LINCOLN COLE’s first attempt to get a Kindle Scout contract was a dismal failure … UNTIL he decided to learn from his mistakes and try again. He carefully documented everything he did (think massive action) and ended up writing, the Kindle Scout Guide a book documenting what worked and what didn’t.
Did Lincoln get a Kindle Scout contract? YES and it totally changed the trajectory of his book publishing career. Since then he has tried again, and is now in the process of creating a new success for his latest horror series.
by Lincoln Cole
Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, which publishes books through their Kindle Press Publishing Imprint, has been around for a quite a while now. It has published almost three hundred books, and even though it goes through ups and downs as employees leave or move on, it hasn’t shown any recent signs of shutting down. Quite the opposite, their internal team seems to be growing.
Thousands of books get loaded onto the Kindle Scout website every few months to vie for the coveted contract, yet only a handful get published. Good books, great ones even, are regularly turned away. What this means is that if you are hoping to get picked and win a contract you’re going to need to get an edge over the competition.
If you are going to win a Kindle Scout contract you’re going to need an edge over the competition. Here’s how …Click to tweet
Getting The Edge on KindleScout
First off: make sure your book is perfect. In the early days of Kindle Scout a decent book could get nominated and then Amazon would help get it ready for publishing, but those days are gone.
Nowadays, you’re going to need to stand heads and shoulders above your competition if you want that coveted Amazon Marketing support.The thing is, being one of the best is easy to do because well over half of all books that are submitted are lacking in either the cover, blurb, excerpt, or in some other way that makes them poor entries.
Create A KindleScout Campaign Plan
Once you are satisfied that your book is the best it can possibly be, you need to set up a plan for your campaign. Make no mistake, you need to have a plan and to work your butt off. You’ll find countless stories throughout the internet about how the campaign doesn’t matter, and this book or that book got picked with almost no page views or nominations, but those are the exception and not the rule.
Most books that get picked performed better than average in the campaign, and many books that were picked that failed to run a good campaign later performed poorly in the actual marketplace.More importantly, the time to set up your campaign plan is not after you have submitted your book to Kindle Scout, but rather long before.
When setting your plan, ask yourself a couple of important questions:
- Are you going to spend money? If so, how much?
- Do you have social media accounts ready to go for readers to find you?
- What is your plan to ‘sell’ the book?
That last one is especially important. Too often, authors will pay a fortune on book promotion with only a half-completed selling model. They might reach a lot of readers, but when they do they can’t close the deal. Make sure that when you find readers, you have a sellable product that readers are desperate to nominate. This includes the blurb, tagline, banners, landing pages, and more.
Now, let’s move onto a piece of more specific advice. Kindle Press doesn’t publish a lot of books, which means the odds of getting a contract even on an amazing book aren’t very high. Don’t despair, though: even if you aren’t picked, you can still capitalize on a few things while running your campaign, including building brand recognition, reader awareness, and email subscribers.
This last point is key: if you are an author and you don’t have an email list already, then start one. Even if you don’t have a book published yet, you need a mailing list, and there are a lot of free options out there to get you started. It is critical to your future and long term success that readers can support your career.
How To Build Your List
How Kindle Scout can benefit you in building your list is simple: during campaign creation, you are asked to write a thank you note to people who nominated your book that they will all receive whether or not your book is picked. Simply mentioning your list here gives those readers an easy chance to follow you after they already showed interest in your book. Mailing list subscribers, especially invested ones, can cost a fortune to accumulate; this lets you get them for free.
Even better, you can offer them something for signing up. In particular, offer them exactly what they asked for when they supported your campaign: a free copy of this book. Tell your readers that if they sign up you will send them a free copy of this book even if it isn’t selected (which is the prize they would have received if you were selected, so you win out either way).
This serves multiple purposes, including building early readership for your book, generating reviews, and incentivizing readers to join your list by offering them a clear and valuable prize. You are, essentially, taking one of the best features of Kindle Scout and making it your own.
This is also a free way to find early reviewers for your book out of an interested pool of readers. Traditional publishing companies pay a fortune for services like Net Galley, and doing this you can get those same benefits completely free by using Kindle Scout.
Make KindleScout A WIN Whether You Get A Contract, Or Not
Winning a contract can completely change your career, but even if you don’t win Kindle Scout can be worth it in building your brand. Whether you are a budding writer who is putting together your first book or a long-term author looking to get an edge over the competition, Kindle Scout can do wonders in helping to build your audience.
Who is Lincoln Cole?
Find Lincoln Cole:
Lincoln’s Kindle Scout Guide
Need help with your Kindle Scout campaign? Take a look at these two Fiverrs: