I’ve taken the liberty of going off menu to talk about my new release, RUNNING FROM THE PAST, which came out Tuesday.)
I don’t much like crowds.
Not at the mall. Not at concerts. Not at sporting events.
I was never one to run with the crowd, either. Growing up, I usually gravitated toward a small group of friends, and I pretty much did what I wanted—no peer pressure steered me (or so I thought, anyway).
But recently, I’ve come to like the crowd, especially the “crowd” in crowdsourcing.
Because that’s, in part, how my latest book got published.
A little background: I had this book I’d finished. I really liked it, but my agent at the time couldn’t really envision a place where it might “fit.” As an experiment, we put it up on Wattpad (a share-your-work site), which required me to get a cover, so I bought one from a professional cover designer. It got a fair number of reads on Wattpad, but I took it down after a while, and it ended up sitting on my hard drive while I worked on other projects.
Fast forward to last fall, when Amazon announced its new crowdsourcing program, Kindle Scout. Conceptually, it’s a little like American Idol for books. To enter, all you need is a finished manuscript (in one of three genres) and a cover.
So I figured, why not? No downside, really.
I submitted my package, and after being approved, I put an excerpt up on their site for 30 days (along with many other writers). Then readers (dubbed Kindle Scouts) perused the selections and nominated those books they’d like to see get published.
After the campaign was over, books with the most nominations got reviewed by Amazon staff. Using an undisclosed evaluation process, books were then selected for publishing, and I was fortunate enough to get a contract from Amazon’s new imprint, Kindle Press. I’m convinced that my success was due to a tremendous amount of support from my friends—in real life, on Facebook and Twitter, and elsewhere.
So, thanks friends!
The contract seemed fair enough: an advance (modest), 50% royalties on ebooks, potential sales of audio and translation rights (I kept print rights—a trade paperback is forthcoming!). But what really piqued my interest was Amazon’s promise of marketing. Say what you will about Amazon (and I have absolutely only good things to say about them!), they know how to sell books.
So far, everything has been great. I got a very thorough, very professional copyedit. And things have gone smoothly with the rollout.
As for promotional efforts, when Amazon talks, people listen. Their initial press release announcing the publication of the first group of Scout books was picked up by many on-line publications/websites, including: PC Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Digital Book World, Christian Science Monitor, Geekwire, Entrepreneur Magazine, MarketWatch, and Entertainment Weekly.
Of course, whether all this early buzz leads to sales is anybody’s guess. Right now, I suppose it’s more of a curiosity to most people than anything else (Crowd-sourced books? Preposterous!).
I guess only time will tell.
And the reaction of the crowd, of course.