Observations on Kindle Scout and THE LAST EMPRESS #publishing

Seven days left on the “campaign”. So far, my experience with Kindle Scout has been uneasy.  So I’ve come up with several observations about this new “crowd-based” publishing platform.

THE LAST EMPRESS cover on Kindle Scout

1. The “Submarine Effect”. In the beginning, there’s a lot of excitement about seeing your book show up in the Kindle Scout pages. The web page shows “Hot” titles, then works its way down to the genres represented by Scout. After a week or so, unless your book is “Hot” early on, your title disappears under the weight of newer entries. As you can see in the picture here, there are seven “pages” of Literature and Fiction Titles, and LAST EMPRESS is on page 4. That means it takes four clicks just to see my book’s cover.

2. The “Other Genre” Effect. Some of the “Hot and Trending” titles that show up at the top managed to be placed in multiple genres, and therefore get to show up multiple times on the main page. The title “Love or The Witches of Windward Circle” is not only “Hot”, but it’s in Science Fiction, Romance, and Literature and Fiction. Which one is it? And why was I not allowed to pick multiple genres when I created my title?

3. There’s no “Rhyme or Reason” for Hotness. Clearly the more a book is nominated, the “Hotter” it becomes. But it’s difficult to determine whether someone is gaming the system or simply buying hotness (and is that money really worth spending?) The covers on some of these titles are atrocious. The Misery Checklist is a bunch of pencils and looks like a Powerpoint slide. Fire Thieves looks like someone went crazy on red and orange. So it’s not a case of the “pro” cover. Romance titles are popular, which was to be expected. It’s just a mess and there’s no clear logic behind why some stories are “Hot”.

4. No Help Whatsoever. If you put your book out here for consideration, there are no reviews from readers to guide your choice and no real way to tell would-be voters  which book might interest you. Your book is buried and there’s not much you can do about it. The genre selections are random–vampire books appear in Literature and Fiction. So far I’ve used some of the more basic methods of advertising–Twitter announcements, Facebook, blogging and so on, but this is only an excerpt. It’s not like I can offer the book for free (which I do on Wattpad) and it makes no sense to advertise heavily on a three-chapter excerpt.

I would feel better if the book was “Hot”, then at least I hoped it would get Kindle Press’ interest. Hotness is no guarantee of publication, at least according to the guidelines, but it’s very important on this site.

One Reply to “Observations on Kindle Scout and THE LAST EMPRESS #publishing”

  1. I’m also in Kindle Scout. I googled my title, ended in your page.

    “Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle”

    My book is a genre mix. Horror Farce is what I call it.

    Kindle has no horror and I wanted to distinguish it from plain fantasy. My editor an some of my early readers said it’s literary fiction. Kindle Scout let me choose three genres and sub genres. Why? I don’t know.

    My book is no longer hot and trending, arghhh!!!

    I emailed everyone I know and I have been bugging everyone in Facebook to go nominate it. I want to believe that the nominations are just to get an idea if a book has potential and the eventual decision to publish or not a book will come from true analysis.

    Is it the cover? Is it bad? Is it the super-short synopsis? Not enticing enough? I misread the rules first and work on a 500 word one. It’s 500 characters.

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