I know it may seem a bit odd given that I run a publishing company but for my new novel, Amongst Friends, I have decided to give Kindle Scout a go.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Kindle Scout, this is a programme run by Amazon (of course) whereby books are put up for nomination by readers, with the possibility of them being published and, crucially for me, marketed by the Kindle Scout team.
Anyone who has heard me witter on about self-publishing will also have heard me whingeing about not having enough time to successfully market my books. It’s a poor excuse, I am sure some people think, but really I have a living to make and two young children to look after. While I would love that to be from my books, I can’t just down tools and put everything into them. Because what if they don’t sell? Not that I don’t believe in my books, I just know how much work is needed to sell them, and me, successfully.
So, back to Kindle Scout – a brief summary. I have submitted my manuscript and the front cover of the book – sneak preview right here, thank you Catherine Clarke once more for a killer cover (at least I think it is).
Each submission also needs a 45-character one-liner to grab people’s attention. I plumped for:
“Great British fiction that starts with a bang”
Another requirement is a 500-character book description. After some help from friends and readers on Facebook I opted for:
“Lee, Mike and Anna were four years old when they met, and set to be friends for life… but it’s never easy in a group of three. Amongst Friends turns traditional story-telling on its head, beginning with the dramatic end to the friends’ story and tracing step-by-step back through the twists and turns of fate and fortune. Hormones, love, family relationships, and ultimately betrayal and revenge culminate in the explosive conclusion to a complicated three-way friendship.”
It’s not easy, keeping within those character limits! I know some people thought maybe I am giving too much away but because of the nature of the book, telling the story from its ending to its roots, readers will quickly find out what this is all about anyway.
The deal, for any book Kindle Scout decide to publish, is an initial five-year term, and there is an advance of $1500 which is against sales of the book. The contract is for ebooks and audiobooks only – the print rights remain in the hands of the author/publisher. If, after five years, the royalties of the book are below $25,000 then the contract may be cancelled, likewise if they are less than $500 in the preceding twelve months after two years.
There is a short review period (usually one-two business days) then the author/publisher has thirty days in which to sell their book to potential readers. Which is where I now have to ignore the fact I don’t think I have enough time for marketing and get on with it. I need to reach as many potential readers as possible.
I am really proud of my new book. I think it is a braver effort than my previous two, although I am also proud of them, and I think or at least hope that it falls less easily into the ‘female fiction’ category.
Set in Bristol, where I went to secondary school then returned after university, the book charts the lives of three friends, but retraces their steps back to their beginnings. The time period spans 2003 back to 1981. I decided on 2003 as that was the year that I left Bristol to move to Shropshire and, although I go back regularly and love it as much as ever, I don’t feel I am as qualified to write about it from that time onwards. My main characters will have been born the same year as me – 1977 – so in 2003 they were 26. This seemed a fairly good age for the stage of life at which I wanted to finish their story.
The Kindle Scout campaign goes live today, September 14th, and has 30 days to run. During this time you may very well get bored of the whole thing. If it doesn’t go anywhere, then nothing is lost – I will be publishing the ebook alongside the print book, due for release in January 2017. Like a full-term baby, this book is going to come out one way or another.
I am intending to blog about my progress with this, which may be of interest to other writers considering taking part in this programme, and may be exceedingly dull to others.
If you are interested in supporting me, you can find my Kindle Scout campaign page here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/
However, I appreciate that it is fairly tedious to get requests for support. And you’re not getting much in return. But if you do have a moment to nominate my book and/or to share this post with friends and family, I would be delighted. And who wouldn’t wish to delight me?
Otherwise, watch this space, but I’ll try not to be too boring…