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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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 … ūüôā

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 Р11th 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. ūüėČ

 

Book Review: “Kelpie Dreams” by Steve Vernon

“‘Some people just never seem to let themselves be happy … It’s like they fight against their own contentment.'”

Well, let me tell you folks, author Steve Vernon is NOT one of these people.
(That quote btw was from an underwater sea hag … interested yet?)

kelpieKelpie Dreams is a mad dash through a fantastical world where nothing is quite what it seems (including our heroine, “Lady MacBeth”). About loss, love, and (mis)adventures, it reminded me of a modern Alice and Wonderland in it’s quizzical and whimsical style.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed out loud this much with a novel. From the quirky dialogue to the unique characters and setting, there’s a lot here to enjoy, and I can only imagine how much fun Vernon had constructing this novel. Yet when you strip back the oddball humor and bizarre encounters, there’s still a story with surprising depth that goes far beyond its entertainment factor.

Yes, boys and girls, today’s near-death experience was brought to you by the number eight and the letters WTF!

I did feel the characters fell into too similar of a speaking pattern with the back-and-forth, quick-witted banter, but if you’re looking for something that’s completely unlike anything you’ve read, you don’t have to look much further. A definite lighthearted and fun read that’s worth checking out.

“Jazz hands, Mom, big-time jazz hands.”

Mid-Year Ketchup (… or is that blood?)

Hard to believe we’re almost halfway through the year already. While there’s so much to comment on regarding the year itself, I’ll save most of that for another post. But wanted to catch up on my year so far as both an author and a reader, because it’s been pretty incredible for both.

As an Author:

Dollarphotoclub_86625397.jpgWithin the past 6 months I’ve had 2 of my own works published. “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Story” was released back in February. A short story, it’s received some incredible reviews and coverage, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. This was a very personal and difficult story to write,¬†and the connection it makes with those who have read it is both profound and humbling.

The Creation - Let There Be DeathI also had the chance to release Book 2 in The Creation Series, “Let There Be Death.”¬†While this series hasn’t quite had the success as some of my other works, it’s one I’m incredibly proud of. A lot of that is my own fault; the series is difficult to encompass in a single genre, but I’m grateful to all those who have discovered it, shared it, and enjoyed it. It’s by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever written, and has stretched me as an author in so many ways. I’ve already started Book 3, which should complete the trilogy, and it’s been such a joy to see this series take shape in ways I would have never imagined.

(And if you haven’t had a chance to start it yet, you can pick up both the first novella in this series and “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Story” for free by signing up for my newsletter. Enough with the shameless plug.)

My debut novel, Housebroken, continues to pick up steam. It was featured for almost an entire month as #1 in Horror-Suspense on Amazon in the UK, and has done exceptionally well in the US this year as well. It’s great to see a book that’s been out over a year continue to sell, and I’m grateful to my publisher, Kindle Press, for their continued support.

hardcore horrorBeyond my own publications, I was fortunate enough to have a short story of mine selected for a Best Of Horror Anthology, which just recently came out. “Year’s Best Hardcore Horror”¬†has come out to stellar reviews and it’s amazing to be featured alongside so many talented and mainstream authors.

As a Reader:

Dollarphotoclub_98103047.jpgNow while I write, I’m also an avid reader. Most authors are (and any who say they don’t have “time” to read really shouldn’t be writing in the first place). And this year has been a fantastic year for books.

I try to review most everything I read here on my blog, but wanted to highlight a few of my favorite reads so far this year:

(all links will go to my original reviews posted earlier this year)

Tim Lebbon’s “The Silence” —¬†For a post-apocalyptic novel this was an immense amount of fun, and there are several scenes in this book I’ll never forget. A quick and relentless read.

John Scalzi’s “Lock-In” —¬†Brilliant example of fresh and original writing, with some of the best “world-building” you’ll find outside of an epic fantasy world. A must read for both sci-fi or detective / mystery fans.

Kea Wilson’s “We Eat Our Own” —¬†Technically this one isn’t even out yet, so hold your breath for this September, but this was an amazing read. This debut novelist not only broke all the rules but¬†did so in one of the most untraditional, engaging stories I’ve read this year. Don’t miss this one when it’s out.

James Morris’ “Melophobia” —¬†Morris creates an Orwellian-like world where music is outlawed as a “War on Morality” is declared in an alternate history.¬†But rather than follow a predictable plot, this leads down roads I never would have suspected. Beautifully crafted and highly original.

Dollarphotoclub_100291262.jpgNoah Hawley’s “Before the Fall” —¬†The creator of FX’s adaptation of “Fargo” is a brilliant wordsmith, turning a not so original plot into a stunning and gripping read. This is a book that proves it’s all about execution.

Blake Crouch’s “Dark Matter” —¬†Another one that hasn’t yet been released (due out end of July), this is a book that proves concept is king. Fresh ideas and an unrepentant approach, this is a lightning paced read and will undoubtedly lead Crouch to becoming a household name.

Sylvain Neufal’s “Sleeping Giants” —¬†While I didn’t rate this 5 stars, it’s still up in my top reads for the year. This is what “World War Z” should have been, in my opinion; utilizing the “interview” while driving the narrative forward. A highly original concept and very entertaining read.

Stephen King’s “End of Watch” —¬†King puts the crowning jewel in his Bill Hodges series with this final chapter, elevating the entire collection. A master showing off his craft.

A lot of good stuff here folks. If you’re looking for some summer reads, this list is a great place to start. (And if you’re on GoodReads, feel free to add me so I can check out what you’re reading as well).

Now that half of our year is over, I should be posturing on all that could happen in the next six months … But instead, I’m ready for a vacation.

Be back in a few. And happy reading.

Housebroken on Sale

The Crotchets seem like the perfect family. But two unstable kidnappers will do anything to learn their darkest secrets… A chilling read!

My debut novel,¬†Housebroken, is part of a BookBub promotion today in the U.S. and is available for a significant discount! A First-Round Kindle Scout Winner and semi-finalist in the 2015 Kindle Book Awards for Horror,¬†Housebroken has been described as a “must-read horror novel,” and “a read not to miss.”

Thrilled¬†to see that it’s broken the top 1000 books on Amazon’s ranking, and quite humbled to be sandwiched between¬†Stephen King on the Best Sellers List for Horror-Suspense.¬†I’m extremely grateful to my publisher, and the fine folks at Kindle Press,¬†who continues to believe in and support my work.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to tackle this novel, grab it now while it’s part of this promotion, and prepare for “an experience¬†that will affect [you] mentally and physically!”

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