Opportunity knocks.


This week I have been working on Three Short Blasts my collection of three short stories – one in each of my three series that I will put out in one book. I really like them all. I’m pretty excited about my little project. I also think that I’m about as happy as I can be technically with each of them. I think they are about ready to go down the line.

With Three Short Blasts put to one side I felt it was time for another look at A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7). After another read through and a few small alterations I can see that I’ll soon be ready to hand this one over to my gentleman friend too. One more read through should do it but I need a week or two away from it before that.

Then I went back to Booker & Cash #3 to familiarise myself with the story so far and give thought to where it can go. Just as I was getting into a B&C frame of mind I got sidetracked with something I saw on my Amazon author page.

Anyone heard of Kindle Scout? I hadn’t. I know about it now though having spent a couple of hours reading up on it and checking out what others had to say about it on independent websites.

Kindle Scout has been going for a while in the US. Late in 2015 Amazon introduced it to the UK. What it boils down to in Amazon’s words is this:

Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

To see more about Kindle Scout click the link. Please have a look. It’s very reader friendly.


I’m a bit excited about Kindle Scout and the possibilities that getting chosen could bring to my writing. I’m not fixated on that advance. I’m looking at the bigger picture that would come with being selected by Kindle Scout and when I look at the bigger picture this is what I see:

1) An Amazon interest in the writing, which means Amazon promoting and helping to sell books. It’s what they do best.

2) Amazon say it’s OK to submit a book in a series, just so long as it’s never been made for sale anywhere else.

It so happens that I have a book coming back to me in the not too distant future from my gentleman friend. It’s a book that meets all the criteria of the submissions page for Amazon Scout. It’s the fourth book in my Acer Sansom series. I think it’s pretty good. I certainly think that the first five-thousand words that can be read as a sample are good enough to encourage readers who like the genre to consider voting for it. I’m seriously thinking about submitting it.

It’s an opportunity. And I realise that I must pursue them. Sales of the Acer books stagnated a long time ago. Probably my own fault. I haven’t done any promotional work yet. If, I say if, Deep State Acer #4 were selected for the Kindle Scout programme then it could potentially bring significant attention in the form of sales to the other Acer books. That would be great news for me the writer.

I quite like the look of the process for Kindle Scout. It’s all over in forty-five days, so not too tortuous for all concerned. I can see how it could be open to abuse though. All a vote takes is someone with an Amazon account to click a button. If a participant has access to thousands of qualifying ‘supporters’ who can be encouraged to click the link then that’s what will count at tallying up time.

I’m seriously considering entering Acer #4 and then hounding the hell out of everyone I know on social-media to vote for it. What do you think?

I will take a quick paragraph here to say that I know there are a few readers who are eagerly anticipating the next Acer and if I enter it in the Kindle Scout programme that will naturally delay publication. I wouldn’t enjoy disappointing those of you who are looking forward to the next installment. I wouldn’t want you to think I would take the decision to enter the book in Kindle Scout lightly, because I don’t give a stuff for your feelings. You know I do. But I would hope that you would approve of my decision and offer your support. (If I’m unsuccessful then the delay is only forty-five days. If I was to be successful and you had voted for the book you would get a free copy from Amazon in thanks!)

Anyway. Still thinking about it. I mean that most sincerely folks! (You didn’t really think I could have a picture of Hughie Green up there and not use his catchphrase, did you?)

30 thoughts on “Opportunity knocks.

  1. I had taken a writing course at Hopkins, MA in creative writing, and Ed Perlman, a very special man and poet, told the class that 75% of your time should be writing, 25% selling.
    I am not a talented writer, but am an astute and well trained reader: you are very gifted and your books will be widely reader and critically acclaimed. I get what you are doing, but keep the faith. You really are that good.
    I wish you the best and will vote as well.
    Gail Shields

  2. Let us know if you decide to enter. Competition will be stiff, but like the lottery, you don’t have a chance if you don’t have a ticket.
    Good luck – we’ll vote for you!

  3. I am one of those who is eagerly awaiting the next book, but I think you should go for it. It won’t delay publication by too long and anything that helps you with the marketing is a good thing. Submit it Oliver. (I will even pester my other half to vote too! )

  4. Definitely go for it even though it’ll mean a bit of a delay I think it’s worth it (said through gritted teeth)
    Best of luck with it and you will have my vote

  5. I had not heard of Amazon Scout, but I certainly will look into it. From what you posted, I don’t see how it could be anything but a win/win for you. Amazon backing could be huge in name recognition. As you say, even if you were not successful, you have lost 45 days and nothing more. Good luck! I’ll certainly alert my reader friends if you go forward. Keep us loyal readers posted….

