It appears that Amazon is launching a new publishing program. Look for an announcement to come in the next couple of weeks.
The reason for this article is just to give a heads-up. If you happen to have a novel in the works and this program may be of interest to you, you have a chance to get your manuscript and packaging in gear.
The terms may not (but may) interest bestselling published authors or thriving self-published authors, but may attract midlist published authors and many self-published authors.
Evidently, the program will include Amazon-featured marketing. This is likely to draw huge interest, assuming that it means more than the usual customers-also-bought lists and such. For example, if it includes featured placement or small ads, that could make an incredible difference. Amazon will have a vested interest in these books, so there is compelling reason for Amazon to include featured marketing in the offer.
You might be wondering, “How do we know about this?”
- Amazon sent an email to select authors, notifying them about the program. The email included a link to an Amazon page, allowing authors to sign up for additional emails.
- The Digital Reader and Publisher’s Weekly made initial announcements about this program on September 22, 2014.
- Amazon sent a follow-up email this morning.
- (Well, if you want to be a pessimist, you’ll ‘know’ if and when Amazon makes an official announcement.)
Update: The program is now live. It’s called Kindle Scout: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/submit.
It will begin with just the following genres:
- science fiction
This new Amazon publishing program will be like a publishing deal for Kindle. The terms are better than many traditionally published terms, though the royalty rate isn’t as high as self-publishing with KDP.
- $1500 advance. (Many indie authors are already excited.)
- 50% royalties for e-books. (20% less than self-publishing, but it includes Amazon-featured marketing, which may easily make up the difference.)
- A 45-day exclusivity period and easy rights reversions (unlike many traditional publishing contracts that make reversions difficult to come by). (There are some conditions. You’ll want to read these carefully when the program launches.)
- Amazon only wants exclusive rights for e-books and audio in all languages. You get to keep the print rights (so you can self-publish with CreateSpace and keep 100% of your usual print royalties.)
What exactly is Amazon-featured marketing?
That’s the big question. If it included on-site advertising, that would be awesome. If it just means customers-also-bought lists and the usual benefits of publishing with KDP, then it would be a dud. (Basically, you’d be trading 20% of your royalties for a $1500 advance.)
The Digital Reader defined Amazon-featured marketing to mean enrollment in KOLL and Kindle Unlimited (well, you could get that by self-publishing!) and eligibility for targeted emails and promotions. This sounds great, except for that tricky word, “eligibility.” You’d hate to get no extra on-site publicity or featured placement at all.
Well, Amazon would have a vested interest in the success of books in this program. It seems reasonable to expect Amazon-featured marketing to be more than what’s merely automatic with KDP. I think we need to wait for the program to launch and see how it goes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Complete manuscript. (Never before published. Or self-published, I suspect, but you can ask Amazon for clarification.)
- 500 character (or less) book description. (Does that include spaces? Probably.)
- One-liner (45 characters or less) to grab interest.
- Biography and picture.
Any author who’s interested in this program (even if you’re unsure), has a chance to get ready. Advance preparation could make the difference.
If you prepare now and decide later that it’s not for you, what have you lost? Everything you prepared will still serve its purpose when you instead self-publish or traditionally publish your book.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Finish your manuscript. This is required.
- Perfect the first 3000 words. This part will be publicly visible. Voting will be based on this. You want to show your best stuff early, and grab attention right off the bat.
- Get a great cover that fits your book well. This will surely make a difference in catching interest. It will make a difference in selling the book, too, if published.
- Perfect the blurb. Don’t summarize the book. Arouse interest. Keep it short.
- Perfect your one-liner. Observe the character counts.
- Get ample feedback on your cover, one-liner, title, blurb, and first 3000 words.
- Build interest in your book and create buzz. Voting is involved in the process. (Not sure how this will be regulated or applied.)
- I’m thinking minimal front matter (just whatever the program requires, if anything). It’s about creating interest in your story and selling your idea.
Effective marketing skills will surely help. You need good packaging (cover, blurb, look inside) and the ability to create interest in your book.
