Why I Entered My Latest Novel in Amazon’s Kindle Scout Program
Although I’d been writing for years, I didn’t begin to take my writing career seriously until March 2011. I know because that’s when I setup my website and wrote my first blog post. I was three months clean and sober.
I’d written a 100k word fantasy novel the year before, in a haze, but when I looked it over, I realized it was crap. It was disjointed and still didn’t have an ending. I had tons of notes and scribbled verse, but nothing substantial, nothing finished. I had lots of ideas (I’ve always had lots of ideas) but I didn’t know where to start, so I collected a few of my more recent ideas together and began to write.
My first novel (The New Flesh) was published May of 2013 by DarkFuse, a publisher far more impressive than I realized at the time. I knew nothing of the publishing world. All I knew was that I had been given an opportunity and I was determined to take advantage of it.
I now have three published novels and four novellas with DarkFuse. I have also self-published one novella and one short story collection. I have, during these past few years, learned a great deal. I’ve met amazing people and become a part of a community of writers and readers. I have spent countless hours attempting to decipher the publishing world and discover a way to become a fulltime writer in today’s environment. I’ve been working hard.
Unfortunately, like most things, there is no one right answer. The secret, I have concluded, is perseverance and diversity. Write and write and keep producing and then publish in as many ways as possible. That’s it. There you go. And keep up on the changing environment. In today’s market, innovation and risk-taking are required to stay ahead of the curve.
Which is why I have enrolled my dark fantasy, The Godgame, in Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, but I’ll get to that.
As I began to publish, I realized that I had entered a world in flux. As I searched the internet for information, I found arguments and contradictions. I found passionate pieces from authors like David Gaughran and Hugh Howey on the wonders of self-publishing, but was, thankfully, pulled back to reality by dark fiction author Greg Gifune. While I searched and pondered, I continued to write and write (because, no matter what, writing is the most important thing) and, because when I set my mind on something I learn as much about every aspect of it as I can, I schooled myself on the business side of the publishing world. I asked everyone I met their opinions and absorbed what they could tell me. I read articles and books. I learned about book distribution, cover art, the differences between print and ebook markets, and studied the history of publishing in order to hypothesize the future. This is what I do. I attacked my subject and became obsessed.
What have I discovered? Well, like I said above, perseverance and diversity, and that I still have a lot of learn. Results, as they currently stand, from a scientific point of view, are inconclusive. My research goes on. I currently have work submitted to agents, legacy publishers, small press, and, through the month of August, Kindle Scout…
What’s Kindle Scout? Well, a ton of people have covered the subject (including Allan Leverone here, who had his thriller, The Omega Connection, published as one of the first books through this program). Basically, an author must do all of his or her own work, including writing, editing, formatting, and cover art, and then submit to the program. The author’s work is then on display for thirty days on the Kindle Scout page where readers vote for their favorites. At the end of thirty days, Amazon decides whether to publish the work based partially on how well it was voted upon by readers. If published, all those readers who nominated the title receive a free Kindle copy.
Yeah, it’s weird. It’s somewhere between traditional publishing and self-publishing. All I know is that Amazon holds considerable sway over the literary world at the moment, especially when it comes to genre fiction, and having a little of their marketing power behind your title can help to find new readers.
I know the indie world may look like a fetid shitscape of mediocrity with so many titles from self-published authors without a clue how awful and unready their work really is. I know the indie literary world has become like those early stages of American Idol (fuck me for making this reference), with thousands and thousands of self-entitled morons prancing about without talent or the discipline required to develop real skill, but there are still a few gems. Well-written and captivating literary works, I still believe, will rise to the top.
In the meantime, I will continue to press onward, determined never to give up, determined to explore every available avenue, determined to find my place in the literary world.
The Godgame, Keith’s latest novel, is on Kindle Scout through the month of August. Check it out. He’d really appreciate it if you nominated his title for publication!
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