Friday, June 17, 2016

Guest Post by Author Karen Charbonneau

Today we bring you a special guest, author Karen Charbonneau with a post about her experience with Amazon’s Kindle Scout.  

Amazon Kindle Scout: The Marketing of My Novel, Marble Creek

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I thought being a trial lawyer was stressful, but compared to submitting my novel Marble Creek to Amazon's Kindle Scout in the hope of obtaining a Kindle Press eBook contract, I was a well-prepared actor on a courtroom stage. Practicing law wasn’t personal, but this experience is akin to my first dive into a crowded swimming pool, knowing the other kids will see me if I do a belly flop.
If you've never heard of Kindle Scout, it's no surprise. Kindle Scout doesn't appear in any Amazon or any Kindle publicity. This Amazon platform handed out its first eBook contract November 27, 2014, and so far has awarded 188 more.  Kindle Scout describes itself as a "reader-powered publish[er] for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published…"  That means the author is responsible for herding potential nominators to his or her Kindle Scout book site.
Marketing my book?  That’s a new concept for me. I have two novels on Kindle and Create Space, The Wolf's Sun and A Devil Singing Small, which I picture and maintain links to on my blog, Letters from Shenanigan Valley. Sometimes I remember to mention them on Facebook when I list the books for free on Kindle. The bottom line is that I just want people to read my novels. Marketing Marble Creek for nominations (votes) presented a steep learning curve.  How do other authors get those nominations?  
It appears we begin our campaigns by badgering friends on Facebook to visit the Kindle Scout site and nominate our books (which means they'll know if we fail to get a eBook contract, but if we want this badly enough, we will have to put up with that possible humiliation). We ask them to share our post with their friends. We send out emails to friends, relatives, and even acquaintances, asking them to pass along our begging blurbs to their friends and relatives.  We become anti-social with our spouses, shrieking that this is the most important happening in our lives "and why can't you understand and be patient for the next month?" Every morning we check the statistics Kindle Scout shows to us once a day - how many views we had, what percentage came from Facebook and other sites such as Goodreads or the Kboard Chat; what percentage came from those simply browsing Kindle Scout.  Kindle Scout seems such a well-kept secret, only other authors seem to browse the site.
Maybe we pay for Facebook ads and discover more than 400 likes for only the book cover during a 2-day period (each like costing 50 cents), but that just 15 enter through the posted URL to view the book excerpt. Teenagers and the lonely seem to enjoy tapping ads. A fellow author went so far as to offer a $100 contest through Rafflecopter, which gave her several hundred nominations, a surer way to spend money for votes.
It all comes down to "the kindness of strangers," those who take that great leap to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1D4V6CAM4X7TA, who read the 5000 words excerpt, like it, and nominate the book. And by the way, if you nominate Marble Creek by July 3 and it wins a Kindle eBook contract, you will receive a free Kindle download of Marble Creek with a request to leave a review on Amazon. That's a Kindle Press promise and it's called marketing.

~Karen Charbonneau, author of Marble Creek, The Wolf's Sun, and A Devil Singing Small

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