RIP: Kindle Scout

Just a little over three years since its first round of books was released, the “crowd-sourced publishing platform” that was Kindle Scout is being closed down. I received an announcement today of the news, along with other authors who have had books selected through the program and published by Kindle Press.

Kindle Scout

As of today, April 3rd, Kindle Scout will no longer accept new submissions. The books that have been published through the program will remain within the Amazon wheelhouse for now and we’re being told will still be eligible for inclusion for promotional opportunities. I suspect, however, that quite a few Kindle Press authors who have been on the fence will now request their rights reversion and move on to self-publish their novels or find another home for them elsewhere.

Having been one of the first authors published through the Kindle Scout program I find the news disappointing but far from unexpected. Kindle Scout was always an experiment, and while the intentions were good I don’t think it took off like Amazon might have hoped. Publishers — both big and small — come and go, and in today’s ever evolving landscape one certainly can’t fault a corporation or publisher for trying something innovative, whether or not it proves to be a success. In truth, I wish more publishers were looking at breaking the mold and finding ways to disrupt the “tried and true” practices of the industry which have become more “tired” than “true”.

So the big question which will now be asked is whether Kindle Scout was a failure. The answers, of course, will vary, but I’ve always looked at the program as just one stepping stone along a path leading to success. One can look to authors like Sariah Wilson or Michael McBride, for which their Kindle Scout winning novels led to landing further deals with either Amazon or big five publishing companies. And for many Kindle Scout authors, myself included, having a company like Amazon select your book over thousands of entries was a moment of validation, a glimpse that the end of the long and lonely writing tunnel just might end with light.

And yet for every successful story that came out of Kindle Scout there have been just as many authors disappointed with the program. Some books received far less marketing support than others, and some authors have sold far more books self-publishing than they ever have through Kindle Scout. The story remains: “Just add water, but results may vary.”

As for my experience, I’m grateful I had a chance to be a part of it. For a debut novelist with no foreknowledge of publishing or marketing books, Housebroken has been a repeated #1 best-selling novel on Amazon for Horror, broke into the top 100 best-selling books on Amazon, remained #1 in Horror in the UK for over a month, and has sold almost 10,000 copies to date. The Kindle Scout experience has been a jumpstart to my career as an author. It’s also enabled me to connect with a community of authors I never would have known otherwise and reach an audience far wider than the little bubble I travel in. My novel has been picked up by a premier publisher for a limited hardcover release (more details to come), has landed an amazing actor to do the voice work for an audiobook adaptation, and is in the early stages of being optioned for a film (you’ll know more if / when I do). To say that the program is a failure is to dismiss every author for whom doors have been opened because of Kindle Scout.

So whether Kindle Press evolves into something new or permanently closes, remember this isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the end of a chapter. And who knows how many book this series might sustain? I bid a fond farewell to the Kindle Scout program and look forward to whatever twists and turns the future may hold.

Hiking adventure

 

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Confessions of a Reviewer tackles “HOUSEBROKEN”

It’s always an unexpected surprise to get a notice that one of your books has been reviewed by a review site you respect, even better when said review makes you want to read your own book.

Nev Murray’s fantastic Confessions of a Reviewer site finally got to a book I submitted to them sometime last year. I don’t know the reviewer, Elaine Pascal, but man can she write! Seriously, one of my favorite reviews. Check out this snippet:

Contemporary fiction nihilistically portrays the consequences of complacent inaction, but none with more gusto than Housebroken.

Check out the full review of HOUSEBROKEN, and if you haven’t yet read it yourself, Amazon has the book on a special promo this month as part of their Prime Reading program where for Prime members you can pick up the book for free.

Housebroken is a fantastic horror novel that is not for the faint of heart. I have not been this swept away by a thriller in a long time!

Thanks again to Elaine and the Confessions team.

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Two Free Books to Jump Start Your Holidays

It’s not often I’m able to properly thank those of you who have followed my writing career since the beginning, but with my debut novel currently being offered by Amazon for free (as long as you’re a Prime member), I thought it might be nice to up the ante, so to speak.

Now normally when a book is being offered for free, authors do mega blasts and paid promos to try and get it to as many people as possible. I’m doing the opposite. I’m notifying only my newsletter subscribers and those who follow my occasional rants here on my blog and social media. In other words, this promo isn’t to gain additional readers, it’s aimed at rewarding those of you who have rewarded me by reading my work and giving me a platform as an author.

So THANK YOU. And please stick around. While this has been a quieter year than normal, there’s a lot coming for 2018.

Happy Holidays —

HAPPINESS IS A COMMODITY  — Free Nov 29 – Dec 1st

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HOUSEBROKEN — Free with Amazon Prime

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GiveAway Results / Housebroken Reaches 100 Reviews (Sort of)

Housebroken Reaches 100 Reviews!

Well, we did it! Over the past week Kindle Press put my novel on sale, we had that final pesky review come in to push Housebroken into the triple digits for reviews.

And I say “we” here purposefully. Writing is an extremely solitary venture, but once that book is published it becomes a collective experience, and it’s only through word-of-mouth and the attention readers give to that experience (whether good or bad) through which a book can grow legs and live past its initial pub date. So thank you to everyone of you — those who have been with me from the start, and those of you who are still trying to figure out whether it’s worth cracking open a book by that “Behrg” guy.

