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How I Scored a Kindle Press Publishing Contract on My First Submission to Kindle Scout. Part Four: After the Campaign Ended, and I Won the Contract

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I live in Bardstown, Kentucky. It’s the bourbon capitol of the world (according to the signs). It’s also on the Bourbon Trail. From time to time, I catch a whiff from one of the distilleries. Ironically, I don’t drink.

When my Kindle Scout campaign ended, I entered the limbo phase. No, not dancing lower and lower under a pole. Limbo as in purgatory. As a teetotalling bourbon capitol resident, I couldn’t even drink away the pain and suffering. I stayed perfectly sober while wailing and gnashing my teeth.

I’m exaggerating. A little.

I got the news on the twelfth day after the campaign ended. Take the Body and Run was selected for publication! Yay!

Here’s the announcement I received on June 14, 2016, around noon:

Kindle Scout Announcement

Timeline

Now for the timeline.

Sunday, May 1

Submitted the manuscript, cover, description, etc., through the online process.

Monday, May 2

My manuscript was chosen for a campaign.

Wednesday, May 4

My campaign was launched. I hoped that “The Force” was with me. See How I Scored a Kindle Press Publishing Contract, Part Two, for my marketing efforts.

Thursday, June 2

My campaign ended at midnight. Obsessive checking of emails and Kindle Scout page began.

Tuesday, June 14

Announcement the book had been selected. The Kindle Scout email included details like I had 30 days to submit the final manuscript, cover, and blurb.

Check out Take the Body and Run and other selected titles:

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/selected

Wednesday, June 15

My thank you note went out those who nominated the book.
As you can infer from the wording, I really didn’t think I’d get the contract.

“Hello! Thank you so much for supporting Take the Body and Run by nominating it. It’s readers like you who inspire me to keep writing. If you’d like to see what happens next with Macey’s story, please check in on my website: http://jadaryker.com/ Thanks again! Jada”

Friday, June 17

Call with Kindle Scout representative. Megan was very nice, and explained what I should expect from the process.

Sunday, June 19

I had 30 days to submit the final manuscript. I made a deal with myself: no obsessive picking through the manuscript or rewriting it for 30 days – just send it!

Submitted Take the Body and Run manuscript, after I read through it one last time.

I also verified the cover was ready to go.

Finally, I expanded the blurb a bit from the original campaign description.

Monday, June 20

Kindle Scout review team approved the updated manuscript, same cover, and revised book details.

The email also included information about the advance: “If this is the first time you’ve had a book selected by Kindle Press, you should receive an email from Amazon Payee Central within the next 7 business days that asks you to provide your banking and tax information through our secure online portal. Providing this information will take a little time on your end, but as soon as we have you all set up, we’ll begin processing your advance payment. The $1,500 advance is issued within 30 days of our receiving your complete payment information.”

Monday, June 20 (later that day)

Hello Jada,

We’re pleased to let you know that editorial work on your Kindle Press manuscript Take the Body and Run has begun. An editor will review your manuscript using the Microsoft Word Track Changes feature and provide recommendations.

When the editor has completed work on your manuscript, we’ll send you another e-mail letting you know your manuscript is ready for review, along with a link so you can download your manuscript, review all the editorial suggestions, and decide which changes you’d like to make before submitting your edited document to the Kindle Scout/Kindle Press team.

Your manuscript should be ready for you to review by July 8, 2016.

If you have any questions regarding the editorial process or suggestions made for your manuscript, please contact us.

Thanks for being a part of Kindle Press!

Regards,

Your editorial team

Monday, June 20 (right after above)

Received the email from Amazon Payee Central for banking/tax information.

June 21

Completed the Kindle Scout survey. Great job, team!

Friday, July 8

As you saw from the email, July 8 was the target date for me to receive the edited document by this date. I actually received it two days early.

You have as much time as you need to review the edits. Kindle Press has found that authors typically need one week, but more time is completely fine. They want you to take the time you need to get your book ready to put its best foot forward.

Here’s an excerpt from my letter from the editor:

Overview

The manuscript is in very good shape at this point. The writing is lively and sharp, the story is developed for the genre, and the text itself is very clean from a copyediting standpoint. I can tell that a good editor has seen this manuscript; the text is polished in a way that you rarely see at this stage . . .

You (and Macey) have a great voice, and you have some fantastic observations and turns of phrase. . . I laughed out loud. The story moves briskly, and the characters are distinctive and entertaining.

Structure/Plot Flow

The story is suspenseful and flows well..

Characterization

Your descriptions of characters are terrific, and all of them are distinctive. You have some great weirdos and nut jobs in here!

Tone and Style

You perfectly capture the tone of a goofy thriller through your writing, which is brisk, witty, and entertaining.

I hope my edits and comments are valuable in helping the manuscript achieve your publishing goals. Good luck in your revision, and I wish you all the best for this manuscript and future books.

—Kelly, Kindle Scout Editor

My Editing Process

My editing experience may help those of you in the process. Up until I received my above letter, I’d wanted to get my book out there as soon as possible. I thought it was great as is. Plus, I had an irrational fear that the nominators will forget about the book.

