Wednesday, June 3, 2015
My Cinderella Story...with Kindle Scout as my Fairy Godmother Part 1
Psst...yes, it's true, I have a fairy godmother. She's smart, clever, and filled with magic!!
Her name is Kindle Scout.
What is Kindle Scout? you ask. How does it work? Is it right for me?
The best way I can answer that is to tell you my story. Adding tips and observations along the way that I hope will help guide you, whether you’re a reader or a writer…so here we go!
Once upon a time I had a book of the heart, a story I loved like a comfy, fave pair of jeans. I just couldn’t throw them away...
That book is LOVE ME FOREVER, a Civil War time travel novel that takes place from 1862-1863. It’s a big, family saga with two feisty heroines and the military men they love, coming in at 140,000 words. But as everyone knows, trad pubs don’t want Civil War...no problem, I’ll self publish it, right?
Or—and here’s where temptation comes in, like circling the pastry case at Starbucks, should I try Kindle Scout? The Amazon publishing venture where readers pick the books they publish:
So I did...and for thirty days I was on a wild rollercoaster ride during my campaign for LOVE ME FOREVER. I’d check the “Hot and Trending” List all hours of the day and night on my cell phone—fretting when I wasn’t on the list and cheering when I was.
Bonus: if you nominate a book and it’s selected for publication, you receive a free advance copy before it’s published.
Here are some tips re: submitting to Kindle Scout:
1 – Format your book as if you’re going to self-pub it. I renamed my original .doc and then took out the copyright page and TOC, links to my other books, no header needed (you can add the copyright, links, and TOC back in later if you're selected). I left in the page numbers (not needed for self-pub), but they don’t show up on the excerpt. If your book is selected, you’re ready to begin your final read-through. If not, you have your original .doc if you decide to self-publish your m/s.
2 – Don’t wait until you’re ready to submit to Kindle Scout to answer the questions, write your bio, description, etc. It took a lot of preparation to answer the questions in a way that highlighted who I am as a writer (3 questions), bio, description, logline—all have character length restrictions. I’d recommend getting that out of the way before you finish your book or do a final read-through.
3 – Cover: I did a dreamy Civil War lady cover with a beautiful rendering. It says “romance” right away so you can attract that reader. Also, keep it clean and simple with a strong focal point to grab the eye, but not confuse it. Be sure to adhere to the required size: 4500 pixels high and 2820 pixels wide (or a 1.5 height/width ratio). PNG (.png) or JPEG (.jpeg or .jpg) format, no larger than 5MB.
4 – Read the contract carefully – the percentage is 50 percent royalties instead of 70; you have to ask for your book back in writing if they don’t publish it after the 45-day exclusive; the $1,500 advance is against royalties; Amazon owns the exclusive digital and audio worldwide rights for 5 years in all languages—renewable.
Your book is published by Amazon Kindle Press in e-book, not print. Here is the breakdown from the Kindle Scout website:
E-Book: 50% of Net Revenue
Digital Audio: 25% of Net Revenue
Translation in e-Book format: 20% of Net Revenue
I believe they have 6 months to publish it or you get your rights back (you have to ask in writing).
5 – I see Kindle Scout as a new, exciting venture that combines both self-pubbing and traditional. You write, edit, copy edit, format your book and submit your own cover, but if you're selected, you have Kindle Press as your publisher with an additional copy edit, PR, etc.
For me, it was also the opportunity to put my story out there during the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. I blogged every day with stories and excerpts about the Civil War. I added graphics I did myself with Royalty Free stock I bought a while ago. I enjoy designing the graphics, so that’s a plus. You can see my graphics on my blog:
6 – All in all, I’m extremely happy with the professionalism at Kindle Scout. I submitted my package online (very easy to fill out and submit) and my book was accepted within 2 hours and went live 2 days later.
Here is the link to my Kindle Scout page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1EBUHZH3PWQRK
The selection process:
I was on the Hot list more than half the time during the 30-day campaign. I would get on the list, jump around for a few days from first to last (about 10 books average are on the list at any one time), drop off for a day or two, then pop back on.
I blogged, tweeted, etc. every day, which helped me get the message out on a consistent basis, but I believe support from good people like you was very important to staying on the Hot list. Again, thank you.
I’m not sure what other criteria KS uses to make their selection. I submitted the cleanest m/s I could. I spent a lot of time checking it after it was written and giving it a thorough copy edit before I submitted it, checked the timeline, looked for inconsistencies, etc. It’s vital to give them the best book you can.
After my 30-day campaign was over, I received the news: my Kindle Scout book, LOVE ME FOREVER, was selected for publication!
The next step:
After my 30-day campaign ended, it took only two days for me to receive word my book was selected. My book cover was up on the KS header almost immediately along with the other selected books. I had 30 days to make any changes. I went over my manuscript again for content, punctuation, spacing, etc. I also printed out a hard copy and gave it a quick read-through. You’d be surprised what you see on paper that you don’t see on a computer screen.
I submitted my Final m/s and within hours, I rec'd a email saying it had gone through the initial review, meaning that the editors could see my m/s adhered to the guidelines. A Kindle Press copy edit follows. I’ve heard fabulous things about the Kindle Press copy edit from KS authors—everyone is pleased about the entire process.
The contract becomes active as soon as you receive their email. It also indicated the accounting team will contact me. I’m already self-pubbed with Amazon, so I have an account with bank numbers, tax info, etc. in place, but I believe this may be a different entity. I’ll report back on that aspect.
What I would have done differently:
I wouldn’t have waited so long to reach out to groups for help and support. I’ve always been a shy kid and still suffer from good girl syndrome after attending numerous parochial schools, but I credit the Sisters of Mercy with teaching me good tradecraft re: writing. I can diagram a sentence with the best of them and that’s helped me as a writer.
That’s it for now. I’m here for questions about Kindle Scout and anything you’d like to ask about the process. I really enjoyed writing LOVE ME FOREVER, about two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, who are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.
The men they love.
Do they get their men?
Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost…
LOVE ME FOREVER
She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
LOVE ME FOREVER is a Kindle Scout selection and will be published soon!! You can read the first 5,000 words HERE. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.”
This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!
Thanks for stopping by.