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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Because Who Doesn’t Love a Free Book?

Sadly the word FREE, as it goes with offering a product, often assigns a “value-less” attachment to whatever is being offered. Ebooks are no different, and with the desperation many authors face in trying to attract readers, it’s no surprise that this trend has affected — and disrupted — the wonderful world of reading.

There are, however, times when great books are offered at heavily discounted prices.

Recently, Amazon has introduced a new program called Prime Reading, in which Amazon Prime members can “borrow” up to ten ebooks at a time for absolutely no cost to the reader. Thousands of books are plugged into their rotating carousel of available books each month and, much like borrowing a book from a library, readers can check one out but WITHOUT accruing late charges.

My novel, HOUSEBROKEN, was a part of the introductory Prime Reading program when it first launched, and it was a great way to introduce my work to new readers during that time frame. Well, as the carousel continues its rotations, I thought I’d make you lovely readers aware of a few books you can download today for free that are part of this program, books you won’t want to miss.

Books You Can Download for FREE w/ Amazon’s Prime Reading:

1984First, do yourself a favor and pick up George Orwell’s fantastic dystopian novel, 1984. If you haven’t read this one yet, you’re in for a treat. In today’s world this little classic is looking more and more prophetic, and not in a good way.

 
Unpaved SurfacesFor a chilling character-driven suspense read, make sure you grab Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces. About the deconstruction and reconstruction of a family who has a child go missing, it’s a fantastic read.

 

melophobiaAnother dystopian novel that’s near and dear to my heart is Melophobia by James Morris. About a world where music is banned and musicians are fugitives, this one takes some surprising turns. Definitely one of my top reads for 2016.

 

twistedAuthor Andrew Kaufman has a dark thriller in the vein of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island that’s available. While I preferred Lehane’s execution, Twisted is still a great psychological thriller definitely worth checking out.

 

freelancer.jpgOff the beaten path from my normal dark reading, for fans of YA & sci-fi, I found Freelancer by Jake Lingwall a particularly clever novel. He’s created a futuristic world with hackers and drones and a protagonist you want to root for.

 

lewisAnother genre-blending novel is Forever by Linda Cassidy Lewis, who combines a gripping love story with a dark tale of possession. This definitely went in directions I wasn’t expecting and is an extremely memorable read.

 

Support an Author and (Potentially) Receive a Free Book!

Haunted HouseOutside of the Prime Reading program you’ve got an opportunity to help a fantastic author win a contract through the Kindle Scout program. Norman Prentiss’s novel, Life In a Haunted House, has been on the Hot & Trending list since it debuted on Kindle Scout and his campaign is up in a matter of days. By taking a moment to nominate his book, if it wins you’ll pick up a free advanced copy (and I’d be earth-shatteringly shocked if this one doesn’t win). Plus it’s just fun to help a deserving author along their road to success.

Check out his campaign and click nominate here. And if you dig what he’s doing with this release, he’s also offering three shorter tie-in novelizations which are also currently available for free. Check them out below:

* “The Lake Monster” — https://instafreebie.com/free/PMtEs

* “The Dungeon of Count Verlock,” — https://instafreebie.com/free/bu1p9

* “The Space Visitor,” — https://instafreebie.com/free/bu1p9 

My Own Free Offerings

Lastly, (if you aren’t sick of free stuff by now — I did warn you!!) if you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, I’m currently offering 3 free eBooks as a Thank You for subscribing. The First Book in The Creation Series, The Creation: In The Beginning; my short story The Lines (The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title); and an exclusive story that’s only available through my newsletter, entitled “Patterns.”

I only send out the occasional update through the newsletter to announce new releases, contests or sales. Subscribe here and I’ll get your free books on their way.

See? Whoever said free wasn’t a good thing?

Newsletter Books

 

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!

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 9.48.04 AM

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. 😉

 

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.”

Book Review: Forever by Linda Cassidy Lewis

A married couple going through the empty nest syndrome are struggling to define their relationship and the way it’s changed over the years. Cue the husband meeting a young woman who dazzles him, and you’ve got a classic setup questioning what you would do for love, and which of these loves is real.

lewis.jpgSounds like the plot to how many <fill-in-the-blank> romantic comedies or dramas?

But this is FAR from your normal love story.
And by far, I mean another universe, not merely the town next to yours.

Lewis dives deep, breaking the cliches of the genre and introducing unanticipated concepts to this triangle love story, ranging from past lives and psychic visions to dark and vengeful spirits. While there are possessions, rape, and other disturbing content, it was never gratuitous or over the top but rather there to serve the story.

What I found most interesting, however, was that as a reader I was never really sure which couple I should be hoping for. You felt the pain and yearnings on both sides, and Lewis does a great job of not interjecting her own judgement into the story but rather leaving it up to the reader.

For those looking for a different kind of love story, Forever certainly delivers.

It’s Release Day!!!

The second book in The Creation Series is being released today on Amazon.

To thank all those who supported my Kindle Scout campaign, I’m discounting the book to just $.99 for one week only, after which it will return to its normal price of $3.49.

Pick up your copy today!!

THE CREATION: LET THERE BE DEATH
The Creation - Let There Be Death

And God said, ‘Let There Be Death.’
And He saw that it was Good.

As the second day in The Creation begins, the world continues to be transformed. Day has arrived, but this is no ordinary light. And it is but the precursor for something far more terrifying.

With the dawn, Faye Moanna finds herself a prisoner in one of the darkest dungeons created for man. To escape with her life, she may have to sacrifice a part of herself that can never be reclaimed: Her soul.

Meanwhile, new allegiances are formed between Dugan’s band of mercenaries, but betrayal lurks at every corner. And the power they seek, in the form of the Shaman, may prove not to save the world, but destroy it.

 

The Creation Part 2 is Coming!!

I had the chance to do a final pass through “Let There Be Death”, the second book in The Creation Series, and let me tell you it got me excited. This series is coming into its own in a frightening way and I’m looking forward to shoving it out the door with a wave and a message of “Good Luck” as it makes it’s way in the world.

As most of you know, this book was up for a contract with Kindle Scout recently, wherein all those who voted for it could have won a free copy should it have been chosen. It wasn’t, and I have no way to offer it out for free, but …

As a THANK YOU to all of you who voted for it, I will be releasing it at $0.99 for the first week only, after which it will return to its normal price of $3.49.

The Creation - Let There Be DeathAnd when will you be able to get your grubby little mittens on this puppy?

This coming Tuesday, April 12th.

The print copies have been submitted for proofing as well and will be available shortly. Thank you to everyone who’s been looking forward to this release and please, as the book comes out, add your reviews and comments regarding what you enjoyed (or didn’t). A book’s release is such a critical time and reviews really make a difference.

If you’re new to The Creation Series, sign up for my newsletter to get a free copy of the first book, Axis Mundi. This offer too will be going away shortly, so grab it while you can.

See you in the Amazon soon.