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Rants: OT & OTT > Kindle Scouts - Hook, Line & Sinker

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments This is the text of the email I just received in my email tonight.

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Hello,

We believe authors thrive with options. In addition to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon is pleased to offer Kindle Scout, a reader-powered publishing program for new, never-before-published books. Jump-start your book and potentially earn a publishing contract from Kindle Press--in 45 days or less.

Kindle Scout helps you connect with readers prior to publication. If your book is selected for publication by Kindle Press through the Kindle Scout platform, readers who nominated the book will receive an early, free copy and be invited to leave reviews. If your book is not selected, readers will have the option to be notified when you independently publish through KDP.

Kindle Scout welcomes submissions for English-language books in the following genres: Romance, Mystery & Thriller, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Literature & Fiction. Action & Adventure, Contemporary Fiction, and Historical Fiction will be accepted within the Literature & Fiction category. Any adult age 18 or older with a valid U.S. bank account and a U.S. Social Security number or tax identification number is eligible. Check out the Kindle Scout Eligibility & Content Guidelines for more information.

If chosen for publication, you receive:

Guaranteed advance & competitive royalties: A $1,500 advance and 50% eBook royalty rate.
Focused formats: Kindle Press acquires worldwide publication rights for eBook and audio formats in all languages. You retain all other rights, including print.
5-year renewable terms: If your book doesn't earn $25,000 in royalties during the initial 5-year contract term, and any 5-year renewal term after that, you can choose to stop publishing with us.
Easy reversions: After two years, rights in any format or language that remain unpublished, or all rights for any book that earns less than $500 in total royalties in the preceding 12-month period, can be reverted upon request--no questions asked.
Early downloads & reviews: One week prior to release date, everyone who nominated your book will receive a free, early copy to help build momentum and customer reviews.
Amazon marketing: Your book will be enrolled into Kindle Unlimited, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and will be eligible for targeted email campaigns and promotions.

Learn more about this new opportunity.

Kind regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team
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What a great new way to recruit titles into the realms of exclusivity.

Hook, Line and Sinker.


message 2: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Actually, it strikes me that Amazon is trying to do what the cheap end of corporate publishing does in all those genre imprints. Only Amazon does it better, in that the readers who recommend a book (in order to get a free copy when it is published) overcome the main bugbear of the big corporate publishers, discoverability. If this works, Amazon has once more transferred an expensive and tiresome publishing function to the writers.

The concept of an advance, however mean, has to be welcomed.

I reckon you're right: a lot of would-be famous writers will swallow this hook, and consider the get-out clauses generous, simply because they don't know any better.


message 3: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments At first glance, I also felt it was something an untested author might benefit from myself, until I did the math.

$1,500 advance for a 50% royalty. Not 60% or 70%. That is a 20 percent cut on pay for at least five years if things go badly, for a single mortgage payment and a few pizzas.

5 Year renewable terms - but only if the title makes more than $25,000. In other words, you can't cancel until you have a 5 year block of time where you earn less than that amount. Remember 50%? That is $25,000 gross. For the author, it's $12,500 after the royalty cut is made.

Hey, I'd love to give you $1,500 for one of your novels so I can make a minimum goal of $12,500 on my end of things. But if it does better, say $40,000.... the payout to the author is only $20,000. Dollar for dollar, it's an evil investment.

A "successful" book can remain locked for 10 years or more, only to be exclusive on Amazon.

The give-back on that deal is the paperback rights, which remain with the author.

It's a deal with the devil, my friend. The devil always makes sure it looks good on paper, but in the end, he gets your soul.

How much soul do you think we put into our novels? For me, quite a bit.

Still, 45 days or less in the evaluation? Hmm. They can play favorites again on their product forums, where much literary blood is spilled on a daily basis.

/shiver


message 4: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
In the days when you dealt with a human being at a publisher, it didn't really matter what you signed, though it is true almost nobody asked you to sign articles of slavery. You could always renegotiate. Your publishers wanted you to be happy. But at Amazon you're dealing with a succession of teenage failed programmers, with zero discretion, reading off an operations manual. You may as well be dealing with a robot for all the humanity available in the system.


message 5: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments Andre Jute wrote: "In the days when you dealt with a human being at a publisher, it didn't really matter what you signed, though it is true almost nobody asked you to sign articles of slavery. You could always renego..."

