Today I'm handing the mic to Stacey Cohran, author and chair of Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh.
If you guys are anything like me, you get asked quite a bit: “How do you publish a book?” This question is usually posed by a wide-eyed and eager writer at a bookstore or library event or at a conference, and you’re standing there thinking to yourself, How do I respond to this in a meaningful way, perhaps even an inspiring way, yet also let this person know the odds are about as great as getting hit by lightning twice on a cloudless day and winning the lottery?
The standard response we all give is: You need to get a literary agent.
Where do you get a literary agent? the would-be writer asks.
You spend ten years sending out query letter after query letter, novel after novel, attend dozens if not hundreds of writers’ conferences, perhaps even chairing one of these said conferences yourself after you’ve been at it for fifteen years or more, and eventually someone at a hotel bar will say to his/her agent, You know you really should read this guy’s material.
No one wants to hear that.
Yet, it’s the path so many of us have taken to find our agents and then we pray to God the agent can sell a novel to a publisher, and then we pray to God the book finds a way to navigate the sea of other novels and eventually finds an audience.
So, leave it to the good folks at Amazon to try and reinvent the wheel. Once again.
What the hell is Kindle Scout? you ask.
It’s a brand new program whose sole purpose is for writers to upload unpublished novels, create a 30-day Kindle Scout page for their book, and then spend 30 days getting as many reader nominations for as possible.
At the end of the 30 days, the books with the most nominations will be offered a publishing contract. The contract offers a modest advance ($1,500) and standard Amazon imprint royalty rate (50% on ebooks) for a five-year period.
While it’s not the biggest advance in town, it certainly is the most democratic approach I’ve ever seen to deciding what to publish. Readers have a direct voice in nominating the books they want to see published. And, at least for now, the field of competition is small.
In another year? There will be thousands of books in this program, and the competition will be steep.
So the purpose for my visiting here today is simple: I need your nominations.
If you live in the US and have an Amazon account, you can follow the link and nominate the book in about three seconds.
I’d be grateful if you did.
I’ll stick around throughout the day to answer questions you have about the novel, about Kindle Scout, about book marketing, Bouchercon, or anything else you would like to chat about. Thanks, guys.