Most authors know that you can self-publish with Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing or CreateSpace.
But not everyone knows that you can also land a contract with Amazon’s Kindle Scout publishing program.
If your book gets published through Kindle Scout, it’s published, not self-published. But it’s not the label that matters. (Right?)
You have better odds with Kindle Scout compared to many other forms of traditional publishing.
- You need a complete, edited, ready-to-publish, never-before-published professional manuscript. That already limits the pool. You’re not pitching an idea or a rough draft. It needs to be complete, professional, and ready to go. Most authors who reach that stage are eager to press the self-publish button. Less competition gives you better odds.
- You don’t need an agent for Kindle Scout. You don’t have to buy an expensive book listing addresses of publishers. You don’t have to write a query letter and make a self-addressed stamped envelope. Yet still it’s much less competitive.
- It’s reader-powered publishing. It’s not one editor with a room filled with manuscripts deciding what deserves to get published. The Kindle Scout team does get involved, but readers play a strong role.
Better odds still isn’t a guarantee. But what’s there to lose? The worst that can happen is that your book doesn’t get published. The campaign only lasts 30 days, so it’s relatively quick decision.
Whether or not you land a publishing deal with Kindle Scout, there is still much to gain from the process:
- First of all, they’re looking for polished, edited, complete manuscripts. This motivates you to go the extra distance to polish your work. That will pay off whether or not your book gets chosen.
- The program motivates you to think about marketing. A good cover improves your chances of creating reader interest, and it will help you even if you wind up self-publishing. You want to create reader interest in your Kindle Scout submission, which encourages you to learn and practice some basic marketing skills to help create buzz for your book—helpful no matter how you publish.
- Your submission itself can create reader interest. Readers check out Kindle Scout and nominate books that catch their interest. They have an incentive as they can get free books from their nominations. So whether or not you get published through Kindle Scout, your nomination can help build an initial audience for your book.
Here is an example: The Garden of Hestia by Ellen Larson. You can explore the Kindle Scout page for this book by clicking on the thumbnail below.
Why try Kindle Scout?
- The $1500 advance is compelling. Many self-published authors earn far less. For an author who doesn’t already tend to earn more than this, this advance is attractive.
- Although the royalty rate of 50% is less than the 70% you can earn through Kindle Direct Publishing, there are benefits to offset this difference. For one, you would be published, not self-published. For another, if they are paying a $1500 advance, they must expect Kindle Scout titles to sell pretty well.
- Your book would have the Kindle Press label in the publishing field. Kindle Scout seeks polished work, which gives some value to the Kindle Press label.
- Visit the Kindle Scout page, scroll to the bottom, and check out books that have been published through Kindle Scout. Or better yet, visit Amazon, choose the Kindle Store, and click on Advanced Search. Type Kindle Press in the publisher field. I found several books with numerous customer reviews and overall sales ranks below 10,000. Not every book was like this, but enough were to show me that books published through Kindle Scout have strong potential.
- It’s different from traditional publishing in that it’s Kindle focused. It’s not bookstore oriented; it’s not print oriented at all. You can self-publish the print edition with CreateSpace even while the Kindle edition is published with Kindle Press. Many novels sell far more in Kindle than print anyway, and what better way to reach the Kindle market than through one of Amazon’s own publishing programs?
As a reader, have you checked out Kindle Scout? Have you nominated any books? Have you read any books from Kindle Press?
As an author, have you submitted to Kindle Scout? Was your book accepted? How was your experience?
If I ever finish my sci-fi novel, I might submit it to Kindle Scout. It looks attractive.
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
Copyright © 2015
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
- 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
- Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)