The editor made some plot suggestions, including one I was saving for the next book. I may have been more receptive because she said great things about my book. Comments above like “lively, sharp, entertaining, polished, and a great voice” made me think she must be very smart 😉

I ended up adding about 5,100 words of new text. I was paranoid about adding any typos or mistakes. I asked if I could get another review by Kelly. The answer was no, just one was the limit. I said I’d pay for the second edit, if it wasn’t hideously expensive (like not more than the $1,500 advance). The representative gave me the contact information for Kelly’s boss.

Get this. The manager said they’d consider the new text as part of the original edit. It didn’t cost me a penny, and the turnaround time was pretty fast. And Kelly loved the added text.

Sunday, August 21

My vacation to Fairbanks, my busy full-time (plus) job and 3-hour daily commute, commitment to weekend hiking with my husband, sending through Createspace hard copies with the new text for my betas (lovely retired ladies who don’t own computers), turnaround time for the second edit, etc., meant that 5.5 weeks elapsed between getting the original edits and uploading my final document on Sunday, August 21.

Is the delay worth it? I think I have a better quality book to offer readers…so yeah.

Release on Amazon

The team completes the conversion of the manuscript.
This process takes one to two weeks.

Usually, it’s ten days on the following Monday that the preorder page goes up. Then, fifteen days on the following Tuesday it goes live.

The Scouts get access to download their free books at this point in time.

Hopefully, they will post early reviews.

Amazon will add the book to their New Releases and add to carousels like New Mysteries.

Also, Amazon will send targeted emails to thousands of customer they think are mostly likely to enjoy the book.

Ninety Days from Launch

Amazon will send out emails to their readers most likely to purchase the book.

In general, the book is eligible for the first price promotion after ninety days, and then every subsequent ninety days.

The book may be eligible for Kindle Daily deals, Kindle Fire deals, month-long price promotions, etc.

To be continued . . .

I’ll post more information once my book launches. As of today, the book has not yet been posted on Amazon.

Now, a word from our sponsor (me).

My Self-Published Books: Shaken, Not Stirred

A Pink Zombie, with a Mist, and Gimlet are available on Amazon in electronic and paperback formats.

Shaken, Not Stirred

Zombie_032017_printJPG

A Pink Zombie, with a Mist

Anthropologist Olivia West is determined to find her missing best friend. As children, she and Emma Martin wandered into Heaven’s Bottom, an isolated Kentucky community cut off by the Ohio River and mountainous terrain. The two women share strange memories of the traumatic experience. Emma is convinced they witnessed a blood sacrifice and moon magic, surrounded by zombies. As a scientist, Olivia believes there’s a logical explanation.

Detective Steven Lewis pursues his own investigation of the mysterious town. A social worker, his wife fought her way into The Bottom to investigate suspected child abuse. She didn’t make it out alive. Haunted by grief and regret, Steven is obsessed with finding her killer. He’s convinced the murderer is hiding in the wild forest, camouflaged by the swirling mist.

Olivia and Steven enter into an uneasy partnership to find Emma and solve his wife’s brutal murder. They contact Sheriff Noah McCracken, who holds the local law enforcement role that’s been passed down through his family for centuries. Like his ancestors, the sheriff ignores the chilling events in Heaven’s Bottom.

Can Olivia and Steven convince Noah to “release the McCracken” in time to save their lives?

SPECIAL BONUS: As a reader appreciation gift, “The Hand of Karma” mystery/horror short story is included FREE at the end of the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Pink-Zombie-Mist-Stirred-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00SHZJL82

Gimlet-6x9-for-border FINAL

Gimlet Short Story Collection

Jada Ryker’s collected short stories run the gamut from mystery to horror to science fiction. The stories include “Gimlet,” “As the Crow Flies,” “Cross to Bear,” “An Alien Act of Honor,” “Winner Takes All,” “Dead Eye,” “The Hand of Karma,” and “Driving Miss Daisy’s Cattle.”

In “Gimlet,” Juneau and Coldwell pose as patients in a mental hospital to solve a paranormal mystery. Fellow patient Iris, notorious for both her séances and her police record, claims she’s in touch with the spirits who have the answers to the puzzle. Will her supernatural connections help Juneau and Coldwell solve the mystery, or lead to a one-way trip to the morgue?

In “As the Crow Flies,” Fresna is a middle-aged nursing assistant toiling in a nursing home. She likes Mr. Corvis, an eccentric resident. When odd things happen to Fresna, Mr. Corvis is in the vicinity.

Tina returns to her rural Kentucky home to attend her hard-living and hard-drinking brother’s funeral in “A Cross to Bear.” She reconnects with Chris, her childhood friend’s handsome brother. Tina has to contend with her troubled relationship with her father, her feelings for Chris . . . and a malevolent watcher.

Mae Rue is on the verge of being arrested for her husband’s brutal murder. An extraterrestrial family invades her grief, seeking to right an old wrong. Mae Rue learns there are many facets to honor, including “An Alien Act of Honor.”

After her emotionally distant father Billy Ray emerges from a coma with an extraordinary story, Marisa explores her challenging relationship with him. Alex, Marisa’s friend from childhood and possibly more today, provides his unconventional support. In “Winner Takes All,” Marisa and her father learn how a second chance impacts them both.

In “Dead Eye,” Alex takes Marisa to an unusual Halloween party in an isolated Kentucky community . . . with a murderer ready with deadly tricks, rather than treats.

In “The Hand of Karma,” Jessamine, mourning her mother’s sudden death, becomes trapped in a funeral home’s cellar with a monster from her past.

