Kindle Scout Campaign – The Freak Show Below: Part Three

Parts One and Two Recap

My book Take the Body and Run, a “goofy thriller” with a crime-solving cat, was selected almost a year ago.

Ryker_TaketheBodyandRun New KP Provided Cover

Here’s the link to the Kindle Scout winner:

I’ve been happy as a Kindle Press (imprint of Amazon) author, but I probably have the lowest expectations. I don’t want to quit my job, I didn’t write a book to finance my retirement someday, and I don’t want fame or wealth. I’ve heard some self-published authors wish for all of those things. My KP book does much better than my self-published books, which ranged in sales ranking from 500K to >1M. Yeah, that’s M = Million, so I’ve been deliriously happy with KP.

I haven’t set the world on fire with my winning book, but I paid back my advance about two months from the September 2016 publication. The program guidelines (check for updates) say that the selected book may be eligible for promotions every ninety days. I had a December 2016 99 cents promo, the KS anniversary sale promo that all winners had the last part of March 2017, and my book was included in the 150 books for $1.50 promo that ended April 30, 2017.

New Campaign: The Freak Show Below

I started a new campaign that went live on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The book is mystery/romance, but no crime-solving cat like last year’s winner or a supernatural creature like my paranormal romance/mystery series–which kinda bit me in the butt when a reviewer wrote about Take the Body and Run: “The cat doesn’t talk!”

freakshow kirbie centered

Here’s the link:

I don’t expect to win another contract. While I’m very happy with the winning book’s performance, it can’t compete with other winners who have said they paid back their advance the first week and are earning tons of money. My plan is to use the publicity as a springboard to a successful launch, as so many of the non-selected authors have done. See what I did there? “Non-selected” authors not “Rejected” authors.

In Part One, I discussed several promotion options. Free things you can do: Read mine and other blog posts (I have links in my new blog post), HeadTalker, send a (as in one) personal message to each of your Facebook friends (you can spread out over the weeks), post about your campaign on Facebook (I limit to once per week and will post a fifth time at the final couple of days to avoid wearing out my welcome), change your author profiles on Amazon and GoodReads to include an appeal and link to your campaign (I did get several views), and you could post in Facebook groups that allow promotion – you might want to use a trackable link to see if you get traffic.

I also discussed what you should do before submitting your book for a Kindle Scout campaign. Hopefully, you completed all of those steps first.

In Part Two, I discussed the results of my HeadTalker campaign. Spoiler alert: I didn’t have good results.

I also asked the question: Should you spend money on promotion? I asked Bill Hiatt, accomplished author who used his Kindle Scout campaign as a springboard to his successful book launch, if I could quote his great advice to another Kboarder. He suggested that while it may not be prudent to spend a lot of money promoting the Kindle Scout campaign, it is money spent toward your launch.

I also asked how we can leverage our campaign (especially if not selected) for a successful launch. Lincoln Cole, popular author and Kindle Scout winner, weighed in on how to do it.

Week Three Highlight: The HeadTalker Help Desk

Steve Vernon, Author of Kelpie Dreams

Steve Vernon is a Kindle Scout winning author. Last year, his fantastic book Kelpie Dreams was chosen for Kindle Press publication.

Kelpie Dreams

His excellent story is about “Lady Macbeth–a high school librarian, ex-assassin, and part-time kelpie, whose mother wanted to name her Hemorrhoid at birth.”

Kelpie Dreams is on sale for 99 cents for the entire month of May OR you can read it for free anytime on Kindle Unlimited.

Here’s what Steve says about himself. You can tell he’s an extraordinary storyteller.

“Everybody always wants a peek at the man behind the curtain. They all want to see just exactly what makes an author tick.

“Which ticks me off just a little bit – but what good is a lifetime if you can’t ride out the peeve and ill-feeling and grin through it all. Hi! I am Steve Vernon and I’d love to scare you. Along the way I’ll entertain you. I guarantee a giggle as well.

“If you want to picture me just think of that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the sabertooth.