There will be a brief Q&A opportunity with readers to sell your story (and the story behind you coming up with the story—you know, like all those amazing success stories you read about).
Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
- Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
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Reblogged this on Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie and commented:
Thanks Chris, for the great information!
Thank you. 🙂
Great information, thanks Chris.
So much to think about!
Yes, but if I were publishing a novel presently, unless I had already achieved great success, I think it would be an easy decision for me. You enter with a 45-day exclusivity period. If you aren’t selected, you’ve benefited from some extra exposure (from all the people checking out the books) and simply do whatever you would have done with your book otherwise. The only hard part is if you’re not sure you really want to be selected. For that, I’d mainly be interested in what exactly Amazon-featured marketing really means. 🙂
Hummm. Things are getting closer knit day by day. I think scribd and oyster and other book providers are making Amazon question, “What’s next?”
That could be. I think Amazon is also trying to attract midlist authors, and may have longer-term sights on even print publishing beyond what Amazon’s imprints have yet achieved.
I remember getting this email and I didn’t know what to make of it. The ‘not previously published’ part makes me think I’m not eligible since I would guess self-published counts. I do wonder if they’re trying to create a publishing company that does more competition with the big names.
The most recent email included a button at the end to contact them to learn more.
Yes I got one of those emails… pity I just published my book lol! Its all very mysterious… why arent they shouting about this too-good-to-be-true new opportunity for indie authors and inviting everyone in?
Good question. That’s probably why there are some skeptics. When it launches, maybe it will come with a bang. 🙂
Ive just noticed… you have to have a valid US bank account and tax number, which really limits entrants to those living in US. So why bother inviting me when I live in Ireland?
That is strange. If that’s so, they’d have done well to do a little cross-referencing.
I got an email, too. But like Ali, I don’t have a US bank account either. I contacted Amazon to question them about this (I do have an ISIN), but I haven’t heard back yet.
It’s not uncommon for Amazon to launch a new program targeting the US and then to consider expanding later. Kindle Unlimited worked that way. CreateSpace added UK and Europe distribution to Amazon countries. So if their answer is no presently, there may still be hope. (And I hope they reply with a solution.)
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
NEWS FLASH FOR AUTHORS
#Apesome. 🙂 (I rather like this hashtag that was suggested in the comments recently.)
WOW – Apesolutely Chris 😀 😀 😀
Thanks very much for this, Chris! 😀
You’re welcome. 🙂
Great article Chris! Thanks
Thank you. 🙂
Reblogged this on knowleselle and commented:
This is definitely worth looking into. Every time I think I am on top of my game something new turns the corner.
We may even need a new definition of “dynamic” to properly describe the publishing world. 🙂 Thank you for the reblog.
You always have such great information on your posts. Happy to share with others!
Wow, thanks for the info.
Great info, although my two books are already published recently.
Something to keep in mind for the next one. 🙂
Seems as though Amazon wants a piece of everything. I don’t know how I feel about this. Thanks for sharing.
I think it will depend on the details announced when this program launches. Presently, it appears to be geared toward Kindle books, which by itself doesn’t seem like much in the way of expansion.
We’ll have to see.
It is a great opportunity for writers with talent but no agent and the restrictions are easy to live with.
I think many authors will look at it this way.
Reblogged this on Kev's Blog and commented:
I’m a bit dubious… but that’s me. I’ll see what happens before I get overexcited. But here you go folks!
Mm. Sounds too good to be true. 🙂
Well, I expect it to be highly competitive. The easy path doesn’t exist in my experience. 🙂
Yes, I imagine so. I wonder what Amazon’s competitors may do… this could be good. 😉
I have seen traditional publishers make similar offers, but they can’t compete with 50% royalties, and they don’t feel as accessible as Amazon.
That’s a good point Chris. It would be nice to see places like smashwords begin to offer more.
I’ll have to give this a looksie.
I am keenly interested, both as an author and a reader…
Yes, the reader side of this is fascinating, too. 🙂
Thanks so much for this great info Chris 🙂
You’re welcome. 🙂
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