In “Driving Miss Daisy’s Cattle,” Lieutenant Camden finds out that viral videos of a dead bull rider, with a rodeo clown bent over him, don’t tell the whole story. With a brand-new officer dogging his footsteps, Cam has to solve the mystery.

https://www.amazon.com/Gimlet-Shaken-Stirred-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00XAIESDO

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How I Scored a Kindle Press Publishing Contract on My First Submission to Kindle Scout. Part Three: What I Didn’t Do… But May Work for You

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To help you with your Kindle Scout campaign, here’s what I didn’t do. Why am I sharing it? Because it might help you.

I work full-time in my day job, about fifty hours per week. I have a daily commute of over three hours. I just didn’t have the bandwidth to try new or unfamiliar avenues. Because you are more savvy and learning about the process upfront, you can learn from what I didn’t do.

What I Didn’t Do…But You Might Want to Try

Headtalker

I only knew what I learned in the Kboards group after my campaign started. My head would have exploded if I’d added one more thing to it.

Below is the best and most simple explantion I’ve seen of Headtalker. It’s by Steve Vernon, Kindle Scout Winner and author of Kelpie Dreams. Here’s the link to the book: https://www.amazon.com/Kelpie-Dreams-Steve-Vernon-ebook/dp/B01CYNM152

Kelpie Dreams

I’ve read the book. It’s excellent! Here’s my five-star review: https://www.amazon.com/review/R2VQ9CA590HGFF/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01CYNM152

Kelpie Dreams Review Resized 150 no aspect ratio

Back to Steve Vernon and his expertise. He says:

“Let me see if I can explain quickly.

“You need twenty-five supporters – and then the Headtalker is set to go live.

“If it gets the necessary twenty-five supporters – in two days time your announcement regarding your Kindle Scout Campaign will automatically be Tweeted, Facebook Announced, or announced on Tumblr or Linked In – depending on how the supporter voted to support you.

“So I just hit the support button and promoted your Headtalker for my Twitter, my Tumblr, and my Linked In. That gave you THREE more supporters – bringing you up from a total of 18 supporters, up to your new total of 21 supporters. Which means that in 2 days time (assuming you hit the necessary 25 supporters) your announcement regarding your Kindle Scout campaign is going to show up on my Twitter feed and on my Linked In and Tumblr listings – ONCE!

“It’s kind of like buying ONE commercial on the city television network. That ONE commercial goes live ONE time and maybe 3% of the city’s population are watching television at that time and see your commercial and maybe ONE PERCENT of that three percent are going to click on over and have a look at your Kindle Scout campaign. That will show up on your campaign as VIEWS. And then maybe ONE PERCENT of that one percent are going to be impressed enough to actually nominate your book – which will HOPEFULLY tip your book into the Hot & Trending.

“Headtalker (and/or Thunderclap) doesn’t do a whole lot for your campaign but it is a relatively easy and free way to get your Kindle Scout campaign a little bit more exposure.

“SO – right now you need FOUR more supporters – OR you need two supporters who support your campaign through two different venues (ie: on Facebook and on Twitter). Either way makes up the necessary four supporters that you need to get.

“If you need to you can support yourself just by going to that Headtalker page and punching the Facebook button. That will give you one extra supporter (namely yourself).

“If you’re a KBoards member, you can post your Headtalker campaign over in the Headtalker/Thunderclap kboards thread.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,235630.100.html

“Hope my clunky explanation helps make things clearer for you.”

–Steven Vernon, Kindle Scout Winner and Author of Kelpie Dreams

Twitter

I just haven’t been active on it. I tried the Book Bear tweets ad, but it was a failure.

Some friends kindly tweeted and retweeted out of the goodness of their hearts.

Instagram

I tried to do an ad through FB, but couldn’t get the pixies, I mean pixels, right.

LinkedIn

I don’t have an account for my author persona and see above, imminent head explosion, so I skipped it.

If you have time, you can set up your profile and use it to promote the Kindle Scout campaign.

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How I Scored a Kindle Press Publishing Contract on My First Submission to Kindle Scout. Part Two: My Campaign is Live. Time to Shift from Panic Mode!

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Oh, poop! The campaign is live! Now what? First, shift from panic mode to “I’ve got this” mode.

That’s SHIFT. With an F. Given my lack of preparation and research, let’s emphasize that F, shall we?

Hindsight is Twenty/Twenty: Pre-Campaign Work

If you are smarter than I was, you’re reading this before your campaign starts. If not, no problem, you’re in great company. Just keep reading… you’ll get there.

Third Party Promotions

If you have a promotion budget and want to spend some money to get the word out, then you can see what worked for me and what didn’t work. For some vendors, you need to schedule ahead of time, to ensure they have room for your promotion.

What Worked

GenrePulse

The single most effective promotion was through GenrePulse. I’d used the service before for already-published book promotions. I contacted the owner. I asked him if he’d be willing to try an experimental promotion for my Kindle Scout campaign. He was willing to do the behind-the-scenes work to try it. As an added bonus, he sent me the tool that tracked the clicks from the ad. Don’t do it any more frequently than once a week. You don’t want to wear out your welcome with those readers. After your campaign starts, I advise scheduling weekly promotion for each one of the four weeks.

Disclaimer: I don’t get any referral fees or discounts for sending you to the site. I’m just passing along my experience, in hopes of helping people like me.

