Amazon Launches Kindle Scout

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Remember this post from a couple months ago? I talked about Swoon Reads, a publisher that put the power of publishing in your hands by allowing you to comment on and rate excerpts of books yet to  be published. Based on the feedback received, the company would then choose which titles to ultimately publish. Well Amazon has gotten in on the fun with Kindle Scout, which just launched last week.

The premise is essentially the same as the publisher I mentioned above and in my previous post. Authors submit a never before published manuscript. Readers can read an excerpt within 30 days. Readers can nominate up to three books during the 30 day period and change their nominations at any time. Then, once the period is up Amazon will tally the nominations and decide which title(s) to publish.

But Amazon has upped the stakes just a bit. First, if your book is chosen for publishing you’ll receive a $1500 advance. You might think that is quite small, but you’re not getting any advance by self-publishing and most traditional publishers offer debut authors little to no advance because you’re unlikely to make it back for them. So you get the nice little advance AND you get Amazon marketing. I think this may be the bigger deal of the two.  A quick example of an author who I think has seen major benefits of Amazon marketing is Marcus Sakey. His first few books were published by major publishers and all well received, but they all have less than 100 reviews on Amazon. Which isn’t many. His two most recent books have been published by Thomas and Mercer (an Amazon company) and they have 1492 and 435 reviews, respectfully. If a book has that many reviews, then it’s sold a few more.

Also, the author will receive 50 percent e-book royalties, which is right in the middle of traditional and self-publishing.

But Kindle Scout of course has its doubters. I’ve read people saying that the books will be low quality. That it’s dumb because Amazon ultimately makes the publishing decision rather than the readers. These arguments are hardly valid. Low quality books are published every year by traditional publishers. It’s not about quality, everyone knows it’s about what they think will sell more books. And second, every publisher decides which titles will or won’t be published. This isn’t new.

I think there are some people out there who will hate any program that Amazon comes up with just for the sake of doing so. CreateSpace. KDP. Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Scout. It doesn’t matter, they just dislike whatever Amazon comes up with because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do. Well I don’t. I think it would be fun to take part in something like this. And if you nominate a book that is ultimately chosen for publishing, then you get a free Kindle copy of the finished product. Kindle Scout adds books everyday in all genres.

What do you think? A $1500 advance and Amazon marketing if you write a book that readers on Kindle Scout like. I say sign me up.

You can watch a Kindle Scout video and take a look at some unpublished manuscripts here.

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Like a Reality Show, but for Authors

swoon

Photo Credit: Reader’s Entertainment Magazine

I remember reading a long time ago about a reality show in Italy in which writers competed on TV for a publishing deal. I think. I don’t know the name of the series or how it panned out, but if my memory serves me right, then the writers were tested by writing just about anything you can think of. Well, I’ve now discovered something even better. Swoon Reads.

The premise of this Macmillan YA imprint is simple, publish what the people want. I’ve literally just discovered the company minutes before sitting down to write this, but it appears that authors simply submit a manuscript and readers can sample it, rate, and comment on what they read. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that it sounds no different from what you can do on Amazon or the Barnes and Noble site. And that’s true, but those books are already published. These aren’t. You’re making the decision.

This is like a reality show and a Kickstarter all-in-one! Without having to give any money! I think this was a mighty fine move by Macmillan and although no one really knows how the eventual published books will sell (the first is set for release Aug. 26) I’m thinking they’ll do okay.

Lastly, before you go off submitting your newly polished manuscript to the site’s readers you should know that nearly 300 manuscripts have been submitted and the number of books accepted for publication is still in the single digits. It isn’t easy but hey, publishing never is.

Now tell me what you think of Swoon Reads using feedback from readers to decide which books deserve publishing. I think it’s great, what about you?

Here’s a New York Times article discussing the first book to be released by the imprint.

Interested in taking a look at the first book? Do so here.