The Scoop on the Scouts

Sorry, this isn’t about kid scouting. It’s about horn-blowing. My own, actually. And something called Kindle Scout. And my new book. More about that anon.

One of the hardest things for independent authors to do is self-promote. Doing it well is even harder. Most of us get into this business thinking that writing the book will be our biggest challenge. But for the many who meet that challenge, an even bigger one awaits: selling the book!

To do that, one has to be noticed, and with so many new titles appearing every single day, getting noticed is damned difficult unless you’ve got the kind of name recognition that comes with an NFL contract, election to national office, or maybe a conviction for the crime of the decade. It’s safe to say most of us won’t be able to rely on anything like that.

So we’re left with options like constantly flogging our titles on Facebook, or sending out flyers, or buying lists of names and doing mass e-mailings to people who don’t know us and couldn’t care less. Marketing “services” abound, each promising to push our books to fantastic heights and stratospheric profits. I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more adept I’ve become at smelling snake oil when I step in it.

Then along comes Amazon with an alternative: Kindle Scout. They accept previously unpublished books, which meet their editing standards, and make the first 5,000 words available for free. Readers can thus sample a wide range of new titles which they can then nominate, or not, for publication by Kindle Press.

Kindle Press will pay the author a modest advance against e-book sales and evaluate the manuscript for potential audio book conversion and foreign language translations. The author will receive a generous portion of any proceeds from such sales. The author also retains all other rights, including the option to print and market printed copies.

But the biggest advantage of all is having Amazon’s marketing juggernaut behind the title. That will likely stimulate sales of all the other books by the same author. At least, that’s the hope.

Which brings me to my latest book, Oh, Bits! which entered the 30-day long Kindle Scout gauntlet last week. If you follow this blog, I’ve already sent you an e-mail begging your support. Consider this a gentle reminder in case you didn’t get around to doing anything earlier.

It takes a good deal of time and effort to maintain this blog, and the aim is to provide useful information on a regular basis for writers, especially those on the front side of their careers. I will be profoundly grateful if you return the favor and nominate Oh, Bits! for publication by Kindle Press. It really is one helluva story.

And… here’s the link:

Feel free to share it!


About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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8 Responses to The Scoop on the Scouts

  1. nativeson49 says:

    Just so you don’t have to rely on your own hand for back slapping, Josh, I’ve posted a most favorable (and well-deserved) review on your new book, Oh, Bits. Here’s wishing you a publishing success commensurate to To Kill a Mockingbird ! Who knows, I might have reason to visit with you on your yacht . . .

    • joshlangston says:

      I sincerely appreciate your vote of confidence, though I’m not quite ready to go shopping for a yacht. Or even a rowboat. One of those blow-up, plastic rafts, maybe.

  2. So if I published my book through Lulu, it’s not eligible? Guess I’ll have to wait for the next book. But how does this work? You send them the manuscript or a jpg copy of the book? Before anything but printing has been done?

    Best, Lisa Levin

  3. joshlangston says:

    Submissions to Kindle Scout must be previously unpublished in ANY format. Also, they’re looking for novels with a minimum of 50,000 words.

  4. Gail McKoy says:

    I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying the excerpts from “Oh, Bits!” Josh Langston is that rare writer who can make you laugh out loud and snort your coffee, at the same time you’re trying to frantically swipe to the next page to see what happens next! His characters are well-drawn, and the time-and-place “histories” he weaves in are fascinating. Don’t start reading this clever story on a day when you have anything important to do!

  5. wordwizardw says:

    Do you have a Twitter-handle I could refer to when tweeting about OH, BITS! ?

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