Report from the battlefield: My Kindle Scout Campaign, Week 2

April 11, 2016

There have been real highs and lows in my campaign this week. 

I had conniptions for the first 48 hours because no one had nominated my novel. Then it dawned on me that New Zealand’s time zone represents an obstacle in this international environment. At 5pm my entry clicks through to a new day. It took me a while to realise this equated to Kindle Scout’s time zone in the eastern United States. The daily report sent through to competitors arrives some twelve hours after that. Consequently, by the time I get statistics about how my campaign is going, they are already eighteen hours out of date.

I’m happy to say that I did hit the Hot and Trending list and stayed there for a heady forty-eight hours before dropping back into the main bunch of submissions. After enjoying that feeling of real success, it’s been surprisingly hard to get bumped from that position. What a roller-coaster ride this is, and how compelling. I’ve developed a compulsive tic which makes me check my status hourly on the Kindle Scout site. I hope this obsessive habit ends with the campaign, because it’s highly bizarre behaviour.

Now I’m trying to claw my way back up into the top tier again. I have to give a very real thank you to my husband who has been enormously helpful and supportive, spreading the word that I need nominations for my novel amongst all his contacts.

I’m hindered, of course, by my own lack of social media smarts. Everyone under the age of twenty seems to have at least 500,000 followers on twitter, F

 

acebook and Instagram. Unfortunately I don’t, and I’ve already badgered my friends and acquaintances for their vote. So now I’m grappling with these sites, trying to get a handle on how to find alliances and build my lists of potential readers and voters. If nothing else, I’m learning a lot about social media, which has got to be all to the good.

At the end of the first week of my Kindle Scout campaign, my admiration for those who make it through Britain’s got Talent or American Idol type competitions has increased exponentially. Those competitors must have nerves of steel. I had no idea how much work would be involved in the self-promotion required, or how topsy-turvey some of it would be.

What am I hoping to achieve by entering this competition? Firstly, the chance to be published (digitally) by Amazon is an end in itself. There’s a small advance and a five year deal at stake for those who win the competition. The thought of the full power of Amazon’s marketing department being brought to bear on promoting my book is a seductive fantasy I can only dream about!

The reality is likely to be more mundane. Voter effort alone doesn’t guarantee a contract with Amazon. They have a very astute editorial and sales team scrutinising submitted manuscripts and making the hard decisions about who gets published. Clearly a key element in that process will be international marketability, and I’m not sure a series of whodunnits set in the light aviation industry of New Zealand is going to appeal to Amazon’s primarily American audience.

What I do hope to achieve from this exercise is increased publicity for myself as an author, and for my books. I’d like to be high minded, and claim crass commerce is beneath me, but it’s not. I write because I’m a teller of stories, and to be effective I need an audience. I have noticed a small, but clear increase in sales of my books on Amazon since entering the Kindle Scout programme. Long may this continue.

If you would like to nominate Death on D’Urville, the URL is: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/NG4NJJ82AFBZ

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