Monday, May 22, 2017

Some Kindle Scout Insights

So, I've finished my Kindle Scout campaign. My campaign ran from April 22nd until May 21st, 2017, and now I'm in the nebulous waiting period that can last anywhere from 1 day to 15 days. They will email me to let me know if I'm selected, and if I am, we work through their process and their timelines (generally, their program literature says I'll have about 30 days to spruce things up, then my book goes live, and the nominees get their free copies, and get prompted to review the book to increase visibility, and they'll use a few little promotional tools on my behalf, and they own the rights to my book for a certain period of time, with specific options for renewal, reversion, and things of that nature).

If I'm not selected, I still have the option to launch the book independently, I just won't get the advance, or the Amazon editing process, etc. If I launch the book independently, I retain all rights and can just advertise the book myself, as an independent author. If I choose to do this, Amazon seems to offer the ability to at least let my nominators know that the book has been released independently, which is nice.

Sitting here at the end of 30 days, I have a few things in the "if I had it to do over again" column I wanted to share, in case anyone else is thinking of doing Kindle Scout as well:

1) It's important to be Hot & Trending, as it increases your visibility, as well as your credibility to casual observers. It seems that relatively unknown authors, like me, are more likely to be Hot & Trending at the very beginning of their campaigns, and at the very end. This is because of the "Recently Added" and "Ending Soon" promo bars on which you can be featured during those timeframes. After that, getting and staying Hot & Trending is very challenging.

2) In light of this information, I would have picked a launch day where the beginning and the end of my 30 day campaign would land on a Tuesday/Wednesday. My campaign began on a Saturday and ended on a Sunday. Frankly, not many people are cavorting the Internet over the weekend. My clicks from Facebook were down those days, as were the organic Kindle Scout clicks. Based on my Campaign Views dashboard, regardless of when I posted on social media, my highest traffic days were usually Tuesdays or Wednesdays, with the exception of the very beginning and very end of my campaign, where activity spiked.

NOTE: Part of this is how nominations work. Users can only have 3 nominations active at a time. Your friends and family will probably only nominate you, so they will just set it and forget it right at the beginning of your campaign. Kindle Scout followers are more likely to Save your book, then nominate you during your final days, so they can maximize the number of nominations (and potential free books) and not have your book taking up a slot for the book's entire 30 day campaign.

3) Also in light of this information, I would have staggered my roll-out. I posted so that all of my Facebook friends (which was my biggest source of traffic) jumped on at once. This was great for the first five days of my campaign, but then things tapered off until the last 3 days. I think a better strategy for someone else doing this would be setting the Privacy settings on the Facebook posts so that you post only to 1/4 of your friends at the beginning of the campaign, then add friends to the posts as your campaign goes on so in week 2, 1/2 of your friends are seeing the posts, then 3/4 in week 3, then all of them in week 4.

This would be easy enough to do on Facebook - plus you could group it so that your most supportive friends see the posts first, and can do what they do best. Then, your more distant friends could be in later groups, sparing them spam until the end of the campaign. This would make your campaign traffic a little more consistent throughout the campaign - you'd (hopefully) get new nominations and new, fresh page views each week, from people who didn't know about it before.

4) I would also suggest networking actively with the other authors who are doing Kindle Scout. It's no time to be shy - if you like their book, reach out, and offer to cross-promote. I wouldn't suggest doing this if you don't like the author's book to begin with. But, for those you peruse and like, you have access to their campaign pages, where they link to their Facebook and author pages. So, make contact, and discuss some exchanges. The worst they can do is say "no." I did not do very much of this, because I am currently at a level where I don't have much to offer in exchange - my author page has limited followers, and I don't have a solid base of readers yet, but once I've grown a bit, I'd definitely do this in a heartbeat.

If you're thinking of doing Kindle Scout for yourself, I hope you'll find these ideas useful. If you've done Kindle Scout and have anything to add, feel free to chime in.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Remnants Now Available for Nominations via Amazon - Kindle Scout

I was accepted into the Amazon Kindle Scout Program! This is really exciting, as it means I could get selected for a publishing contract with Amazon! And that means promotional opportunities and things I otherwise couldn’t get as easily as a fledgling author. It’s also a pretty good fit for me and the kind of writing I do now, while still working hard on my law career.

