To KindleScout or Not – The Cons

Most of you know that my book Beyond was submitted to KindleScout from August 19-September 19 2015. I heard, two days after the campaign ended, that I did not get a publishing contract. Instead KindleScout wished me “the best” and they hope I’ll “consider Kindle Scout again for your next book!” I was pretty disappointed. That being said, I also learned a lot. Which is what people who are optimists like to think of as a ‘win.’ I’m not sure if I’m an optimist today. Hopefully I’ll come back around later.

I wrote a bit about my decision to submit to KindleScout in the post KindleScout and Beyond. I researched, reading a lot of pros and cons, all from the perspective of having had a successful campaign. Such as, are you willing to accept a low advance? Or are you willing to have no control over the price? I thought these cons were pretty good considering, and submitted to KindleScout anyway, because like everyone who enters a contest, I believed I could win it.

So here’s some cons that you should consider because there is a chance (Dear reader/Author there is a slim slim chance) that, like me, your book won’t get chosen. And I believe your chances are getting worse by the day.

The campaign dashboard is almost completely useless.
Once your book goes live, you have a bit of time where you’re blind because all your information is delayed by a day. This meant that my book entered the campaign without being hot and trending and I had no idea how much I needed to step up my game until the following day. I stepped up my game and got my book in hot and trending very quickly but the only way to know on an hour by hour basis was by checking KindleScout. Pretty much hourly. The dashboard looks pretty but doesn’t tell you what you really need to know, like how many page views make a person hot and trending, how many page views translate to nominations, or even how many of any of them you need over all and finally, how many anyone else has ever gotten. And don’t go to sleep because you’ll need to keep cranking the Hot and Trending machine, by anywhere from 10-200 page visits, or something, your guess.

Don't sleep, gotta keep that Hot and Trending orange bar up, a day ago
Don’t sleep, gotta keep that Hot and Trending orange bar up, a day ago

The author has no idea what the goals are.
Okay, your goals are to get a lot of nominations. But pretty early on you realize that the name of the game is hot and trending. Or is it? And sorry but you don’t ever get to see how many nominations you have, instead you get a page visit tally, delayed of course, by a day.
stats for campaign 2

The rules of the game are shifting.
In August, it looked like about 40+ books were listed on the site. (there is no overall tally) I looked back over the months preceding and books were being published all the time, every few days, sometimes more than one a day, 7-12 a month. By the end of the month, the number of books on the site had doubled and a new category, YA, had been added. (I wanted in that category but they wouldn’t add me mid-campaign sadly.) In September 2015, so far, two books have been picked. Also, and I didn’t figure this out until halfway through the month, the Hot and Trending seems to be capped at 20. I was excited that I was there almost every day, considering, but as the field fills up how will mere mortals get to hot and trending, every day, for 30 days?

I’m not sure how positive news is delivered, but the negative news is fully automated.
KindleScout says that it takes a few business days to decide, but I recieved my letter at midnight on a Sunday, two days after my campaign ended. At the exact same time that all the lovely people who nominated me found out. The letter was a form letter without any information and ‘do not reply.’ In hindsight, and just guessing, I don’t think any human actually read my book, or even much looked at it. I think my campaign never got to the right number of nominations, or level of hot, or whatever, to warrant eyes on the page.

And finally, if your campaign ends in failure, there is literally nothing in it for you.
Either I just marketed my arse off for an entire month to get KindleScout 1300 new customers, with no plus side for me. Or, I just marketed like crazy for my next book, contacting every friend, fan, stranger, and person within a 3 mile radius, and then after a whole month of working my arse off, KindleScout told all of those people, 1300 according to their dashboard, that my book wasn’t good enough to be published. Thanks KindleScout, glad I could help.

I think if I were you, this last one is a huge negative. A screaming pile of stay away. Even if your Aunt Edna believes in your book, she may question her wisdom after hearing how Amazon feels about it. And that new book club that was going to read it in October after it was published, well, they probably just changed their mind.  Until authors have more information about what works, and what KindleScout is looking for, your month is just free marketing for their program, and is at your own detriment.

I saw that a few people were publishing their statistics so that others could see, and try to piece together how this whole thing works, here’s mine: 480 hours of 720 in Hot and Trending, 1300 page views.
stats for kindlescout campaing

If you nominated my book, thank you so much. I plan to publish it in a few days and will let you know when, please sign up for my newsletter to be one of the first to know.
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