Check out my final campaign statistics. The large spikes are directly correlated to my GenrePulse campaigns. As you can see, higher-than-normal spikes continued the next couple of days after each campaign, but at a lower rate. The lower rate is to be expected; it’s a reflection of the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Facebook Boosts

I also boosted my post about the campaign throughout the four weeks. On your FB page, click the Ads Manager. Follow the prompts. Set your target demographics based on the audience you think will buy the book.

Revisit your ad several times a week, if not daily. Click on Demographics. The bar graph will show you where your ad is most effective. I set my initial audience as United States women cat lovers who like cozy mysteries. As I checked my demographics, I was surprised to see the high level of engagement was among women 18 – 44 years of age. I experimented with refining my audience, finally changing the age range to 18 – 34 to get the best possible results.

What Didn’t Work

In the initial throes of desperation, I tried Bookgoodies Authors Ad Network. While the Facebook group for Bookgoodies authors includes wonderful people and the administrator of the site is a lovely person, this option yielded zero results. I didn’t see any impact on my Views statistics. It’s pricey, too… a sad waste of money.

I’d tried Book Bear for already-published works. I tried the tweets option for the Kindle Scout. I did see the tweets. I didn’t see any movement in the statistics. It wasn’t very expensive, but still a waste of money. A KBoards member also tried it; the promotion didn’t even run. Caveat emptor: Always check that a paid promotion has run, and contact the vendor if it didn’t.

Last, I ran a KBoards banner ad. I didn’t get much traction from it.

Research

I frantically did my research on the fly, desperate to find out what other people did in their successful campaigns. These are the best sources that I found.

KBoards

I found out about KBoards during the research phase. From my personal messages to my FB friends, I found out about a terrific forum within KBoards. The topic is Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED). Here’s the link: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,213112.6925.html

The group on KBoards is wonderful. It’s a mix of people who have garnered Kindle Press contracts and those who have not. The members nominate each other, give helpful advice, moral support, etc.). Steve Vernon (past winner) keeps a list of members’ campaigns, which he updates every day. Read past posts (helpful for getting answers to questions already asked), create your profile (don’t forget to put your Kindle Scout campaign link as your signature), and dive right in. You will be in a way better place than I was when I started the process.

Steve Vernon’s Blog: 30 Days of Kindle Scout

Steve’s blog posts help me keep my sanity. He posted each day of his 30-day campaign. You will need to click through the days.

Steve suggested posting in groups outside of writing, but I don’t belong to any that aren’t book related (how pathetic is that).

Here’s the link to his site, starting with the first day of his successful campaign. https://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/kelpie-dreams/

Lincoln Cole’s Guide to Kindle Scout

Lincoln is another Kindle Scout winner. He put together a comprehensive guide to Kindle Scout. I studied his guide more carefully and intently than I did the GRE preparation course. His was more fun.

Here’s what he covers:

HOW KINDLE SCOUT WORKS
RUNNING YOUR CAMPAIGN
HOW HOT & TRENDING WORKS
SELECTION DATA BY MONTH/YEAR AND AVERAGE
AVERAGE HOURS HOT & TRENDING AND PAGE VIEWS
BLOGS AND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT KINDLE SCOUT
AFTER GETTING PICKED
VIDEOS ABOUT THE PROCESS

Be sure and click on “average hours hot & trending and page views.” Look at his statistics from those who got and didn’t get picked (be sure to have your cursor in the table and scroll down). It’s self-reported data, and it’s not comprehensive.

Amazon keeps its algorithms a deep, dark secret. We’re lucky Lincoln has put in the hard work compiling numbers that people provide to him. It’s mind boggling. We can’t say X views + Y hours H&T = Contract. Some statistics are low…but the authors got a contract. Some statistics are amazingly high, but the authors didn’t get it. I know from personal experience that it’s not previous paid Amazon sales. As I shared in Part One, mine are abysmal.

http://www.lincolncole.net/kindlescout

Your Campaign Statistics

Be sure and use the Kindle Scout dashboard to view and analyze your campaign statistics.

Try not to stress out. Just do your best.

Here are my stats. I didn’t think I was superstitious, but I didn’t share my stats until after my book had been selected for publication.

Views: 5,709
H&T: 699 hours
Sources Internal 25% External 75%

The chart with my final statistics is included at the bottom of the post.

Build Your Plan

The fact that my formatting on the site was initially hosed added to the stress. I had hard page breaks in the first few pages, since I always write my books in the Createspace template. Those breaks did not translate properly to the profile.

I was desperate. I sent enough emails to the Kindle Scout Team to qualify for a restraining order. They were very nice and responsive. Once I took out the hard returns and emailed the team the revised Word version, they fixed it.

Despite feeling like I was being consumed by fire ants while tied to railroad tracks with a locomotive barreling toward me, I decided to put together a plan.

Working in Excel, I created a worksheet. I had rows dedicated to each of the thirty days. Columns included Date, Day of the Week, Number of Hours in Hot and Trending, Total Possible Hours in Hot and Trending, Percentage (Number of Hours H&T/Total Possible Hours H&T), Activity. On a different worksheet in the same document, I tracked the Sources and the Internal/External Sources. I also calculated the average number of views of each day, and added up the major sources (like Facebook, Direct Traffic, etc.). There’s more information about these factors under Campaign Statistics.

