Amazon Launches Kindle Scout


Remember this post from a couple months ago? I talked about Swoon Reads, a publisher that put the power of publishing in your hands by allowing you to comment on and rate excerpts of books yet to  be published. Based on the feedback received, the company would then choose which titles to ultimately publish. Well Amazon has gotten in on the fun with Kindle Scout, which just launched last week.

The premise is essentially the same as the publisher I mentioned above and in my previous post. Authors submit a never before published manuscript. Readers can read an excerpt within 30 days. Readers can nominate up to three books during the 30 day period and change their nominations at any time. Then, once the period is up Amazon will tally the nominations and decide which title(s) to publish.

But Amazon has upped the stakes just a bit. First, if your book is chosen for publishing you’ll receive a $1500 advance. You might think that is quite small, but you’re not getting any advance by self-publishing and most traditional publishers offer debut authors little to no advance because you’re unlikely to make it back for them. So you get the nice little advance AND you get Amazon marketing. I think this may be the bigger deal of the two.  A quick example of an author who I think has seen major benefits of Amazon marketing is Marcus Sakey. His first few books were published by major publishers and all well received, but they all have less than 100 reviews on Amazon. Which isn’t many. His two most recent books have been published by Thomas and Mercer (an Amazon company) and they have 1492 and 435 reviews, respectfully. If a book has that many reviews, then it’s sold a few more.

Also, the author will receive 50 percent e-book royalties, which is right in the middle of traditional and self-publishing.

But Kindle Scout of course has its doubters. I’ve read people saying that the books will be low quality. That it’s dumb because Amazon ultimately makes the publishing decision rather than the readers. These arguments are hardly valid. Low quality books are published every year by traditional publishers. It’s not about quality, everyone knows it’s about what they think will sell more books. And second, every publisher decides which titles will or won’t be published. This isn’t new.

I think there are some people out there who will hate any program that Amazon comes up with just for the sake of doing so. CreateSpace. KDP. Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Scout. It doesn’t matter, they just dislike whatever Amazon comes up with because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do. Well I don’t. I think it would be fun to take part in something like this. And if you nominate a book that is ultimately chosen for publishing, then you get a free Kindle copy of the finished product. Kindle Scout adds books everyday in all genres.

What do you think? A $1500 advance and Amazon marketing if you write a book that readers on Kindle Scout like. I say sign me up.

You can watch a Kindle Scout video and take a look at some unpublished manuscripts here.

11 thoughts on “Amazon Launches Kindle Scout

  1. This was pretty interesting because it shows the next step in Indie Publishing. I think it’s a good thing and people, authors and reader alike, should get onboard and support. Good info.


  2. I agree. The advance is better than nothing, but the real power, I think, is getting swept up in Amazon’s marketing machine. They know how to sell books! I’m in the Scout program; my novel is RUNNING FROM THE PAST. I hope the publishing decision is not based solely on nominations, because I’m sure other authors have more extensive social networks than I do. We’ll see what happens!


  3. There are definitely some possible downsides to the program, which are more apparent right now simply because we haven’t seen how any of these published books have been promoted (since none have been picked yet). If you’re an author who plans on writing tons of books, it’s probably not a bad place to go to try and get one of yours some additional recognition, realizing that you lose a lot of your own access to your book for at least the first two years…which could be painful if Amazon does nothing to help promote it.

    Of course, for many authors, the $1500 is more than they see themselves making off their books to begin with, so it’s definitely a highlight.

    For myself, it was a difficult decision, but I did ultimately decide to try it out with my newest novel (The Long Chron…hint hint…nominate me…it’s the one with the 70’s font on the cover 😉 ) But I’m not sure it’s quite the right place for a person who only has one book in their arsenal…at least not until we see the reality of what will come afterwards.

    As far as the quality of the books go…the competition is only to get the books to the scouts. Just because you become a hot and trending book doesn’t mean Amazon has any requirement to do anything with your book outside of give it a look. They’re ultimately using readers to get rid of the absolute rubbish and hoping that the cream rises to the top. My experience with similar sites as to these is that the folks who have a lot of followers and know how to play the game are usually the ones who get to the top..and more often than not don’t have anything the people at the top consider worth putting money into.

    So, I’ll be interested to see how this all plays out. I’ve got a hat in the ring, but mostly I’m interested to see how Amazon does in the already crowded crowd-sourced publishing market. They typically try to put their own twist on the game.

    Good luck to yourself, if you do put something in.


  4. I came across your article and my book is on Kindle Scout now. This is my first attempt at writing a book and I don’t know what I am doing so Kindle Scout is a good starting place for me. It doesn’t cost to post the book for nomination. I like that it doesn’t cost and the set up–except for the cover is done by Kindle Scout. The instructions were easy to follow even for a first timer. If you follow this link you can read the first 3 chapters of my book. If you like it, please nominate it for publishing. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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