Mystery/thrillers are dominating the recently launched Kindle Scout ‘reader-powered’ publishing scheme.
Ten of the first 13 books selected for publication are in the mystery/thriller genre, while three are science fiction/fantasy (one of these is a fantasy/mystery crossover) and there is just one winner from the romance genre.
The 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.
It’s a bit surprising that thrillers are proving so overwhelmingly dominant as romance is a massive category for ebook readers. Perhaps romance submissions are being held back by the competition’s guidelines for book covers, which state:
To give your book the best chance of passing review and qualifying for all featured Amazon marketing, you should design a great cover while avoiding the use of:
— Scantily clad humans, partial nudity, or provocative imagery that is suggestive of sex or violence
Many popular romance ebooks seem to have covers featuring muscled guys with their shirts off — and often women with their shirts off, imagery that can only be said to be ‘suggestive of sex’.
However, the cover guidelines also state that you should avoid the use of:
— Representations of violence, including weapons, blood, or graphic gore
This doesn’t seem to have held back one of the latest Scout selections, The Omega Connection by Allan Leverone, which has a cover featuring a woman who is brandishing a gun and a seriously unbuttoned shirt, so there’s obviously some leeway on the guidelines.
Established authors are winning
Although Amazon is looking for new books, several of the Scout selections are by well established authors, so it looks like even successful self-published writers are very keen to get the Amazon marketing power behind them.
One of the first winners was by Steve Gannon with his new book, LA Sniper. Gannon has been writing his Kane series of thrillers since the 1990s when he was published by Bantam Books.
Rob Blackwell (The Forest of Forever) is another winner who has a track record, having self-published four fantasy/thrillers since 2011.
The sole romance representative Royal Date by Sariah Wilson, who has published a couple of very popular books, including The Ugly Stepsister, which has over 700 reviews on Amazon.com at an average of 4.5.
G1 by Rigel Carson is another Scout winner by a well known author. Carson is the science fiction nom de plume of Maggie Toussaint, who has also published several novels in the mystery genre.
Perhaps the best known of the Scout selection is William Bernhardt (The Game Master). He is the author of around 30 novels, many of them legal thrillers, and is reckoned to have sold around 10 million books. As well as being a novelist, he also runs writing workshops and seminars.
Eight Kindle Scout books were selected for publication at the end of November and five more have been added so far in December.
You can submit your book and find out more details about the program at Kindle Scout. It is aimed only at US authors at present.