Many of you will know that last Saturday, 12th March, my Kindle Scout 30 day campaign ended for Deep State (Acer Sansom #4). For any one who doesn’t know about Kindle Scout here is a link that explains things. Kindle Scout
This week has been a waiting game to see whether the book would be chosen by Amazon for publication through its Kindle Press imprint . Yesterday, Friday, I received an email from Amazon letting me know that the campaign had been successful.
Those of you who nominated the book should receive a thank you notification from Amazon, but I would like to repeat my sincere thanks to all those who nominated, shared, encouraged and helped to otherwise spread the word. Once again: writers are nothing without readers (and supporters).
Just a reminder, all who registered a nomination for Deep State will receive a free ebook in advance of publication day.
Despite best intentions to not get too ‘involved’ with the minutia of the campaign it was difficult not to: check ups of page views, Hot and Trending stats, pestering readers and supporters for nominations, for examples.
I’m going to devote this blog-post to providing some feedback on my experience of the process in case any one ‘out there’ is looking for information on what to expect and what they need to do to be successful. (Disclaimer: apart from the screen grabs of my stats it’s all guesswork.)
During the campaign, nominees get access to three stats in graph and chart form below. A bit ignorant, I went into the campaign believing that one simply must perform well every day to be in with a chance of getting chosen. My stats show you that you don’t need to. This leads me to consider other reasons why DS was chosen.
- I have a fairly healthy publishing history with Amazon. You might say a proven seller. (I believe that in my case this would have had a siginifcant influence on Amazon’s decision.)
- The cover is, I think, very good. (It’s looks professionally produced not home-made. First appearancess and all that.)
- My campaign stats are OKish. Probably just OK enough to get whoever makes the decisions to take a second look at the book.
- DS was properly and thoroughly prepared for submission. (I would be happy to self-publish it tomorrow in its current state.)
- I think DS is a good read. (I know. They all say that.)
As can be seen from the chart below DS did not spend a lot of time in Hot & Trending during the campaign: 206 hours out of a possible 720. That is not particularly encouraging. It received a good boost at the beginning because I posted on my blog and social media and supporters responded wonderfully. The spike in the middle was a Facebook post trying to reach any one who had missed news of the campaign. The spike at the end, I suspect, came because on the last day of campaign all books feature on a sidebar category ‘Ending Soon’ and many Kindle Scouters will only look then and if they have a vote to use up will take a punt on a book in the hope of a free copy. Just my feeling for the system.
Campaign views per day graph. Nothing to get too excited about.
And finally the ‘where did the traffic come from’ pie-chart.
Based on the above stats it would be a confident person to bet on their book getting through. But selection is, obviously, not just a matter of stats. I did some digging, like you do, and found a couple of other successful candidates who had not set the world alight with their campaign stats. This, I believe, should give encouragement to anyone thinking of submitting to KS who does not have a huge social media reach or the time and energy to spend thirty days and nights badgering the online world to support their entry. Get the other things right (see 1-5 above) and you are in with a chance.
It’s worth mentioning that I came across a few past candidates who have also shared their experiences and their stats. Some had not been successful and their stats put mine in the shade (more than double my time in H&T and one guy claimed to have over 6000 pages views.) I’m not speaking about them individually when I say that it’s good to know that just because someone is able to drum up a lot of support for their book they will not automatically succeed.
The bottom line is stats are not the be all and end all of a Kindle Scout campaign. Getting yourself noticed with some H&T hours is not a bad thing and something everyone should aim for.
The main advantage that I associate with being selected for publication is that Amazon will, probably, want to make the most of their investments by giving the books it takes on some valuable exposure in the world’s biggest-by-far, highly competetive ebook marketplace. That will be good for the book in question, the author’s name (so long as the book is reviewed favourably by readers), and possible positive knock-on effect on an author’s other books.
In my particular case, I hope that the other three books in the Acer series will receive some benefit from having Amazon get behind #4. We will see.
Other details involved are: there is a $1500 advance on future sales. Advance being the operative word. It’s not a prize. Who knows how long that will take to make? Royalties are paid on a 50/50 split on the net revenues, as opposed to 70/30 in the author’s favour when you self-publish. The contract states that Amazon reserve the right to produce an audio book. What fun that would be but realistically as the book is #4 in a series, it’s unlikely that Amazon will choose that option. (If they do I want to audition.) As I understand it, successful candidates also get a Kindle Scout T-shirt.
Another potential benefit of being selected is that it’s something to go on the writing CV. I am thinking seriously about touting something of mine to agents because I do still and will always want to be traditionally published. (Just one book. Is that too much to ask?) When the time comes to make my submissions the Kindle Scout submission will be something to put in the covering letter along with a copy of my Cycling Proficiency certificate.
It’ll likely be a few weeks before the book becomes available. Amazon and I have some paperwork to attend to and, as I understand it, when I have had a chance to review the manuscript I submitted one last time Amazon will then pass it on to their editorial services who will go over it looking for ‘improvements’ that can be made. I notice from the Kindle Scout page that some books have been in the production stage for several weeks.
Lastly, I want to say what a truly wonderful community the writing community is. Readers and fellow writers. Within minutes of posting my news on social-media I was inundated with messages of congratulations and good will. In what can sometimes be a rather unpleasant world it’s good to be part of something filled with goodwill, encouragement and positivity.
Well done Oliver, I know you had some anxieties about this at times but I am pleased that it turned out well for you.