WEEK ONE

You’ve developed your plan. You have at least a week-by-week plan. I did mine day-by-day, so you can get as detailed as you wish.

Here are my suggestions for the first week.

Update Your Social Media

Get the word out there. Sometimes we think: If a tree falls in cyberspace, does anyone hear it? If the crash leads to views and nominations, then heck yes! Implementing the list below is totally FREE.

Facebook background: Upload a banner ad for the campaign. Here’s mine. Christina Keats designed it.

Jada_FacebookBanner_851x315_June2

Amazon author page: Through Author Central, inform readers about your active campaign in the first paragraph of your bio. Replace your author picture with your campaign book cover.

GoodReads author page: Same as above, use the page as another way to reach readers. Click on the upper corner “Profile” to make changes.

Website: Write a blog post about your campaign. Paste your excerpt in the post. Add your book cover through the media button.

Manage Your Facebook Friends List

Some time ago, a book reviewer asked a fairly well-known author a question about her books on the author’s FB page. The author blasted the reviewer, scorched earth and burnt-off eyebrows style. People wrote about the author’s temper tantrum on their blogs.

I didn’t stir the pot. I didn’t share any of the comments. But I vowed I’d never buy any of her books. And I haven’t.

Hopefully, unlike the above example, you have a great track record with social media. You’ve been on FB for some time, you don’t badger people to “buy my book” or only post to order them to “vote for me” on a daily basis. You don’t call people idiots if they don’t agree with you. You’re not an arrogant twit, talking down to people from your high perch.

You support your friends.

All in all, you’re all-around good social media community member.

Let’s look at your FB friends list.

Take your total number of FB friends, and divide that number by four. This is the number of people you will individually contact with a personal message each week. You’ll contact one-fourth of your list each week to keep momentum going throughout your campaign. You don’t want a blast on the few first days, and nothing the rest of the time. Week One is dedicated to the first fourth of your list, Week Two to the second fourth, Week Three to the third fourth, and Week Four to the last fourth.

I advise individually contacting each person with a message geared toward them. Don’t blast them with a generic message. Yes, I get it. It’s time consuming. But they’re your friends. They’re more likely to click through and nominate you than total strangers. Take the time to message each one.

The oddest personal message I sent was to an author friend who sadly passed away. She was a fantastic friend, great author, and animal lover. Here’s what I wrote: “I wish you were here to read this. I hope it gets to you in heaven. I have a chance for a Kindle Press publishing contract. Maybe you could whisper in a divine ear and put in a good word for me.”

When I went back to the message to quote it for the post, I saw that it had been “seen”!

I know what you’re thinking. Someone, like her dear daughter, is still reading the messages.

Let’s agree to disagree.

Back to personal messages. Don’t dump a generic message through the FB message system. Rather, do a thoughtful personal message to each of your friends. Taking the extra time lets them know you care about them as a person, not a potential nominator.

Here’s my general template, in case it’s helpful to you. Don’t blindly copy and paste my template. Don’t embarrass both of us by leaving INSERT NAME and REMIND THEM… in the text.

*****

Hi, (Insert Name)! (Remind them of your shared frame(s) of reference, history, whatever.) May I ask for a quick favor—just a couple of free and easy clicks, I promise. Please consider nominating my new book for Kindle Scout. There’s an excerpt posted for you to read and make your decision. If it’s chosen, then you get it for free. If it’s not to your taste, then think about nominating other books to help those authors. Here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1DGO7BYR20RG8

*****

You may think: Hey! I’m not going to promote other authors!

Let’s rethink that mindset.

Each Kindle Scouter can nominate up to three books at a time. With your book as one nomination, they still have space for two more. They can’t fill up their nominations with your book.

Success is not a zero sum game. In other words, if someone else wins a contract, that doesn’t mean you’ll lose. You’ll meet other authors in the group on KBoards (see the Research section). The group supports each other. Steve Vernon puts up a list each day of the KBoards group members’ active campaigns.

My book is a fun mystery, with a chick-lit twist, with a cat. My targeted demographic (be sure and read the section on Demographics) is female cat owners aged 18 – 35. There are a lot of people outside that demographic. Why not steer them toward books they’ll prefer?

Manage Your Emails/Subscriber Lists

Similar to managing your FB friends list, you will thoughtfully plan how best to contact people on your email contacts list and your subscriber list. You’ll apply the Rule of Fourths to these lists as well, to spread out the contacts and keep up your momentum.

I contacted each person on my email contacts list with a personal note, similar to the one I used for the FB friends list. I drew the line at long-ago exes. I had to draw the line somewhere, and that was a good place.

Post on Your Facebook Page

I recommend posting just once per week on your FB page. You don’t want to wear out your friends, do you? No.

Craft the first post so that you can boost it. See the section on how to boost your FB post.

Posting in Facebook Groups

I did apply the Rule of Fourths to my FB groups. I’m not sure how effective posting in groups is… it’s probably more therapeutic than impactful in getting nominations. When you feel as though you have to DO SOMETHING to promote your campaign, then posting in groups may be an outlet for that energy.

I used a different approach for the message I posted in groups than my message to friends.

*****

Want to have a say in books published under Amazon contracts? You can make a difference with your Kindle Scout nominations—and it’s easy and free.

