It’s just over a week now since my Kindle Scout campaign for Amongst Friends went live. I was very happy to be in the ‘Hot & Trending’ list for the first few days but, as expected, this did not last. What it would take to achieve consistent placing in this list over the full 30 days of a campaign, I do not know. A more extensive Twitter following, mailing list and so on than I have, I suspect!
However, this in itself does not particularly bother me. From what I’ve read, Kindle Scout is not just a popularity contest.
I used to belong to a site called Authonomy, which was run (and has since been closed) by HarperCollins. The premise of Authonomy was that writers and readers could meet – virtually – and review work. Members could put books they liked on their virtual bookshelves and the most popular books each month would be reviewed by HarperCollins editors, with the possibility of being published.
Kindle Scout seems to work in a reasonably similar way, with the final decision resting in the hands of the editors. However, from what I have read it is not just those books on the Hot & Trending list which will make their way into these hands. I got fed up with Authonomy as it felt to me like it turned quickly into a school playground, in the forums at least, with posts where people fawned over others in the hope of getting some good reviews and bookshelf places. There were wind-up merchants, stupid arguments, people going off in a huff saying they were leaving, only to re-appearing a couple of days later, presumably when they realised nobody was going to run after them to check they were OK. It was very distracting from the core reason that most of us were meant to be there: writing.
Anyway, on to the numbers… I’ve been pleased with the results of my Kindle Scout campaign so far.
The stats are updated once a day, around 5:00 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), enabling writers to see how they have fared day-by-day.
My last update was yesterday morning, at which point I had spent 113 hours in the Hot & Trending category, with 593 total page views.
I have implemented a number of ways of publicising my campaign, testing the waters to see what seems to work. The stats provide a breakdown of where ‘campaign traffic’ comes from so it is possible to see roughly what is working.
I was pleasantly surprised to see (if I’m reading this correctly!) that a good portion of ‘traffic’ is coming directly from Kindle Scout, meaning it is not just friends, family and existing readers who are visiting my page but other, unknown, people who like the look of the book.
I can also see that the number of page views actually increased after a sharp fall, which follows the start of a paid-for targeted ad on Facebook. I have set the target group as 18+, in Bristol (as the majority of the book is set there) with interests including writing, reading, ebooks and Kindle books. This is seeing OK results; I suspect not enough to put me back in Hot & Trending but hopefully to keep generating a bit of interest in the campaign page.
I’d like to know how popular Kindle Scout is with readers who are interested in ‘scouting’ for new books not because they have been drawn to the programme by a writer they like or somebody they know, but just because they support the idea of it. There is a pay-off to readers in that if the nominate a title which goes on to be published by Kindle Press they will receive a free Kindle copy of the book – but of course this is not guaranteed.
I have nominated a couple of books on Kindle Scout but if I’m being honest, will I carry on doing this once my campaign is over? Well, maybe, especially if I am successful, but I suppose I’m looking at it as a writer, not a reader.
It seems a long time until October 14th when this campaign ends but I am determined not to get too obsessive about it. I’m working on the print version of Amongst Friends, which will be published by Heddon Publishing whatever the outcome, and of course if Kindle Scout doesn’t pay off for me, the ebook will be released by Heddon too. Either way, my third novel is going to be released in the next few months and I’m very excited about it.