Amazon Kindle Scout Promotion

In 2015 the Amazon Kindle Scout promotion, which features Kindle ebooks, replaced the old Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award which featured CreateSpace physical books. Where the Breakthrough Novel contest had a $50,000 award for the winner, the Kindle Scout promotion provides a $1,500 advance and a royalty rate of 50% on books which agree to its 5-year exclusive contract.

Here's how it works.

An author has a book of 50,000 or more words which has never been published and which is wholly edited and ready for publishing. It needs a professionally done book cover. The author creates a one-line description, a traditional 500-character blurb, an author bio and photo, and a thank-you note for readers. The author then submits all of these things to Amazon to be considered.

Amazon takes a few days to review the entry to see if it's worthy of inclusion in their system. They're looking for things like typos and grammatical issues which indicate the book isn't ready for prime time.

If Amazon does approve the book, it goes live into their Kindle Scout area for 30 days. At this point readers vote on it. This is where authors with great fan bases do well. Someone who can rabble rouse on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other platforms will have a clear advantage. Whoever gets the most votes wins. It's sort of like a popularity contest.

During this voting cycle you're locked into an exclusivity with them for 45 days, while this process goes on. They don't want to yank a book out mid-voting.

If your book doesn't win, you can do whatever you want with it. You're no longer exclusive.

If you do win, you get $1,500 and you're now locked into exclusivity with Amazon for five years.

Compared with the previous $50,000 prize, you "only" get $1,500. You get 50% of all royalties on sales. Given the fact that you can get 70% of the royalties with normal Kindle, I'm iffy on this. Yes, they choose more than 1 winner a year, so one could say that you could keep entering. If you have a huge fan base you have a solid advantage here. And it could easily be that the Amazon marketing they provide turns into many more downloads than you'd get otherwise.

So my sense is that I don't want to lock up a full-length novel for 45 days for the hope of getting the $1,500 plus marketing from Amazon. I have a good marketing system in place. On the other hand, Amazon could easily vault an author into the New York Times bestselling list and to a ranking where they're earning hundreds of dollars a day with zero investment. And this could then lift up all other books in an author's library.

What do you guys think?

UPDATE: In 2018 Amazon shut down its Kindle Scout program.

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