    • Hi Dianne,
      Thanks for your comment and support. Much appreciated.
      Yes, as i said, I really just stumbled across it and it’s quite new in the UK. I think I’ve got to give it a shot. If nothing else, while the book would be in the running it might get one or two extra readers looking at my books.
      Best wishes.

  6. I spent some time looking at Amazon Scout and clicking on the various books for synopses to see what might capture my attention and prompt me to vote. I, more often than not, read mysteries, and I did not see one that I wanted to read beyond the blurb. So that blurb is important! I spied no police procedurals and no books with real or interesting locales. Some covers, too, were too dark to see the title or author’s name or it was a “cute” unreadable font. Those things would seem, to me, to be paramount to garner a look-see and then a vote. Perhaps you did some sleuthing, too, but I thought you might like a reader’s perspective. Again, much luck and success!

    • Hi Dianne, Great minds think alike! I did the same thing when I was looking at the site. What struck me was that I didn’t recognise any names searching for backing. Maybe that’s a good thing. It all seems like it could be a bit of a lottery but still worth my time to have a go. You gotta be in it to win it. And point taken about getting those hooks into readers.
      Best wishes and thank you.

  7. Hi Oliver,
    Me: I’m, a cynic: and, I’ve always believed the word ‘Scout’ to mean someone who goes out looking for talent, so I would expect a Kindle ‘Scout’ to be trawling amazon themselves looking for books that sell, then offering a deal. But perhaps that’s in another world, another time?
    But, I would personally consider sending manuscripts off to London publishers again since your skills have been honed to such a very high standard they might just offer you a better deal. And have you ever thought of sending the R&M’s off to the drama department of the BBC? Even if you’ve done it already, do it again, timing plays a big part in success.
    But, you must do as you think fit, and as always, wish you the best of luck and much success in whatever you decide. And if you do decide to go ahead with it, I will obviously support you. And I mean that most sincerely, folks – sorry couldn’t resist that, Oliver. 🙂

    • Hi Pat, I’ve wasted too many minutes dreaming of a Kindle Scout finding me on Amazon and believing that I should be showered with contracts and money and gifts.
      I think this initiative is geared more towards readers scouting out the talent for them. :-/
      I thank you for your very kind words of encouragement. I mean it. Thanks. I might still, one day, pursue the dream but as you know the time and effort and agony involved is quite off-putting. Loads on my plate at the moment – tasks to complete before my time is up in Ankara.
      Best wishes and thanks again for your support, Pat. 🙂

  8. Hi, Oliver, I will definitely support you should you wish to pursue the Kindle Scout route. I have to say, I also agree with Pat – although I am no expert, I believe your work is certainly good enough to try the more traditional route again. I absolutely agree that R&M would be a brilliant TV series. Did you hear about /see the BBC police drama series last year, Happy Valley? If you didn’t catch it, I strongly urge you to have a look. I feel R&M stand up to this very well. Just keep us posted about where you go from here….. Have a great Monday

    • Hi Deborah
      Thanks for your comment and support. Much appreciated, as always.
      I’m always considering my options with the books and wondering when will be the right time to have another go at the traditional route.
      There aren’t many things that would make me happier than seeing R&M on the small screen. What fun that could be.
      I didn’t see Happy Valley. (Never heard of it, actually.) I’ll see if I can find it on the Internet.
      Thanks again and best wishes.
      PS My Monday was pretty good thanks. I hope yours was, too.

  9. Hi Oliver, I have recently been through the whole Kindle Scout experience (Oct/Nov 2015). I am in a different position than you (it was my first novel) but I do have some thoughts / suggestions that might help you. Perhaps a bit lengthy for this reply. I know you put your email address somewhere in a past blog post – I’ll try and find it, or you can email me through my website. Overall, and although I was not selected, there were some benefits to going through the Kindle Scout process. I’ve also nominated enough books (as a reader) to see some trends, and I think that you are probably in a very good position to be selected by them. I think it would be a good move for you, but you need to go in prepared. If you want to know more feel free to contact me. Or I’ll try and find that email you posted… Good luck!

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