“If I listed all of the books I’ve written I’d bore you – and I am allergic to boring so I will not bore you any further. Go and read some of my books. I promise I sound a whole lot better in print than in real life. Heck, I’ll even brush my teeth and comb my hair if you think that will help any.”

For more up-to-date info, you can follow Steve’s blog at: and follow him at Twitter: @StephenVernon

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Steve keeps a running list of active campaigns on the Kboards thread:,213112.17925.html

Here’s some great advice from Steve regarding Headtalker. He posted this on Kboards (see above link to the thread):

“Try posting your Headtalker campaign on this thread for a bit of extra HeadTalker support.,235630.msg3496471.html#msg3496471

“You might also want to try posting it over on Facebook. There are a couple of groups that I would recommend.

“I’ve had some really good luck at THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGNS. The folks there support Headtalker campaigns as well. You just have to ask to join.

“I’ve had a bit of action at HEADTALKER & THUNDERCLAP SUPPORTERS, although not as much as at THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGNS.

“Hope that helps out. In fact, any of you folks looking to run a HeadTalker or a Thunderclap campaign ought to try them out.”

Lincoln Cole, Kindle Scout winning author of Raven’s Peak

Lincoln Cole wrote the definitive guide for running successful Kindle Scout campaigns. I read, enjoyed, and wrote a well-deserved five-star review for his Kindle Scout Guide: How to Run a Hot & Trending Campaign and Improve Your Odds of Getting Picked.

Here’s the link:

Scout Guide

Lincoln’s Kindle Scout winner Raven’s Peak is an excellent supernatural thriller. Here’s the link:

Ravens Peak

Here’s what Lincoln posted on Kboards about HeadTalker.

“HeadTalker is a really useful tool to get bursts in clicks so it is definitely worthwhile. Basically, you should be able to go to and make an account. Then:

1) In the top right, click on the button that says “Start” – A popup will show up and you click “Start a campaign”

2) Enter the name (this is just for you and for display)

3) Enter a message ****NOTE**** when you put your message, keep in mind people are tweeting this out to their followers at the assigned date.

DO NOT PUT: “Hey, check out my new kindle scout book at this link” or anything similar because then it looks like THAT PERSON tweeting is saying it is THEIR book, which causes huge amounts of confusion. Sorry for the caps, but sooooo many authors screw this up that I wanted to make sure to point it out.

What you should put is something like “Check out this Kindle Scout entry by @YourTwitterName and get a free copy if selected” or something similar. Something promotional but never reference that it is yours in the tweet (since other people are tweeting it rather than retweeting).

4) Put the link to your Kindle Scout campaign (HeadTalker will actually turn this into a custom link in the tweet people send to track clicks, so you can see how well the campaign performs later by looking at the page).

5) Add a featured photo (background photo isn’t as important since it is just for your campaign. the featured photo actually gets tweeted so book cover or anything you want to feature).

6) Choose a category (Books and Literature most likely).

7) The story is like “Hey support my campaign because I’m awesomesauce” but it doesn’t get involved in the tweet. It is just for recruiting tweeters/sharers so doesn’t matter too much

8) Set your supporter goal at 25 (you can always go over, but if you put your goal at 100 and only 50 people sign up it won’t get shared, so going low is better) then pick a date and time to post. I would say at least 5-12 days in the future to get the 25 people you need to make it happen!

9) Hit submit. After about an hour or two you will get an email from HeadTalker saying your link is live, and usually 5-7 automatic accounts with about 900,000 followers with instantly support your campaign to get your started!”

Here’s what Lincoln said about his own recent HeadTalker activities:

“A few days ago I set up four campaigns for 4 different promotional things I’m doing over the next month (each with different messages and images) and it took about 5-10 minutes to do it.

“Then, check out

“This is a trade group for sharing support. You can support other people’s campaigns and in return they will support yours. Either make a new post or look for the ongoing post to add it to, or add it to the posts other people make after you support their campaigns so they can support yours back.

“Once you are at 25 people just watch the magic happen (you can check a few hours after the tweets/shares happen and see how many people clicked to your campaign, and with luck it’ll push you onto the H&T list!)”

