Amazon’s Kindle Scout reader-powered publishing scheme has now been open for author submissions for around two and a half years and it’s had some notable winners in that time.
Kindle Scout was announced in October 2014 and the first books were published by Kindle Press in March 2015. Since that time, over 250 books have been produced through Scout so they are at a run rate of picking around 120 books a year.
Here are just a few of the Kindle Press books that have proved to be popular after coming through Scout selection:
- Royal Date by Sariah Wilson (Romance)
- Timeless Moments by Michelle Kidd (Time travel romance)
- The Promised Land by Roberta Kagan (Historical/Inspirational fiction)
- The Forest of Forever by Rob Blackwell (Urban fantasy/Paranormal)
- The Dark Man by Desmond Doane (Paranormal thriller)
- LA Sniper by Steve Gannon (Suspense thriller)
- In The Dark by Chris Patchell (Suspense thriller)
- Naked Ambition by Rick Pullen (Suspense thriller)
- Princess Dracula by John Patrick Kennedy (Historical fantasy)
- Saving April by Sarah A Denzil (Suspense thriller)
- No Place To Rest by DL Barnhart (Suspense thriller)
- Resthaven by Erik Therme (Suspense thriller)
- Subterrestrial by Michael McBride (Suspense thriller/Horror)
- Weakest Lynx by Fiona Quinn (Suspense thriller/Paranormal)
As you can see from this small selection, thrillers seem to dominate on Scout although there are also plenty of romance books in the catalog. In December 2014, I wrote an article about the early success of thrillers on Kindle Scout and that seems to be holding true today.
Some of the authors have moved on from having their books published through Kindle Press to other Amazon Publishing imprints, such as Sariah Wilson who is now published by Montlake Romance, while others have gone back to self-publishing their titles.
One of those authors who has opted for self-publishing is Sarah A Denzil who had a smash hit with Saving April on Kindle Press.
She has since decided to self-publish and has had an even bigger best-seller with her suspense thriller Silent Child which has hit the top spot in Kindle markets around the world.
Control of pricing was one of the reasons why Sarah Denzil decided to self-publish.
She says, “I decided to self-publish the second and third books so that I had control over the pricing. Kindle Press release books at $2.99, which I’ve found is quite pricey for thriller readers, especially in the UK where I was getting a lot of sales.
“When I published The Broken Ones at 99c it shot up quite high in the rankings and probably would have stayed but I didn’t get enough reviews at the beginning. This time I published Silent Child at 99c but also arranged for some copies to be sent out to reviewers in a Facebook group who love psychological thrillers. That really helped things along.
“But mostly I think Silent Child just came at the right time. People really connected with the story and people have been recommending it to their friends and things spread from there. Being in Kindle Unlimited helped made the ranking stick.”
Sarah Denzil made the move to writing suspense thrillers after publishing Young Adult novels under the name of Sarah Dalton and she found her initial Kindle Scout selection for her first thriller, Saving April, helped her gain momentum.
She says: “I decided to start writing books outside YA because it was becoming increasingly difficult to make a living writing YA. There are still some popular genres within YA, but there are also a lot of YA authors and the competition has become fierce. I realised I needed to make a change or I would have to start looking for an actual, non-writing job.
“Psychological thrillers interested me because I’ve enjoyed writing some horror in the past, and I found myself transfixed by books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. So I did some research in the genre and came up with my own idea.
“Because I wanted to write to an older audience, I decided to set up a new pen name. But I wasn’t looking forward to the idea of starting from scratch without any readers or reviewers, which is why I decided to go with Kindle Scout. Every person who votes for your book during the voting period gets a free copy and there is a pre-order period where those people can leave a review. Amazon also help out a little with marketing by promoting the book so you get a bit of a leg up.
“Saving April sold consistently well from the beginning, which I attribute to the fact that psychological thrillers have a lot of very enthusiastic readers and because I managed to publish my second thriller not long after the first one.”
Could Kindle Scout be right for you? The selection scheme involves excerpts from books being displayed on the Scout website and readers voting for their favorites.
It looks for new, never-before-published books of at least 50,000 words in the genres of romance, mystery & thriller, or science fiction & fantasy.
Selected books are published by Kindle Press, with authors getting a $1,500 advance, 50% ebook royalty rate and featured Amazon marketing.