A hunted woman hiding under a dead friend’s identity, a handsome lawman, a death doctor with fart machine-will travel, and a cranky cat with a nose for crime… Take the Body and Run is live on Amazon Kindle Scout. The program is for books that haven’t been published, but I have a description and excerpt to help you decide. With a couple of easy clicks, you can help me out by nominating the fun mystery with a chick-lit twist.

If it’s not to your taste, then please think about nominating other books to help those authors. It’s fun, free, and easy. You get a free copy of the book if Amazon picks it. Here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1DGO7BYR20RG8

*****

I also posted in my high school, undergraduate, and graduate alumni FB groups. Not sure how effective that was… I don’t THINK it hurt, and it may have helped.

Paper Flyers

I also drafted a paper flyer. I started it with “I’m Jada, your Bardstown neighbor.” I had a printer insert the code for smart phone scanning, and run off paper, color copies. A lady who was unemployed and looking for work distributed the flyers twice around Bardstown, her town, and her church. I did see some small spikes after she distributed them.

The weirdest thing I did with the flyers? I taped them to walls, doors, and stalls in ladies’ restrooms across Bardstown. Boy, did I get some funny looks… and did I see some bizarre things. Interestingly, the staff left them up in the public library restroom.

WEEKS TWO THROUGH FOUR

You outlined your plan in Week One. As you get through the three subsequent weeks, follow the plan.

Week Two

Manage the second fourth of your lists. Ensure your GenrePulse campaigns run as scheduled and check the clicks tracker. If you decide on paper flyers, distribute the second fourth of your printed stack. Monitor your FB boost statistics, including demographics, and tweak as needed to improve your reach. Update your worksheet with your campaign statistics.

Week Three

Manage the third fourth of your lists. Ensure your GenrePulse campaigns run as scheduled and check the clicks tracker. If you decide on paper flyers, distribute the third fourth of your printed stack. Monitor your FB boost statistics, including demographics, and tweak as needed to improve your reach. Update your worksheet with your campaign statistics.

Week Four

Manage the last fourth of your lists. Ensure your GenrePulse campaigns run as scheduled and check the clicks tracker. If you decide on paper flyers, distribute the last fourth of your printed stack. Monitor your FB boost statistics, including demographics, and tweak as needed to improve your reach. Update your worksheet with your campaign statistics.

Interested in my previously self-published books?

Time for some shameless self promotion. Maybe “shameless” is not the right word. I learned the true meaning of “shameless” during my Kindle Scout campaign. See above taping flyers in ladies’ restrooms.

Ahem.

Dog Days of Karma and Equi Knocks of Karma are available on Amazon in electronic and paperback formats. Soul Stice of Karma is planned for release in 2017. These mysteries incorporate romance and paranormal elements.

The Karma Consulting Series

Dog Days of Karma Cover

Dog Days of Karma

Desperate to locate a missing person, Constance Twist decides to call a detective agency. Waiting for directory assistance and muttering to herself about karma, Constance jots down the address for the Carr—Maah Consulting Agency. On the way to the agency, Constance is shoved into traffic and nearly killed.

Celeste Carr is shocked when Constance storms into the office, demanding help. Celeste tries to explain that Carr—Maah is a human resources consulting company, not a detective agency. Celeste grits her teeth when her mysterious business partner Ericka Maah overrules Celeste and forces her to take Constance’s case.

The killer rectifies the earlier error. Constance is brutally murdered as she leaves the agency.

Several hundred miles away, Jose is a restaurant manager and former agency employee. He helped Sonora escape her abusive husband by giving her a job and an apartment. After Sonora unexpectedly flees, Jose finds a hefty online reward for a lost dog. The posting shows Sonora’s image photoshopped with the picture of a dog. Jose follows Sonora’s trail back to his hometown and the Carr—Maah Consulting Agency.

Celeste, Ericka, and Jose, assisted by Hobart, the mysterious homeless man forced by Ericka to become the agency’s office manager, investigate. The clues lead them to a surfeit of viable suspects. His voice heated by the South African sun, Christoph Metre is the charismatic head of the rival consulting agency. Obsessed with the exotic Ericka, Christoph appears with his entourage in unexpected places, including the murder scene. Lovesick Mrs. Grant, in a one-sided relationship with Mr. Crispie, hated it when Constance Twist offered the spry widower lemonade with a Twist. Dr. Britta Spartan, head of the domestic violence shelter, writhes around Hobart like a predatory boa constrictor around a juicy mouse.

If Celeste and her friends can’t solve the mystery in time, they’ll be the next victims.

https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Days-Karma-Carr-Maah-Consulting-ebook/dp/B00JGDWM4E

Equi_Knocks_of_Karma_by_Jada_Ryker

Equi Knocks of Karma

In the second standalone adventure in the Carr—Maah Consulting Agency Paranormal Mystery series, Celeste Carr and Ericka Maah, business partners and friends, face a powerful and ruthless adversary.

Celeste and Ericka are shocked when Toni Rae Yelton, a self-centered party girl, storms the office and holds them hostage. Desperate, Toni Rae orders the mysterious Ericka to use her alleged supernatural powers to call off the police and the reporters, who are all convinced she’s the sinister force behind her little girl’s disappearance.

Adding to Celeste’s angst, Hobart has vanished. The mysterious man was forced off the streets some months ago. Ericka used a combination of her unusual talents and blackmail to coerce Hobart into working for her firm. He reluctantly agreed. More enthusiastically, at least until his disappearance, he was also Celeste’s boyfriend. Now, Celeste believes something terrible has happened to him.