As always, my friend, directly on target. Bravo!

The only change I would suggest is to add many unnecessary but accurate modifiers.

....dealing with a >sadistic ego eating monster of< a robot....

hehehehe And Mark Coker is finally on board with that understanding. In 2009, I emailed Smashwords and in those days, Mark himself replied. He told me he was still working on the relationship between Smashwords and Amazon, and was hopeful of having an ingestion system for all authors soon, or near enough, because I am paraphrasing from an old email that is long gone.

My only reply was one sentence long. "Amazon is not your friend." And I left it at that. Recently, Mark has figured that part out the hard way.

Can you imagine a company dropping a provider because of how ugly Amazon treats Smashwords authors who try to migrate to KDP Select? Well, it happened, and Coker explains why and shares an email he directly sent to Jeff Bezos.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2015/08/sm...

Read the entire blog without skimming, if it's possible. There are a lot of subtle messages there, and it's a lengthy post. Especially focus on the email to Bezos. I can only imagine the crooked smile of horror that is being delivered if a reply is being typed up as we talk about this today.

/rock on!


message 6: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Since I left Smashwords, my books are selling on B&N, Apple, Scribd, and Kobo.

Total 99 books, month to date, for $5.38 which is a HUGE increase for me.


message 7: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Owen | 36 comments Andre Jute wrote: "In the days when you dealt with a human being at a publisher, it didn't really matter what you signed, though it is true almost nobody asked you to sign articles of slavery. You could always renego..."


I saw this email from Amazon about Kindle Scout. My first thoughts as a jaded PR queen from days of old is that the program needs a "boost". They're trolling for authors to submit their work. (Or, is that suckers?)

I'm not interested in an advance of $1500. I can do that on my own and the 5 year term and a gate of $25K? Forget it.

K.A. - I divorced Smashwords some time ago when Sony was still one of their channel offerings and one of the books I had to take down took a over month. I'm not a fan of Mark Coker's for a lot of reasons. His ax to grind with Amazon is always part of the agenda in his blog posts (subliminal or not!) It's not like I'm defending Amazon here; I'm not! Amazon's exclusivity with Kindle Select is destructive. Never doubt that is their intent and has been from beginning since the launch last year. I will never put those handcuffs on again. Just sayin'.

Good post, Daniel. I agree with your comments.


message 8: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Mark Coker, clearly a nice guy, is a babe in the woods. He thinks Jeff Bezos regards him as an honorable competitor and fellow book promoter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very existence of Mark Coker and his operation infuriates Bezos. See, Bezos isn't a publisher, with a cultural imperative (honest to god, I remember when virtually all the publishers I knew in London were men driven by their culture, and most in New York, even); he is a barrow-boy writ large, with a street trader's morality: this is my spot, and if you set up your stall nearby I'll beat you bloody.

It's a mistake for Coker to think he's in the culture business; the correct analogy is the cutthroat end of supermarket retailing. The methods are the same. You can read the methods in the history of Library Thing and Goodreads: Bezos gave the appearance of cooperating with them, made them dependent on him as by far the largest supplier of the information without which they could not operate, then without any warning or notice pulled the carpet out from under them, and when they were in despair bought them out and made them his servants; this is a very common process in the retail supply line where with huge orders the retailers drive manufacturing prices down below the marginal unit, withdraw support from the manufacturer who allows that retailer to become a big or sole customer, and ends up as the owner and employer of the erstwhile independent manufacturer.

QED.


message 9: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Owen | 36 comments Andre Jute wrote: "Mark Coker, clearly a nice guy, is a babe in the woods. He thinks Jeff Bezos regards him as an honorable competitor and fellow book promoter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very exist..."


Agreed.

I think Mark Coker is probably a nice guy. The email he included that he sent to Bezos supports your analogy,too. (Babe in the woods is a perfect description.)

