A Self-Publishing Journey. Part 4

Emerging author Penny Walker proposes a theory about the motives of Kindle Scout.

Penny Walker

This week I have been pondering, cynically, I’m afraid. Watching the speed with which books ending their run in the scout program are assigned to the ‘99c on Kindle, thanks but no thanks’ pile, has had me wondering.

Is this all in fact a clever ruse on the part of Kindle to get authors with limited options to work their butts off marketing not only themselves and their work but also the Kindle brand? The thank you note, that you are asked to write before your campaign kicks off, gets sent out to all nominating scouts at the exact same time that the author gets informed of their failure to achieve a publishing contract.

The blurb that accompanies the thank you note sent to the Scouts says that they will let you know when the book becomes available on Amazon. So your loyal followers can still read it, they just have to pay! You get to set the sale price yourself, but given that Kindle published titles go out for around the $3.50 mark, 99c seems to be the go. From this mind-blowing sum, Kindle takes 20%. As my husband says, “we wont be retiring on the proceeds.”

On the positive side, to date 629 people have been made aware of the existence of my novel. Hopefully some of those will decide they’d like to read the whole thing for the above-mentioned princely sum and actually enjoy it enough to recommend it to friends.

In the meantime, I am nominating books that I think I really would like to read in order to see how the process works. So far, I haven’t backed a winner but that’s 3 decisions on 6 books. The other 3 are listed as ‘in review’. In one case the book in question has been ‘in review’ for five days. I can’t imagine how that author must be feeling. Interestingly, this was not a book that featured heavily in ‘Hot and Trending’ all the way through its run. Hopefully by the end of this I’ll have a better understanding of how the system works. I guess one piece of advice to any would-be participant in the program would be to become a scout first and have a go at picking winners; it may give you some idea of what Kindle are looking for.


Penny’s book, Remission, is currently being considered for publication through Kindle Scout. You can read an excerpt of the book here and if you like it, you can nominate it to be published. If it gets enough nominations, it will be available for sale in the Kindle Store and you’ll receive a free copy of the book. You can also check out more of Penny’s work at her website, www.penelopewalkerwriter.com.

This post is part of Penny Walker’s blog, A Self-Publishing Journey.

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