How Kindle Scout Works

by Joan Marie Verba

Joan-Marie-Verba-square-150x150Kindle Scout is a publishing option sponsored by Writers can submit an unpublished manuscript of 50,000 words or more in the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or romance genres. Kindle Scout then will put up a web page with the cover, summary, sample chapter, and author information. Potential readers then review the information, and if they have an account, they can nominate the work. At the end of 30 days, the Kindle Scout team reviews the statistics and the work. If they accept the work for publication, the author gets an advance against royalties and the work is published on Kindle Press.

The basic information and the link to the Kindle Scout contract can be found here.

Authors who are interested in Kindle Scout need to assemble a copyedited manuscript and cover. They will also need to supply a one-line summary, a 500-word description, an author photo and bio, and a thank-you note (which will be sent at the end of the 30-day campaign whether the work is accepted or not). Authors may also submit 4 social media or website addresses.

Once the work and other materials are submitted, the Kindle Scout team will review them and approve them (or not) for the 30-day campaign. Once the campaign is formally accepted, Kindle Scout will assign a start and end date (mine started three days after the campaign was approved). They will also send a link to the campaign page.

During those 30 days, Kindle Scout recommends that the author post the campaign page link to draw readers to the page and nominate the novel. I posted the link to my Facebook page, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads (discussion boards), and various email lists I’m on. The campaign page also gives a link to an analytics page where one can check the number of page views daily. There’s also a bar graph showing how many hours an author’s book is in the “Hot and Trending” category (in which case there will be a “Hot” tag on the book). The idea is to maximize the number of page views and the number of hours in “Hot and Trending.” (Of course, one wishes to maximize the number of nominations as well, but Kindle Scout does not share that information.) There is a section in analytics that tells the origin of the places page visitors come from, so that author can tell which posts are resulting in the largest number of page views.

One site I would highly recommend reading before, and especially during, one’s campaign is kboards—in particular, the “Kindle Scout Experiences, Anyone?” board. This board has authors who are in the midst of a Kindle Scout campaign as well as authors who have completed one (successfully or unsuccessfully). Some on that board assert that there are factors in addition to the number of nominations that Kindle Scout considers in order to make a selection, such as the author’s sales history and number of titles previously published.

When the campaign is over, the author can wait up to 15 days before the Kindle Scout team sends an email saying whether or not the novel had been selected for publication by Kindle Press (though it’s generally a under a week). If it is, they ask if the author wishes to make changes to the cover, description, or manuscript (if so, the author has 30 days to make those changes). They also ask for information in order to make the advance payment. Once the title is published, Amazon will promote it. Important note: Amazon only publishes the ebook version in Kindle Press. It’s the author’s responsibility to make arrangements for a paperback edition, if the author wishes a paperback version, since Kindle Scout does not contract for the paperback rights, only the ebook and audio rights.

For further information on what happens after an author is published by Kindle Press, I highly recommend this interview .

My particular title was not selected for publication. That means Kindle Press sent the thank-you note that it requested when I applied to those who nominated the novel. There is a link on the campaign page allowing me to notify Amazon when I publish my title; they will send an email notification to everyone who nominated that it is available, which is useful. I can also send future novels to Kindle Scout for consideration, if I wish to.

The authors who have been published by Kindle Scout (at least those whose comments I’ve read or listened to), appear to be satisfied with the experience. It’s yet another publishing option that authors can consider, and it costs nothing to apply. I would recommend checking out the links I provided to see whether it’s an option that you might wish to consider.


Joan Marie Verba earned a bachelor of physics degree and was an associate instructor of astronomy for one year. She has worked as a computer programmer, editor, publisher, health/weight loss coach, and social media manager. An experienced writer, she is the author of the nonfiction books Voyager: Exploring the Outer Planets, Boldly Writing, and Weight Loss Success, as well as the novels Countdown to Action, Action Alert, Deadly Danger, Situation: Critical, Extreme Hazard, Danger Zone, and Sword of Queens. Her latest works are a children’s chapter book, Wondry Dragon Finds a Home, and the science fiction novel Modern Surprises. She is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.