I think you are right that your past self publishing history with Amazon probably had an influence on their decision. What you didn’t mention is the overwhelmingly positive reviews that your previous publications received. Amazon will have noted how well received your other novels have been and I am convinced that that will have spoken louder than any campaign stats purely because of the continuity of those positive reviews. This is therefore an endorsement of your whole body of work. Many, many congratulations.
Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate your ongoing support. It’s been a few years now, hasn’t it?
I’m sure you are right about the impact of reader feedback on Amazon’s decision. It would have been another contributing factor. Good job I have supportive readers. 🙂
I like your books very much and think they are as good or better than many of the “book” published authors I have read. I am a criminolgy instructor in a university and reading mysteries and police procedures is my relaxation. I put the Romney/marsh books on my reading list in my gender and crime class. The assignment was to compare/contrast fiction with research on what actually happens.
I wish you well.
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment here. Much appreciated as are you very kind words for the books.
I’m thrilled that you’d use the R&M Files like that. I bet your students found plenty of discrepencies between real policing and Dover CIDs idea of law enforcement. 🙂
Great news Oliver, and even better news I’m getting a free copy 👍, next step let’s see the acer and the Romney and marsh books made into tv series’s.
Thanks for your comment and your support. TV? Wouldn’t that be something? Especially the R&M Files. Would they let me play Romney?
I’ll bet you’re over the moon this morning with all that hard work now paying off.
I am not quite through TSB yet but look forward to getting Deep State – can’t wait – as I am a fan of Acer, and of course your other characters. Read the R&M ‘blast’ and thought it was great, also the Acer ‘blast, which was also up to your usual high standard, will probably be starting B&C tonight. Will post a review when I’ve finished it.
So what happens now? Sabbatical over? or are you carrying on writing full time, without the interference of another job?
Whatever you have to do: good luck, be happy, and keep writing. 🙂
I’m really please about things, yes. (I’m not the sort to fist-pump and shout. I think I come from a more dignidied era 🙂 )
So glad that you’re having a ‘blast’ with the shorts. 🙂
Now? (Blows out cheeks in uncertainty.) Back to UK soon for some non-writing related work that I could do without. As for next September… I’m hoping to get another year out what I’m doing.
Thanks for your good wishes. Same to you Pat. 🙂
What wonderful news to wake up to this morning
It’s made my day so you must be really chuffed
I agree with the other comments that your many positive reviews for all of your other books will have had an impact on amazon
They have shown some sense and I hope their decision will help you towards your goal
Thanks for your comment and kind words. I’m really pleased with the verdict. Gives me something to get a bit excited about. (I’m thinking of the delivery of my Kindle Scout T-shirt.) I agree with you and Dawn, the positive feedback probably had an influence, which I’m happy about.
Excellent news Oliver. You deserve this as you have entertained Liz and I with your books since our first adventure with DI Romney. Now go away and think of a way to bring back Grimes!
Many thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.
You’ve just given me an idea: maybe when I run out of conventional stuff to write about I can do a paranormal crime books – think Randall and Hopkirk. I seem to remember liking them. Grimes and Dover CID: a psychic spin off series. Could it work?
Do not forget the 25yd swimming cert, on that CV. Ohh the power of promotion. So very pleased for you.
Furthest I got was five metres freestyle – straight down to the bottom of the pool. Things haven’t changed.
Thanks for your efforts and support.
Well done Oliver. I am looking forward to reading Deep State.
Thanks, Jeff. Much appreciated. I hope you find it worth the wait!
Thanks for the information in this blog, Oliver, someday I may try myself but as you and others have said, your enormous presence on Amazon and great reviews are sure to have influenced the decision – or in simpler terms, they saw quality and potential and grabbed it. I hope it has a huge impact on sales for you. Have very little time to read these days, but will get around to the Acer Sansom series some day.
Thanks for your comment and kind words.
I’d really recommend the experience. Yes, I would imagine that my proven sales history with Amazon would have been a factor, but I’ve seen that it’s not essential for Amazon to take writers on. The whole KS thing is definitely worth a go. Time will tell whether it brings any real benefit but it’s something different and new. I’m always up for that.
Congratulations – it’s an omen of good things to come 🙂
Thank you. Time will tell, but it all makes a change and change is good, right? Right? 😦
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose …
your place is back on the Marsh surpassing Russell Thorndike 😉
Haha… I’d need to go some to catch that man. I bet he never got a Kindle Scout deal. 🙂
I’m so pleased to hear your news! Good things come in threes – two more to go!
Many thanks. I have no objection to two more bits of good news.
Very well done Oliver. Congratulations! V generous of you to share your KS experience. Like others here, I agree that it’s not just about promotion (although that helps). It’s your solid record and all those well-deserved good reviews- written by real people. All the best, Sarah
Good to hear from you.
Thanks for your comment and your kind words. I’ve been very fortunate to have a very supportive readership.
Hi, Olivertidy Congratulations well done I’m so pleased for you.. If it’s anything like your other books it should be a winner once again well done… Sherley
Sent from my iPad
Thank you very much for your comment and your kind words. Let’s hope so!
My favourite read are the Acer series ,,but I’ve read most of your other books too ,,looking forward to getting up to date with new adventures 👍
Many thanks for your kind words and your ongoing support of my writing. All sincerely appreciated.
Congratulations on your Scout win! I’m a fellow winner, twice. Did you get the message I sent to you about the Kindle Scout Winners group on Facebook?
Thanks. And congratulations to you. Two wins is impressive. I can’t find any mention of FB group. Where did you send it to? You can always post a link here if you prefer.