And yes, cutthroat as in supermarket retailing is exactly so!


message 10: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Welcome at ROBUST, Katherine.


message 11: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Owen | 36 comments Oh, thanks but I've been a member for a long while. I lurk more than comment. You all keep it real, which I love.


message 12: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Katherine,
I've given up on Amazon and Smashwords both.

I haven't had any Amazon sales to speak of in a couple years. That's a shame because I once had a wonderful run with my first novel when Select first came out.

Even my mom's short stories as newly released freebies only get a dozen d/ls during their free runs.

I had e-books on both Smashwords and D2D - and sales & ratings for the D2D e-books were consistently higher than the Smashwords copies of the same books. As soon as I took down the Smashwords copies, the e-books did even better.


message 13: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Owen | 36 comments K.A.,

I'm sorry to hear Amazon isn't going so well for you, but not surprised.

Meanwhile, like you, I'm beginning to get some traction with D2D. They make everything easy instead of difficult. I have had some good sales with Apple and Scribd, although I'm not sure how sales will go with Scribd's latest change of arbitrarily flushing romance titles.


message 14: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments My romances didn't get flushed, so they are slowly getting a bit of attention.

B&N is my best market. Too bad they are about to close.


message 15: by Andre Jute (last edited Aug 30, 2015 11:52PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
On my Scribd account I read expensive books, so I find it hard to imagine they make a buck on me. Romance fans perhaps don't read expensive books but Scribd complained they read a lot of them, very fast. And there are many more romance fans than readers of obscure history and philosophy.


message 16: by Daniel (last edited Aug 31, 2015 12:39AM) (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments Andre Jute wrote: "On my Scribd account I read expensive books, so I find it hard to imagine they make a buck on me."

You know, I once had a notion to write a ten page ebook and discuss nothing but philosophical garbage, the purity of fresh fish and the sanctimony of innocent kittens going on a war-like rampage to take over the Earth.

Then I was going to price it at $1200 with only a 5% preview allowance.

Let somebody over at Scribd read THAT piece of horse-hockey, and I get some serious cash for being a snarky bastard that preys on the innocence of high school freshmen, as the baloney won't impress anybody else, ever.

There are probably controls in place for them to not publish such a price hitter, but would be kinda funny if anyone bought it.

That's just me in fantasy land here. If I had a single penny for every sharp idea that improperly stabbed my frontal lobe clean through to my brain stem, at that downward angle that turns right to wrong, I'd be a very rich fellow.

I hate being broke. Don't mind me, My rambling is done.

^_^


message 17: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Actually, I read my way through Will and Ariel Durant's eminently sensible and entertaining 11-volume History of Civilization. I don't have patience for the more juvenile French nutcase classes of philosophy, copycatted by the less imaginative Americans because they're think, on the whole correctly, that if nobody caught the French out in their absurdities, they too can get away with crap like desconstructivism and post-structuralism and just plain bullshit like the auteur theory, which I once described to an audience of thirty vaguely arty insomniacs who came to see an arts show filmed, in a silence so rapt you could hear a pin drop, as, "The belief that the cow hasn't lived until the waitress plonks down the McDonald's hamburger containing its mortal remains on XXXs latest book to explain why better books than his don't come into existence until he criticizes them."

The bit I like best about the several centuries of Scholasticism, of which the current obscurantism and chomskyism in ivory towers is a direct extension, was when Heloise's uncle cut off Abelard's nuts.


message 18: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments The partially fossilized skeletons of John Dewey and George Sylvester Morris both sat up at the same time, laughing themselves silly, just like I did. :) NICE post. I'll be back later after I find my funny bone. I think it flew somewhere into the distance.


message 19: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments "The belief that the cow hasn't lived until the waitress plonks down the McDonald's hamburger containing its mortal remains on XXXs latest book to explain why better books than his don't come into existence until he criticizes them."

WOW! That's some theory. If I still drank with the hipsters, I'd steal it. Kench


message 20: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
You're the nicest hipster I know, Kat.


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