Nomads, by Justin Knight, and thoughts on Amazon Scout

Christopher Hitchens apparently once opined “Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where it should, I think, in most cases, remain”.

Certainly, in my case, that’s where my novel remains. I’d love to one day get enough writing done to have a book on a shelf. I remember the joy I felt on seeing my degree dissertation complete, and bound together. It was one of the proudest moments of my life – despite the fact that it’s been likely read by less than a dozen people in total. It was just the sense of achievement.

So I’m delighted to see Amazon opening up the process of getting books published. Gone is the “send off the transcript, and pray that it ends up being one of the copies actually read by a publishing rep”. And instead, it’s been replaced by a “We’ll publish it, if we get enough feedback from the masses” – a system Amazon have imaginatively titled ‘Amazon Scout’. It’s certainly not a new program – it was originally started in 2007 as Kindle Direct Publishing. This is a simple system, that doesn’t include the marketing / editing assistance / voting elements, and simply allows authors to publish their work, and share the profits with Amazon. It still exists, and books that don’t get approved for Kindle Scout can still be published via Kindle Direct Publishing. However, if the book is chosen by the Amazon Scout program the author gets $1,500 in advance sales and a 50% royalties deal. If the book does not make $25,000 in the first five years, the author can request the rights back – allowing them to once again fall back on the Kindle Direct Publishing, or another model of their choosing.

The fee system for Kindle Direct Publishing seems to be quite heavily skewed in favour of the publisher, which is a bit of a shame in an age of digital media; while simultaneously maintaining the status quo. They offer a 35% royalties option, and in certain scenarios, a 70% royalties option  Obviously the 70% option includes additional caveats and transfer of rights.

Amazon Scout does provide additional rewards over Kindle Direct Publishing by passing accepted novels on to editors, as was mentioned by one of the first Amazon Scout authors, Victoria Pinder. Another bonus from Scout is that Amazon doesn’t take print rights – so authors are still free to publish their work in print, regardless of how their Amazon Scout application progresses.

I’ve only read the publicly available extract of Nomads, but I certainly enjoyed what I saw – and sincerely wish Justin the very best of luck in passing the Amazon Scout application process.

You can read an extract from the novel on Amazon and if you choose to, vote via Amazon Scout. According to the site, anyone who votes for the book to be included will also be entitled to a free copy, if Amazon choose to accept it onto the program.

I’d certainly be interested in seeing where this all-action beginning takes us, whether it ends up on Amazon Scout, Kindle Direct Publishing, or any other publishing mechanism.

If you’re interested in self-publishing, you can get more information from Kindle Direct Publishing; alternatively you can apply to join Amazon Scout.

Disclaimer: Justin Knight is a friend of the author of this article. He’s also previously written about ShemWorld. 

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