An Amazon Kindle Scout Experience with My Novel, Marble Creek
I thought being a trial lawyer was stressful, but compared to submitting my novel Marble Creek to Amazon’s Kindle Scout in the hope of obtaining a Kindle Press eBook contract, I was a well-prepared actor on a courtroom stage. Practicing law wasn’t personal, but this experience is akin to my first dive into a crowded swimming pool, knowing the other kids will see me if I do a belly flop.
If you’ve never heard of Kindle Scout, it’s no surprise. Kindle Scout doesn’t appear in any Amazon or any Kindle publicity. This Amazon platform handed out its first eBook contract November 27, 2014, and so far has awarded 186 more. Kindle Scout describes itself as a “reader-powered publish[er] for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published…” That means the author is responsible for herding potential nominators to his or her Kindle Scout book site.
Marketing my book? That’s a new concept for me. I have two novels on Kindle and Create Space, The Wolf’s Sun and A Devil Singing Small, which I picture and maintain links to on my blog, Letters from Shenanigan Valley. Sometimes I remember to mention them on Facebook when I list the books for free on Kindle. The bottom line is that I just want people to read my novels. Marketing Marble Creek for nominations (votes) presented a steep learning curve. How do other authors get those nominations?
It appears we begin our campaigns by badgering friends on Facebook to visit the Kindle Scout site and nominate our books (which means they’ll know if we fail to get a eBook contract, but if we want this badly enough, we will have to put up with that possible humiliation). We ask them to share our post with their friends. We send out emails to friends, relatives, and even acquaintances, asking them to pass along our begging blurbs to their friends and relatives. We become anti-social with our spouses, shrieking that this is the most important happening in our lives “and why can’t you understand and be patient for the next month?” Every morning we check the statistics Kindle Scout shows to us once a day – how many views we had, what percentage came from Facebook and other sites such as Goodreads or the Kboard Chat; what percentage came from those simply browsing Kindle Scout. Kindle Scout seems such a well-kept secret, only other authors seem to browse the site.
Maybe we pay for Facebook ads and discover more than 400 likes for the only book cover during a 2-day period (each like costing 50 cents), but that only 15 enter through the posted URL to view the book excerpt. Teenagers and the lonely seem to enjoy tapping ads. A fellow author went so far as to offer a $100 contest through Rafflecopter, which gave her several hundred nominations, a surer way to spend money for votes.
It all comes down to “the kindness of strangers.”
Karen Charbonneau, author of Marble Creek, The Wolf’s Sun, and A Devil Singing Small
About Marble Creek
After surviving the Everett, Washington, Massacre in November 1916, veteran Pinkerton detective Robert Jamieson joins the Army’s fledgling Military Intelligence Division. Instead of being sent to France in 1917, he’s assigned back to the Pacific Northwest, ordered to go undercover to track down Irish radical Malachi O’Neill, suspected in a scheme to transport guns from Irish-dominated Butte, Montana, to Ireland. Find O’Neill, find the guns and forestall unrest in Ireland that would weaken America’s ally, Great Britain. Locating O’Neill, he partners him in a logging camp on Marble Creek in north Idaho. Likeable, but deadly, O’Neill has shifted his loyalty from the disintegrating Industrial Workers of the World, the “Wobblies,” to an incipient Irish rebellion. A young prostitute helps one man to the other’s detriment. And the woman who saved Jamieson’s life on a dark street in Seattle? Their paths are fated to cross again.
About the Author
I’m fascinated by seemingly unimportant bits of history that changed the future in unforeseen ways. Marble Creek is my third historical novel, following The Wolf’s Sun and A Devil Singing Small.
I served as an Army JAGC captain (attorney) for seven years and later was a civilian attorney with the Department of Defense. I live and write on the 66 wooded acres in north Idaho where I grew up. My novels tend to be long with interwoven plots and are intended for adults. When not writing, I sell used and rare books, and odds and ends found at charity shops, on eBay.
Why this novel, Marble Creek? I began researching the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies); one discovery led to another. I was born in Spokane, Washington, but didn’t know it was under martial law during World War I for being a hotbed of Wobbly activity in the I.W.W.’s fight for better working conditions, pay, and the 8-hour day in the timber industry. I didn’t know that Butte, Montana, had the largest Irish immigrant population west of New York City and was opposed to the U.S. joining Ireland’s suppressor, Great Britain, against the Germans; that federal troops patrolled its streets, fearing an “uprising” or sabotage of the copper mines. I didn’t know about the American Protective League – a secret organization that spread across the country, sponsored by the Justice Department, its members spying on fellow citizens, seeking out German sympathizers, anti-war rhetoric, or failure to buy liberty bonds. I didn’t know why the federal government systematically destroyed the Industrial Workers of the World, accusing its members of treason for attempting to organize laborers. The World War I era was a dangerous time for America’s freedoms, but a great background for Marble Creek.