Amazon has launched what it describes as ‘reader powered publishing’ in the form of Kindle Scout, a crowdsourcing initiative to find unpublished authors and, uh, publish them. The hypermegaomnicompany outlines the venture as ‘a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing. ‘
That’s a lot to take in from one and a bit sentences, so let’s break it down further. Authors (currently only those with a valid U.S. bank account and social security number) submit their unpublished books of 50,000 words or more, along with a logline, a title, a cover image, a blurb of at most 500 words, an author bio and photo, and a thank you note. Ha, no, but seriously, a thank you note is one of the things authors have to include according to Amazon’s submission guidelines. That’s because all that information is then used to create a campaign page, the kind you’d find on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, to engage readers, and obviously you’ll want to butter them up as much as possible, because your book’s fate lies in their hands.
Who the readers are, though, can be up to the authors themselves, who are encouraged to engage their existing social media bases in order to gain the necessary ‘nominations’ that will bring their books to the attention of Amazon’s editors. Campaign pages include the first 5,000 words or so of submitted books. Registered users of the site then vote on which books they’d like to see published in full, able to nominate three titles at a time. After a campaign period of 30 days, the books that garner most reader attention will be brought to the attention of Amazon staff, who may then offer a publishing deal with Kindle Press.
As a reward for readers’ participation, all those who nominate a title that goes on to be published will receive an early free copy of the finished book and be encouraged to leave reviews. Don’t look at me like that, I’m just the messenger, this is the world we’ve created for ourselves.