For the Scout program, they want to know you have a marketable book, so they ask you to collect votes before they decide to award you with the publishing contract. Since it’s through Amazon, you don’t have to sign up for anything extra outside your usual Amazon account, and voting is FREE. Also, if you vote and I get published, you get a FREE copy of the eBook when it’s published! So, I’m asking folks if they wouldn’t mind voting for my book on the Scout page:

Also, if you might consider copying & pasting the link to share on Facebook/Twitter/Your Blog/Your dog (… OK not really, though dog shirts are cool…), I’d be eternally grateful. This is a really good opportunity, so I appreciate your support.

IN ADDITION, if I do get selected for the publication opportunity, I receive a small advance. Some of it, I will be using to build up my author platform (a better website, for starters), but my intention is to take HALF of the net proceeds (i.e. after taxes) and donate to organizations I care about. I appreciate all the support I get to make my dreams come true, so I want to support others in their dreams and causes, too. So, after taxes, it’ll add up to about $200 per organization; and the places I’m giving to are:

  • ALIVE Rescue at (animal rescue in Chicago specializing in assisting dogs with canine influenza, which can often be a death sentence for dogs in shelters)
  •  National Novel Writing Month at (I’ve been working with them since 2007 to motivate and inspire new writers, and without them, I never would have written a book to begin with)
  • Locked Into Vacancy Entertainment at (an audio variety show in the style of old time radio, a number of my dearest friends are part of this company and I want to see them succeed)

I also wanted to mention another few folks who made this possible. The original idea for a dystopian take on Robin Hood came from the photo shoot designed and photographed via Steven Bourelle, whose incredible work can be found at - as well as Grayson Coleman-Selby, a talented Renaissance faire performer and worker who you can see LOTS MORE OF at 

Thank you again for your support!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Continuing Adventures

So, a few of you may have checked out Remnants. This is my dystopian take on the Robin Hood tale, as inspired by this fabulous photo shoot right here from a few years ago, designed by my friend Grayson and shot by the talented Steven Bourelle of Bourelle Photography fame.

I've been doing NaNoWriMo for years, but Remnants was the first time I'd felt really inspired in a long time. I'm extremely thankful for the push it gave my imagination. With the flexibility the Wattpad platform provides, I may continue working on it for a while, fine-tuning it and coming up with fun iterations and edits.

The thing about writing for myself is, I get that freedom, and I'm enjoying it. So, I figured, for now, why not continue with the story? While I stuck with many traditional Robin Hood themes in the initial book, I want to expand on this world and keep going. So, today, I posted the first part of Remnants II, which I'm tentatively calling Broken Remnants.

These are just working titles for now, and perhaps as the story unfolds I will get a bit more creative. I want to focus on making it a trilogy, as I think that's a good format for a comprehensive tale. I'm not sure I'd do more than that in this world - I don't see it spinning endlessly into a series, though I guess since it's up to me, I can keep going for as long as it's fun.

I hope you enjoyed the first installment enough to keep going along with me. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented, whether publicly or privately. In this, I work for encouragement and love right now, and every little bit helps.

The cover is just a placeholder at this point as well, as I'm torn between different ideas for what to do. But, I wanted to have something in there, as even simple images can spark the imagination!

(Insert witty blog ending here). (No, seriously, I hate trying to end blog posts, I'm so bad at it. I get torn between something casual and non-committal, or something inspirational and overly-cheesy). (Should I be funny? I don't even know. Ugh.). (How do you even punctuate with parentheses?).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hi Friends.

So, I'm a terrible blogger, as evidenced by not posting in... um. A few. Years.

It's just not my platform. But, I'd like to try again, so.

I'm still participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and am one of the co-MLs for the ChiWriMo region, which I love doing.

I'm also part of the Bristol Renaissance Faire, which isn't writing related but is related to creativity and inspiration.

Related to that, I'm editing one of my NaNoWriMo novels from a couple years ago, which was inspired by a photo shoot done by some of my favorite Bristolians.

I've edited in fits and starts; the first part of the novel is probably in its forth iteration, while the second part is less polished, having only been glossed over a couple times. The ending is the biggest struggle for me, as I've gone back and forth on what I'd like to do with it a few times. But, eventually, the ending has to end.

I'm working on it semi-live-action via Wattpad, and you can find the book, which I've tentatively titled Remnants, right there. I hope you'll check it out and provide some input and feedback! (gently, please, but still honestly)

OK, that's all I have for now. DO YOU SEE WHY I HATE BLOGGING? HOW DO YOU EVEN END A BLOG POST. OH EM GEE GUYS. OK no really have a good day.