As of right now, Lincoln is running a new Kindle Scout campaign. Here’s a screen shot of his twitter post:

Lincoln's Exorcist KS Campaign

Just click the link to get to his campaign:

Lincoln's Exorcist KS Campaign on Kindle Scout Page

Free Promotions Efforts

Contacting Facebook Friends by Private Message

As you read in the first post, I did word each message based on the person, including their name and information about the friendship.

I tracked the number of messages that I sent. The cumulative total percentages are as follows:

Week Three Facebook Messages

At the end of the first week, I’d reached out to 29% of my Facebook friends, putting me ahead of my target for the week. By the end of the second week, I’d contacted 45%, landing me behind my target. At the end of the third week, I’d only contacted 54%, leaving me 21% behind my Week Three goal of 75%.

What happened? I didn’t have the time to dedicate to those private messages. I think that’s why, despite the great response to the boosted Facebook post, my overall Facebook percentage in the Sources statistic decreased (see below). Of course, promotion activities kicked in during the third week. I promised the vendor to not discuss that promotion until after the campaign is over, but I can say that it resulted in sharp upward spikes. I’ll be posting about that initiative later.

Posting in Facebook Groups

Make sure that the Facebook group allows promotion by reading the description. Some Facebook groups allow any promotion related to books, which are great for Kindle Scout promotions. If the description says “Kindle Unlimited Only” or “Free or 99 Cents Books Only” or related restrictions, skip them. They may be great for book promotions that fit the parameters, but not your Kindle Scout campaign. You don’t want to get booted for a failure to follow directions.

Posting in Facebook Groups Week Three

I took the total number of Facebook groups to which I belong, and targeted posting in one-fourth of the groups each week. I was closer to on track with the group postings than I was with the Facebook private messages.

If you want to promote more aggressively, you can post in all of your groups once per week. Given my number of groups, it worked out better with my available time to divide the number into fourths.

Paid Promotions Results

As you read in the Week One and Week Two posts, I did try paid promotions. Here are the results. The results that follow are just those as of the end of Week Three. I started some new promotions in addition to those shown below, but won’t be able to evaluate those until later in campaign. I’ll post those results at the end of Week Four, when I have the results.

Author Shout

The Author Shout promotion is good for the entire thirty days of your campaign, provided you started it as soon as you got your link for your campaign.

Author Shout Graphic

I still believe that the best paid promotion as defined by steady impact on views is Author Shout. They also sent me the graphics that they made, which was a nice touch. They continue to promote over the 30-day period for that initial cost. If you get selected, they’ll also give you a bonus promotion.

Use the link to go to their page.

Facebook Boost

A good promotion for steady results is the Facebook boost. Be sure and set your targeted audience based on your book. For The Freak Show Below, I set my targeted audience as shown below.

Gender: Women
Age: 35 years to 65+ years
Location: Kentucky
Interests: Books, Mystery, Romance

Why did I set my target location as Kentucky? I’ve lived in Kentucky all of my life. My book is set in Kentucky. Here’s my post:

Ky Post on FB

I x’ed out the link preview. I attached my book cover. As an alternative, you could attach the Author Shout graphic (they give it to you for your personal use) or your website banner.

The post had the best results of any boosted post ever, including my first campaign for Kindle Scout and my self-published books.

Will you get the same results? I can’t guarantee it. If you do boost a post, you should check in on your results regularly to ensure you’re still getting bang for your bucks. You can stop the post at any time.

MelRock on Fiverr

I had heard about MelRock on Kboards. She agreed to promote my campaign with a blog post plus 15 days of tweets to 170,000+ twitter followers for $30. I approached it as a good way to get exposure not only for my Kindle Scout campaign, but also as an author.


Twitter hasn’t been a strong area in the sources. However, I think that MelRock offers a good deal. She’s also a nice person with whom to work. Here’s the link on Fiverr:

End of Week Three Summary of Statistics

Yes, that’s right, I’m not posting my exact numbers. Why? I’m afraid of jinxing my campaign. Superstitious or cautious? You decide.

