Monday, October 26, 2015

Kindle Scout Diary - Pre-Sale Page and Purple Italian Boots

When I started my Kindle Scout campaign, I wore my new purple Birkenstocks for good luck. I guess it worked, since The Standout was selected. I decided it's the color. So on any landmark day, my footwear will be purple. Luckily, I have new purple boots, from Italy no less! (I did not go to Italy myself, they were a gift from my Mom and Stepdad.)
Anyway, the pre-sale page for The Standout is up. If you nominated it, you can download your free copy now!
Click here right now and do it!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Kindle Scout Diary: Pre-Publication

It's been almost a month since I received the fabulous news that Kindle Press has decided to publish The Standout, and on Monday (10/26) the pre-sale page goes up, so people who nominated it will be able to download their free copy.

This is of course, very exciting for me. But I have also realized that I need to see my Kindle Scout success more as an opportunity than as a final destination. In the last month I've become acquainted with other Kindle Press authors (very friendly bunch of people) and I've checked out the sales ranking on many books published by Kindle Press. Some do great, but some do not. Some seem to get promoted, but some do not. Obviously, I need to work hard and promote my book as much as I can, so that Amazon will want to work hard for it and promote it too.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I want to dispel a couple of myths first.

Kindle Scout is a relatively new program, and before I put my book up, I read as much about it as I could. A couple of different sites I went to stated that the books aren't judged on quality, and that once they're chosen, they receive no editing.

Wrong, and wrong.

In the last few weeks, several more books have been selected for publication. Some had been in "Hot and Trending" pretty much the whole time. A couple were not. I don't know what Amazon looks for, but they do actually read the books before selecting them. When I talked to my contact at Kindle Press, she mentioned the editors' comments on The Standout - which said to me that more than one person had read it and liked it.

I also received editing services. They were mostly copy edits, very minimal, because I submitted a very clean manuscript. But there was one suggestion about a line of dialogue, which was quite helpful and showed good insight into one of the major characters.

Everyone has been very friendly and approachable. The other authors I've "met" via Facebook all seem quite satisfied with Kindle Press thus far. I expect there are exceptions - there always are - but so far I haven't heard any Kindle Press authors say anything negative about their experience.

I remain a little overwhelmed. There are literally over a million books available on Kindle, and being published by Kindle Press is not a guarantee of success. Every day I get half a dozen emails from places like Book Bub, Book Gorilla, Book Sends, etc., about all the books that are on sale, and I'm reminded what a saturated market this is. Yet, I love it. I love reading and I love writing, and even though I'll admit to being deeply competitive, I love meeting other writers like me.

So, if you nominated The Standout, don't forget to download your free copy, come Monday. Let the true journey begin!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bernie Sanders and Angry Sex

There's a brand new post on November Surprises Blog! To read about Lucy's lost idealism, Bernie Sanders, and angry sex, click here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Kindle Scout Diary: Success!

So, I beat the odds, and The Standout will be published by Kindle Press! I couldn't be more excited and I'm still sort of in shock.

I promised a run-down of my stats:

  • I was in Hot & Trending 74% of the time. There were two stretches of seven days or more when I was in Hot & Trending for more than 170 hours (a week.) There were three days total when I wasn't in Hot & Trending at all, and the rest of the time I was in it for at least part of the day.
  • By the end of the campaign, 41% of my page views came from people directed to my link and 59% came from people just visiting the site.

  • I received around 1080 page views by the end. 
What worked?

First and foremost, I was lucky. Now, I have a long history of being unlucky when it comes to book marketing and publishing, so this is a really big break for me. I did a lot of things right, but so did a lot of other authors whose books didn't do as well.

As far as tangible things that worked, here's my list:
  • The title: I didn't think about it at the time, but having a book called The Standout in a situation where it's competing with other books for nominations couldn't have hurt me. It's just asking to be noticed.
  • The cover! My cover artist, Christa Holland at Paper and Sage is amazing and deserves a lot of credit. She designed a beautiful, noticeable cover that I believe got me a lot of page views.
  • My visibility campaign: Candace at CBB Book Promotions got the ball rolling for me, and the first week-long stretch of Hot & Trending is due to her. I looked at it like this: One way or another, The Standout was getting published and I was simply doing my promotion pre-release. It worked, and a lot of people noticed The Standout.
  • Facebook. I started by sending a message to 50 of my friends who I thought would be the most receptive to my Kindle Scout campaign. Several of them spontaneously posted for me. Later that week my mom and my husband posted for me. Towards the end of my campaign I had several more friends post for me, and I tried to space it out. I also posted on my own timeline twice, and every time I wrote a Kindle Scout Diary blog, I posted that too.
  • Having a publishing history: I've already published several books on Amazon, and that seems to have helped, as many other Kindle Press authors can say the same. I made The Holdout free for two days during my campaign, it was featured on Pixel of Ink, and sales took off. Thank you Pixel of Ink!
  • Putting forth my best effort with my book and author page:  I like to think I wrote a good book, and that the presentation is really professional. That's certainly what I was going for.
So there you have it. I hope that helps any of you Kindle Scout authors who may be in the beginning or middle of their campaigns. Good Luck!!!