Saturday, 5 November 2016

My Kindle Scout Experience



The following was written pre-end of campaign (my view point may change!)

The Book

For anyone that doesn't know, I entered my book What Lies Beneath the Mask into Kindle Scout. It's a contemporary romance follow the main character, Annabelle's, budding relationship with Jack, while she's haunted by her past relationship. There are ties to the Phantom of the Opera, originally it was going to be an all out retelling but somewhere along the way the book changed shape, but the characters are all members of an amateur theatre troupe putting on Phantom for a new reality TV Show.

Phantom is one of my all time favourite musicals, and that, along with my best friend, was one of my main sources of inspiration. It's a first person narrative (Annabelle's POV) and the other two main(ish) characters are Jack (the love interest) and Hayley (Annabelle's best friend) who I put on an even level when it comes to importance in the story.

The Process

Kindle Scout is a reader powered imprint of Kindle Press. You submit a book that is ready to be published (i.e. edited and with a cover) and is approx 50,000 words. So long as it passes the preliminary test (which could be just about anything, we have no way of knowing) then a campaign starts. For the next month, readers can read an extended extract from your book and choose to "nominate" it. As the author you have no way of knowing how many nominations you have.

The Stats

You can see selected stats for the previous day after about 5:15am EST (or about 9:15am if you're in the UK like me!) and they tell you how many hours (if any!) your book was in Hot & Trending, how many page views you got, and where the page views come from. The dashboard looks like this;




As far as I can tell, my stats are okay. They're nothing like the highest that I've heard about, nor are they close to the lowest. What I wasn't prepared for during my campaign was how much I would stress about these stats! As you can see, there's no way of knowing how many nominations I actually got, which probably doesn't help! It was also hard to know what worked with so many of my external traffic sources being considered "direct". 

The Campaign I Ran

Before I started an author who'd already (successfully) been through the process suggested that I ensure my social media was all ready to go before I started. I used Facebook, twitter and tumblr for the most part, though I did try Pinterest for a small while there didn't seem to be much happening from it. Facebook was one of my major traffic sources and I'm still not sure what it was that had the impact. I ran a Facebook ad campaign (with a budget of £20) as a bit of an experiment. According to the results I only gained 4 link clicks from my ad campaign, however my stats did dip a bit once my Facebook ad ended. 


One of the major tools that I used, and I believe that it was one of the most effective, was Copromote. The idea is that you share other people's posts and gain "reach" which is then used to share your own posts of choice. I've been using this to promote Facebook posts, tweets and tumblr blogs and it seems to work well on top of expanding my audience. I currently only use the free option, which limits my shares, but do hope that I can switch to the pro version once I'm making some money from some of my writing!

Kboards

This is my biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to submit their book to Kindle Scout; join Kboards and join in on the Kindle Scout Experiences & Nomination Requests thread, it is invaluable. Everyone is helpful (and super supportive) and there is a lot of talk about what the actual selection process for Kindle Scout could be. I felt that the support given by those other authors has been invaluable, and will continue to be so.

The Stress

I wasn't expecting it, but the stress levels of a campaign are definitely high. You're constantly asking yourself what you could do better or more of to get the word out there, and after it's finished you find that the waiting is even worse! Every time I have an email I'm opening it up very nervously! 

Overall

I don't know if I'll be selected at this stage (fingers crossed still though!) but even if I don't I do think that this has been a valuable experience from me. Not only have I found a supportive community, but it's also meant that I've pulled my socks up in other ways. For a start I now actually have a fancy new domain! I've also written a lot more in the past month than I had the previous one. Plus now more people have heard of me, so that's a win right?