendors other than Amazon is less than 1%.
Lastly, on the upside, as Kindle Press authors retain print rights, I will be still be able to make my print books available at other retailers like Barnes and Noble.
Why Kindle Scout instead of a traditional publishing contract?
You may be wondering, given my desire to build a support system for my book, why I'm not going for a totally traditional publishing option. The short answer is I have tried and concluded that the process of seeking an agent and then waiting for an agent to find a publisher is too slow. Life is short. I have spent a lot of time querying agents and have accumulated respectable stack of rejections. I could keep trying that way, and maybe it would even pay off. People keep telling me that some authors have to get well over a hundred or even two-hundred rejections before they strike a deal. That may be true, but just as many authors keep trying and never find an agent and therefore never publish a book. I suppose you may be thinking that this means their books are bad and don't deserve to be published, but it's just not that simple. Many great books never see the light of day, and plenty of terrible ones get published all the time. If you want to hear more about my own efforts to transition from indie to trad author, you can read this past blog post.
What's next is we wait and see what the editors of Kindle Press think. Stay tuned for updates about my Kindle Scout campaign and publication plans for What She Inherits, and thank you for your support!