Over and out for Kindle Scout

‘Reader-powered’ publishing program Kindle Scout is shutting down after three and a half years in operation.

The Last Post for Kindle Scout was sounded as it revealed that it was no longer taking new submissions from early April.

The selection scheme set up by Amazon in October 2014 involved excerpts from books being displayed on the Scout website and readers voting for their favorites. Selected books were published by Kindle Press, with authors getting a $1,500 advance, 50% ebook royalty rate and Amazon marketing.

The scheme produced some big sellers and last year I wrote an article on this website last year about some of the notable Scout successes.

The first Kindle Scout books were published by Kindle Press in March 2015. Up to May 2017, when I wrote the Scout round-up article, over 250 books had been produced through Scout so they were at a run rate of picking and publishing around 120 books a year.

Here are just a few of the Kindle Press books that 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 selection, thrillers seemed to dominate on Scout although there were also plenty of romance books in the catalog.

Sarah A Denzil was one of those authors who was published through the Scout scheme and proved to be a winner with her book Saving April on Kindle Press.

Despite the success, she chose to self-publish her next suspense thriller Silent Child which became a smash hit around the world. She said, “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.

Other authors who were originally published by Kindle Scout have moved on to other Amazon Publishing imprints, such as Thomas & Mercer and Montlake Romance, so in some cases Scout has proved to be a stepping stone for writers.

The decision to close down Kindle Scout surprises me as its reader-powered nature must surely have meant that relatively few Amazon staff were needed for operations and its track record looks good but in the end it seems that Amazon decided it just didn’t fit in with its overall business.

Scouting for books: Kindle Scout is now open for submissions

Scouting for books picks out some big successes