Thursday, January 14, 2016

25 things authors want to know about Amazon but didn’t know to ask: 1) Kindle Scout & 2) Write On

I recently posted about "25 things authors want to know about Amazon but didn’t know to ask" on Romance Author Marketing Network. When I decided to self-publish, I had no idea what "putting your book on Amazon" really meant, and was surprised to uncover so many sites and things authors can do to make the most of Amazon.

Whatever you do, make sure you read all of the contracts, and usage and rights information, carefully.

I said I'd discuss each of the 25 things in more detail, so here we go with 1) and 2):

If you're not ready to publish but want to get your GAN (great American novel) into the public eye, consider 1) Kindle Scout or 2) Write On by Kindle

1) On the just over a year old kindlescout, "readers help decide" which never-before-published books get a contract from Kindle Press to publish your books on Amazon only.  (Note: Kindle Press doesn't have its own site) Basically you need to be ready to publish to participate. After authors meet submission requirements, including completing a checklist that requires you to have a great cover, book description, bio and more, you accept the KP Submission & Publishing Agreement. That says you give them a 45-day exclusive. And if you get a contract, which offers a $1,500 advance and assorted royalties, but don't earn $25,000 in 5 years, you can request your rights back. 

I'd bet not many books will earn out $25K. I checked out a few that weren't highly ranked, and a few that were. Publisher credits read, "Published by Kindle Press, Seattle" (year) and "A Kindle Scout Selection."

Once your submission is accepted, you're supposed to get the word out about your upcoming 30-day campaign. Readers view submissions, which include an excerpt of approximately 5,000 words, then nominate up to three books they like. They get a free book (and are asked to leave a review) if KP publishes one of their nominations.

Here's one post about how KS works. Several posts I read mention that KP does some editing, which should help make the book better but would delay publication.

2) I should have made this number 1, because the less than a year old writeon by kindle (what's with the lower case/one word names?) is called a story lab, and accepts works in progress and shorter pieces such as stories. Readers can like parts or all of a post, offer feedback via comments (to which the author can respond) and follow authors they like. Discussion forums offer another way to make connections. Authors can also ask for specific kinds of feedback by adding a Writer's Request. 

Covers are required, and while some are obviously placeholders, many look like professional covers. If your story does well, it might make the trending list on the home page or the landing pages of any of 18 categories from romance to memoir. At the moment, Romance offers 538 results. The first listing on Romance Trending has 612 likes, 1849 reads and 121 follows, while the last has 19 likes, 38 reads and 4 follows. 

Write On has generated very little commentary in the blogosphere.

What do you think of these sites, as an author and/or a reader? 

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