Two steps forward, one step back

HousebrokenSo while Amazon giveth, Amazon also taketh away. The short and sweet review that was #100 for Housebroken has now become review #99 as in the past 24 hours Amazon kicked a review off of my book. It happens quite often, actually, and there’s not much an author can do about it. Part of the danger in friending people who reach out socially after reading your book is that at some point Amazon can eliminate any reviews from said person, thinking they’re just friends or family attempting to skew review results.

Thankfully it’s not something I stress over, and to me having reached that milestone — even if it was temporary — is still worth celebrating. After all, whenever the next review lands, we’ll be right back at the hundred mark (until the next one gets booted, that is!). Plus, what I count as my greatest rewards from writing novels has come through the interactions of those who reach out — the acquaintances that turn into friendships, on so many different levels. In my book that is something far more worthy of celebration. Though, to be fair, in my books there often isn’t a lot of gleeful celebrating taking place … 🙂

Winners Announced – 2 Signed Copies of Housebroken

Congratulations.jpgSo as promised, in reaching 100 reviews on Amazon I’m giving away 2 signed copies of Housebroken. In order to be completely fair, I’ve run the contest through an online random number generator, plugging in every person who’s signed up for my newsletter and adding additional entries for those who emailed me a link to one of their reviews or proof of purchase of one of my books (Thank you, by the way — see what I mean when I say we can only do this as a team?!?)

In order to protect the identity of the winners, I’ll only refer to them by their First Name and last initial, but here are the winners of the signed books:

  • Ken X
  • Pete K

An email has been sent to each of the winners and books will be shipped once addresses are confirmed.

Thank You Readers!

This has been a fun experiment, and I’m looking to do more give-aways and contests with my newsletter subscribers in the near future, so if you haven’t signed up you can do so here: Behrg’s Newsletter. You’ll also pick up 3 free ebooks for joining the cool kid’s club (even if we ride on the short yellow bus).

Lastly, as you can see reviews mean a ton to authors, especially those of us who are hybrid / indie. You don’t need to write an essay or include some deep prognosis on the hidden themes interwoven throughout the underlying current of the story. Just share your thoughts — a quick note about what you enjoyed (or even what you didn’t) takes less than a minute of your time, but to that author it will mean the world. And it may even influence some other random reader to give that book a try.

** If you missed the $0.99 sale for Housebroken, for some reason the novel is still discounted on Amazon and you can pick it up for $1.00 less than cover price. **

News, Updates & Give-Aways

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Pleased to share that Kindle Press is putting my novel Housebroken on sale July 5th – 11th for just $0.99!

If you haven’t yet had a chance to read this one, these sales are few and far between so grab it while you can for less than a buck!

In other news, Housebroken is now hovering at 99 reviews on Amazon! Once it reaches 100, I’ve decided to offer a Give-Away for 2 signed copies of Housebroken. This give-away will be exclusively available to my mailing list only, so if you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so here: Behrg’s mailing list

No purchase is necessary. You’ll be automatically entered just by participating as a subscriber. But if you’d like more chances to win, shoot me an email (thebehrg at gmail.com) with a link to one (or more) of the following:

  • A screenshot of your purchase of Housebroken (or another of my titles)
  • A screenshot of your posted review on Amazon for Housebroken
  • A screenshot of your posted review on Amazon for another of my titles

You’ll receive an extra entry into the contest for each additional proof of purchase / review.

Thanks again for your support! Winners will be announced within 2 weeks (or as soon as we reach 100 reviews on Amazon).

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purchase now                                                 shop other titles

Kindle Scout 2 Yr Anniversary – $0.99 Sale!

Hard to believe it’s been two years since my debut novel, HOUSEBROKEN, was published through Amazon’s Kindle Scout program. I still remember the anxiety of going through that 30 day campaign … the hopes, the frustration, and the eventual bliss and validation in having my novel selected for publication.

HousebrokenSince then, HOUSEBROKEN has gone on to be a #1 Amazon best-selling novel, both in the US and UK, for horror-suspense. The Kindle Scout program has, within this same time period, launched over 250 books, some to incredible success and others to lack-luster results, but publishing has never been a perfect science. It continues to be a great way for readers to discover new books and authors (and be rewarded for your efforts), while helping to launch careers and offer alternative options for authors these days.

To celebrate 2 years of the program’s success, Kindle Press is offering a sale on every one of their titles!

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For a short time period, you can pick up every Kindle Press title for just $0.99, including my novel HOUSEBROKEN. You can check out all the titles here — With an impressive array of authors across multiple genres, there’s sure to be something that will grab your attention. (And to grab HOUSEBROKEN for less than a buck, click here)

Later this week, I’ll add a post on a few Kindle Press titles I’ve read over the past 2 years that are ones you won’t want to miss. Till then, happy shopping. 😉

 

Amazon’s New “Prime Reading” — (Pick up HOUSEBROKEN For FREE)

For those of you who haven’t heard, Amazon announced today a new program for Prime members that includes a host of books you can read for free. From my understanding, this list of books will rotate every few months or so, providing new material you can pick up at absolutely no cost.

Amazon continues to be at the forefront of experimenting in new and exciting ways for both authors and readers. While there could be some concerns with a program like this, as far as compensation for authors, etc, know that no book is a part of this program accidentally. All authors were notified, had to “opt-in,” and were given a compensation package to be part of this first trial run.

HousebrokenWith that being said, my novel HOUSEBROKEN is a part of this program, which means if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can pick up a copy for FREE today.

I’m excited to be opening the doors to a group of readers I may not have been able to reach otherwise. And what better season to tackle a psychological horror novel? Can’t you hear those “slay” bells ringing?!?

So grab your copy, tell a friend, tell an enemy, and get reading!