Celeste is forced to not only investigate, but also navigate the landmines in her life. Celeste’s friend Ericka duels with her arch enemy and business rival, handsome and charismatic Christoph Metre. An odd little dog, curiously attuned to Celeste and using his teeth, claws, and smell for protection, attaches himself to her. When she’s in danger, a devilishly handsome stranger materializes to save her…and makes her less eager to find her missing boyfriend.

As the sinister cords of the mystery tighten around Celeste’s throat, she must find the person behind the mask in time to save not only herself, but others. With the fine Machiavellian hand leaving few clues but many deadly traps, Celeste will have to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

SPECIAL BONUS: As a reader appreciation gift, the short story “Winner Takes All” is included FREE at the end of the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Equi-Knocks-Karma-Carr-Maah-Consulting-ebook/dp/B00Z23J76I

My Final Campaign Statistics

As promised, here are my final campaign statistics.

Snip Final Campaign Stats Entire Screen

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How I Scored a Kindle Press Publishing Contract on My First Submission to Kindle Scout. Part One: An Impulsive Submission

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I submitted to Kindle Scout on impulse.

Let me give you some background.

Take the Body and Run, my mystery with a chick-lit twist, was rejected by a major romance publisher. To be fair, they wanted sexy billionaires and wealthy, powerful ranchers. The only billionaires I’ve personally met were jerks.

Granted, the “n” or “total population” of Billionaires I Have Met is tiny. I’ve never met a wealthy rancher. I grew up around farmers, who don’t necessarily fit a glamorous view. In my defense, I thought they’d read the story, fall in love with it, and say, “Who needs charismatic billionaires and rich ranchers?” After all, I had a hunted woman hiding under a dead friend’s identity, a handsome lawman, a death doctor with fart machine-will travel, and a cranky cat with a nose for crime.

I even had the support of one of their great, established writers. She’d read my work and loved it.

Did all of that result in a contract? Ah, no. Rejection.

That’s not the end of the book’s rejection story. Before that submission, I’d entered the book into the St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. My book is a mystery, it’s free to enter, and the winner gets a publishing contract. The downside is submitting by December 15, and then not knowing anything until the end of March. It’s not a “Thanks, but No Thanks”… rather, the author simply doesn’t hear anything. Except for the winner, that is. Needless to say, that wasn’t me.

I had a full-length novel, ready to go.

Why did I think my book was ready for prime time?

It had been professionally edited by Chameleon, editing queen, for the very reasonable price of $180. The price depends on your word count and other factors. It’s also subject to change. If you’d like to get in touch with her for an estimate, you can send her an email: chameleonauthor557@gmail.com
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Jada’s Betas had put it through their exacting process. I do have an earlier blog post about how to find great beta(s). It’s not hard to find, because I’m not a prolific blogger. (I’m working on improving my blogging.) By the way, I’d wanted to call them Jada’s Master Betas. No, I didn’t have the nerve to suggest it to them, although they are masters at their craft.

I did some fairly minor rewrites to put the Betas’ suggestions in the book. I was paranoid about putting typos in my book. I asked Chameleon to go through it once again. Her price was very reasonable.

I had a beautiful cover. Talented artist Christina Keats designed the gorgeous cover. Her rates are very market competitive. You can contact her: christinamkeats@gmail.com.

On Sunday, May 1, 2016, my husband Paul said, “How about Amazon’s Kindle Scout?”

My first reaction was “Nope.” With Kindle Scout, authors accepted for campaigns have the opportunity to “audition” their books for Amazon’s imprint Kindle Press. The last year Amazon did the Breakthrough Novel Award, I’d submitted a different book. I’d obsessively picked at the description and excerpt for the contest, wanting it perfect. It didn’t get even into the first round. Blah!

“Kindle Scout,” Paul said. “You can get a five-year contract and 50% royalties. Look. It’s just a few blanks to fill in.”

Once I started filling them in, I had to finish. (Are you getting a feel for my personality type?) I decided I’d submit quickly, without overthinking it. I didn’t pick at the beginning of my book. I didn’t stress over the description. I dashed off a description to meet the words limit, uploaded my book as it was, and included my cover. The evening of May 1, I hit the submission button.

I was shocked when I got the email on May 2 at 11:00 am. I did NOT expect to be chosen for a campaign.

Here’s my Scout profile:

Kindle Scout Profile

If you’d like to see it in more detail, here’s the link.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1DGO7BYR20RG8

My first reaction was panic. The thirty-day clock was ticking. I had no idea what to do.

Before you move on to Part Two of the Kindle Scout campaign series, you may want an answer to this question: What about my publishing history?

I submitted until my ears bled and got no, no, no. I submitted to hundreds of agents and publishers and magazines… all no. Did I give up?

HELL, no.

I started self-publishing on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing in 2013.

As I explain on my Amazon author page, the books combine humor and murder in a total package of entertaining and fun southern adventures. Murder Takes a Dare was my first book. I wrote two more in the series. The Takes a Dare series gave me a fictional venue to explore addiction/recovery issues and my own childhood angst.

The Takes a Dare Series

Murder Takes a Dare

“I’ve gotten myself in too deep—” Jonah’s last words are an epitaph to a life spent on the wrong side of the law.