* Summary of Top Sources

Kindle Scout gives us the daily list of the top 50 external pages driving traffic to our campaign. These statistics can help you determine which campaign efforts are the most effective.

Here’s a summary of the top sources by percentages. Due to rounding of percentages, it doesn’t add up to 100%.

Sources Revised Week Three

* Internal to External Traffic

The ratio gives you the cumulative mix of where your campaign page traffic is coming from. Internal is the first percentage, while external is the second percentage.

Beginning of Week One: 55% and 45%
End of Week One: 50% and 50%
End of Week Two: 45% and 55%
End of Week Three: 45% and 55%

That means that at the beginning of my campaign and before I had a chance to implement any promotions or asks for nominations, most of the views came from Kindle Scout. As my efforts kicked in, the most number of views came from outside Kindle Scout by the end of the first week. By the end of the second week, I saw even more progress with my promotion efforts, with even more of my sources outside of Kindle Scout. At the end of the third week, the ratio held steady.

The numbers also tell me that while posting on Facebook and individually asking friends for nominations is still working, Direct Traffic did pass up Facebook, and became an even larger percentage by the end of the third week. You may recall that when I tried to run any boosted posts in Week One, I received messages from Facebook Ads that there was too much text. For Week Two, I did post with the link, the preview x’ed out, and attached the cover of the book. It’s not perfect, but it did run as a boosted post. I still got traffic from Facebook, but not as much as Direct Traffic.

WEEK THREE Review of Action Items

Did you do everything for the third week?

 Contributed to discussions on KBoards; you should be on the rolling list.

 Ran your subsequent HeadTalker campaign, if you chose.

 Post on Facebook, once on personal page and once on author page for the third week.

 Contacted the third set of one-fourth of your Facebook (and/or other social media) friends, sending a personalized appeal via message.

 Send one tweet via Twitter for this third week.

 Posted in Facebook groups that allow promotion (just once in each group this week).

 Set up paid promotion(s) if desired (Readper and Author Shout were already highly recommended; think about giving MelRock a try).

 Check your statistics to gauge results of your promotional efforts.

 Manage your expectations.

Your Turn

If you’ve been using my previous blog posts and this one to help you in your campaign, yay! I want people to benefit from my experiences. To subscribe to my newsletter to get information about my books and other stuff, please click the Subscribe button on the right side panel.

Now, may I ask a favor?

Could you please check out my Kindle Scout winner, Take the Body and Run? Here’s the link to the book. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for free and it sure would help me.

Here’s some more information about the book:

Book One: Take the Body and Run

Ryker_TaketheBodyandRun New KP Provided Cover

“TAKE THE BODY AND RUN is a fast-paced ride with a sparkling character and written in a new, original voice. This is a don’t-miss debut.”

-Carolyn Haines, USA Today bestselling author of Pluto’s Snitch and Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries.

~*~ Kindle Scout Winner ~*~

Macey’s first day in the college employee relations department ends with a knife at her throat.

Macey is certain things can’t get any worse. She’s wrong. An angry employee vows to put her on an online hit list. When he turns up dead, she’s a suspect–and on the hit list.

To keep her secrets and her life, Macey partners with two unexpected allies who cause her pulse to race with steamy attraction–and exasperating annoyance. Vince, a handsome, driven lawman, digs up more than just clues to the brutal murder. Brett, a fun-loving pathologist with a deadly sense of humor, drives everyone crazy with his fart machine-will travel. Macey’s supersized black cat Wikket, possessing courage, curiosity, and crankiness in equal portions, assists in his own grumpy, feline fashion, golden eyes open and claws extended.

For your convenience, here’s the link to the book. Did I mention it’s free through Kindle Unlimited?

Still with me? I’d also love it if you could like my author page.

Request for Author Page Likes

Here’s the link:

And if you could follow me on Twitter:

Last but not least…to get updates on my books from Amazon: Click the link below. Then click the gold Follow button under my picture.

Amazon Author Page with Follow Button

Amazon Author page:

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