Thursday, March 24, 2016

Anxiety Times Thirty

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological and logistical) in bringing your latest book to life?
runningcoverforwebsiteOne year ago, my latest novel, RUNNING FROM THE PAST, was published by Kindle Press (an Amazon Publishing imprint) after winning a contract through the Kindle Scout program.

What’s the Kindle Scout program, you ask? A brief summary:

The Kindle Scout program is sort of like American Idol for books. If you’re an author with a completed manuscript (in one of a handful of select genres) and a cover, you can enter. There’s an introductory screening, and if Amazon approves, then the cover, a bio, a short book blurb, and an excerpt (up to about 5000 words) of the novel itself get uploaded onto the Kindle Scout site, and your 30-day campaign begins.

During this campaign, readers (“Scouts”) can peruse the different campaigns and nominate those books they would like to see get published (each Scout can have three books nominated at any one time). The books with the most nominations after their campaign ends get further reviewed by the Kindle Scout editorial staff. Then, those books that the editors like (and see sales potential in, no doubt) receive contracts.

The Scouts are rewarded, too. Each Scout who nominates a winning book gets a free copy of the book two weeks before it gets published.

Now, to answer this week’s four-part question.

Were there any research challenges?
Not really. I set the book in places I’d vacationed, so there wasn’t a whole lot of research necessary.

Were there any literary challenges?
None, beside my lack of a formal education in grammar! (Me never let that stop myself!)

Were there any logistical challenges?
Again, not really. I’d put this manuscript on Wattpad, so it was already fully edited and ready to go, and I already had a professionally-designed cover.

Were there any psychological challenges?
Just every single day, for thirty straight days!

Because getting a lot of nominations is an important part of the process, I tried many things to garner votes. Some things worked, some things didn’t. Each day brought new challenges and worries, including those days when I didn’t do any promoting (I should be promoting!). Stressful!

My book was in the first wave of Kindle Scout books, and I didn’t know what to expect. There were no real metrics regarding how well the book was doing, except for a Hot & Trending List, which would get updated hourly. (Now there are more real-time statistics about how a book is doing, I believe.) So, basically, I was anxious for thirty straight days as I checked the Hot List hourly every waking hour. Yes, my mouse-clicking finger developed a callous.

But it didn’t end there—after the campaign ended, I was in limbo for a few days, waiting for Amazon’s decision. More anxiety.

I wish I could say that after I received the contract, my stress dwindled. But as many authors know, the stress doesn’t end with a book’s publication.

There’s always some marketing or promotion to do, and the feeling that you’re never quite doing enough persists!

Kindle Scout t-shirt selfie

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)