Marisa Adair is shocked when her former friend Jonah surfaces from her chaotic past of drinking and partying, only to be murdered. She must solve the crime before the killer destroys her new life.

To find the murderer, Marisa partners with unusual collaborators. Dithering Russell is focused on ferreting out secrets, including her colorful past. Childhood friend Alex is a chief financial officer, and the chief pain in her… neck. Esther is the daughter of a former agent in the FBI’s controversial “Dickless Tracy” program for women. She learned to disable an opponent in hand-to-hand combat around the same time she learned to spell and throw the quintessential tea party.

Marisa must revisit her dark past of childhood deprivation and adult struggles with addiction. The clues point to the shadowy underbelly of a notorious club, the setting for the glittering fool’s gold of her old double life. As Marisa and her friends track the killer, can they solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again?

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Takes-Dare-Adventure-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00D5U5IYU

MurderRedo

Mayhem Takes a Dare

Fantasy and reality clash when the members of an online group meet in person. Behind the glitter of the profiles, true identities are entwined with deadly secrets.

“You can’t tell him.” Sarah’s pretty face hardens, the dimples fading like a whimsical daydream. Her fingers claw Marisa’s arm.

Marisa is furious. “I won’t let you get away with it. You’re trying to trick my friend into a relationship.” Marisa’s gaze rakes the bulky sweatshirt and boxy jeans camouflaging the lush figure. “You’re a stripper with a volatile boyfriend. You’re not a high school teacher looking for love.”

Later, Sarah is stabbed to death during her exotic routine. Marisa and her devastated friend are among the suspects.

In the past, Marisa lived a reckless double life. She was a conservative administrator by day. After hours, she partied the nights away in a notorious club. Now, she finds herself back in shadowy, forbidden places as she and her friends track down a killer. The twisted trail to the murderer leads to explosive, decades-old secrets, including a vigilante-style killing.

Marisa and her friends follow the clues to a twisted killer. Can she solve the mystery before her online account is deleted… permanently?

https://www.amazon.com/Mayhem-Takes-Dare-Adventure-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00E2QS2LW

MayhemRedo

Arson Takes a Dare

An obscenely rich lottery winner tricks Marisa Adair into joining forces with a famous Florida private detective to investigate her daughter’s twenty-year-old murder. During a serial arsonist’s reign of terror, Mayla died in a fiery inferno. The newly wealthy mother wants to dedicate her considerable resources to finding her daughter’s killer and bringing him to justice.

Marisa is busy with problems of her own. After her troubled brother’s death, Marisa discovers he was stalked online. The stalker is the vicious bully who had made their childhood a living hell. She decides to track down the bully, confront her, and hold her accountable for her crimes.

Alisa was a beautiful girl. She was also the ringleader of a group of bullies. Now, as an adult, she seeks out the weakest of the herd to torment through the anonymity of her computer. Alisa also holds the key to dark secrets, with the chilling tendrils reaching from her childhood to the present.

After Alisa’s brutal murder, Marisa is the number one suspect. When Marisa is arrested, her friends rush to help her. Alex, sure he will be driven mad by Marisa, is determined to clear her. Marisa’s friend and former teacher Althea is combat ready after decades of teaching elementary schoolchildren. Marisa’s support group, as ruthless as they are supportive, will go to great lengths to help their fellow member. Tara, Marisa’s best friend and in need of her own twelve-step program for her shoe addiction, will demand hard choices of her boyfriend, the lawman who put Marisa behind bars.

Marisa lived a chaotic life of drinking and partying. Hitting bottom left her existence in shambles. Like a phoenix, Marisa rose from the ashes. Now she’s a savvy and respected human resources director. In jail for a murder she didn’t commit, Marisa faces losing her hard-won new identity…and possibly her life.

https://www.amazon.com/Arson-Takes-Dare-Adventure-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00VKJ3WXM

ArsonRedo

In Part Two, I’ll tell you what I did—and what I didn’t do—to promote my Kindle Scout campaign.

After we’ve talked about Kindle Scout, I’ll mention my Karma Consulting Series, mystery/paranormal adventures. In those books, I also discuss issues like homelessness.

In Part Three, I’ll talk about what I didn’t have time to try… but may work for you.

In Part Four, I’ll cover what happened after the campaign ended.

You’ll get to hang out in limbo with me (yay), and I’ll bring you up to speed as I work to get my book available as a Kindle Press finished product. I’ll also tell you about my foray into horror. A Pink Zombie, with a Mist, is the first book in the Shaken, Not Stirred Series. Along with a fun mystery, I also offer my own insight into environmental justice issues.

If you’d like to review the Kindle Scout submission requirements, eligibility, etc., start below at the link. Read all of the information. Then, decide what’s best for you.

Doing well with high paid rankings? You may want to pass on the program and continue what you’re doing now.

Want to try a hybrid of indie and publisher? Kindle Scout might be a good program to try.

Heard that Kindle Scout only picks established writers with good sales? I’m not a fabulously successful indie author. If I break 400,000 in the Amazon Best Sellers Paid Ranking, then I’m doing the happy dance. If I break even on cover and editing costs over the course of a year, then I’m doing the happy dance with jazz hands. (No, it’s not available on video.)

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/about#how-it-works-authors

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June 19, 2016 · 10:11 pm