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Kindle Scout Promotion - my weekly update

So, a little more than a week ago I decided to take the plunge and enter a book into the Kindle Scout program. For those who don't know, this is part of Amazon's publishing arm, where you submit a completed book, along with a professional cover, synopsis, and some other info, and then Kindle readers get to view an excerpt and vote on whether or not they'd be interested in reading the book.

Each month, a few books are chosen by the Amazon editors and the writer gets a publishing contract for the ebook, plus a $1500 advance. If the book sells well, there are opportunities for extending the initial contract and also negotiating a separate paperback book deal.

I'd been skeptical, but two writers I know and trust (Michael McBride, Norman Prentiss) ran promotions to great success. Michael's led to his getting a book deal with Kensington. Not too shabby!

In my case, I decided to go with a YA science fiction-thriller (The Changeling) I had polished up earlier in the year and was getting ready to begin the submission process with. So, with the help of some friends, I put together a cover and completed Kindle's submission process.

Lo and behold, it gets accepted into the program. Now the hard part begins.


And this is where the struggle begins as well. You see, I thought all you had to do was get the book whoring machine in motion. Get as many people as possible to read the excerpt and hope they all vote for you. But it turns out to be more complicated than that.

You see, you want to get votes, but Amazon also keeps track of things like hot and trending, how many views per day, and where those views come in from. So if all your views come from people who've discovered the book via paid promotional services, that could be a negative, even if they all vote and keep you trending. But if you get no votes, that's also bad. Amazon is nice enough to give you all your daily stats, too, so it's 30 days of nail-biting. Am I getting enough views (you can't see how many votes you actually get)? Is the percentage of organic (Kindle members) to pushed (social media referrals) views in the range Amazon likes to see?  Which of my social media promotions are working, and which aren't?

On top of that, I learned that it's not just reader popularity, it's also how the book resonates with the Amazon editing staff. In a way, the reading public is acting like the traditional slush pile reading team and the senior editors still make the decision. Only now, you're looking over their shoulders and watching them go 'hmmmm' while you wonder if the book will get passed up the ladder.

Not fun.

At the end of 1 week, The Changeling has spent 2 days 'hot and trending.' I'd hoped for more, but people tell me this is normal. It's still getting 25-100 views a day; I have no idea if that's good enough or not to attract the attention of the editors. With 3 weeks to go, it's been a constant struggle to keep the project in front of potential voters while not over-promoting it. Each day, I pick 2-3 different FB book review or reader pages to post on; never the same ones 2x in a given week. And I'll tweet it 1x per day. My own social media pages - FB, Instagram, etc. - get a post 1x per week.

Will this be enough? Stay tuned to find out.

And for those of you interested in reading about the book, here is the site:
How far will a girl go to save the world?
Struck by lightning. Developing weird super powers. On the run from a top-secret military group. This is so not the 18th birthday Chloe Olivetti was hoping for! With her family and her girlfriend being held hostage, and her own body rejecting the crazy changes it’s going through, Chloe only has hours to find a cure for her condition, go back in time, and stop her enemies from creating an army of mutant super-soldiers—before everyone she loves ends up dead a second time.


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