Would you want your novel to be evaluated by ordinary readers (as opposed to publishing professionals) – who would then vote as to whether you should get a book deal?
Amazon’s new program Kindle Scout has the average reader looking for literary talent. Through the new program, budding writers can send in their manuscript to the program to be considered for a contract with Kindle Press. (Currently mystery and thriller, sci-fi and fantasy, and romance books are being considered.) The text has to be previously unpublished, have a cover and title, a description and one-line sum-up. A bio and a photo should be included. Amazon then considers the manuscript for the Kindle Scout program.
If it's accepted and enough readers look at the first several pages of a book and say it deserves a contract, the book will be released by Kindle Press. Authors receive an advance of $1,500, 50 percent of the royalties from e-books, and a marketing campaign from Amazon. Amazon holds on to the rights to the book for five years if the book is chosen to be published.
During the consideration period, Amazon has rights to the book for 45 days, which includes the time in which Amazon looks over the manuscript and then the 30 days in which it’s available for readers.
Authors must be 18 or older with a bank account and a Social Security number or Tax Identification number.
The part of the program in which readers look over possible books is “coming soon,” according to Amazon’s website. Readers can nominate three books at one time. If you nominated a book that ends up published, you receive a free copy early.
Reactions to the new program seem to be mixed. Examiner writer Paula Mooney wrote that “the best part of this Kindle Scout program is the fact that it’s a crowd-controlled publishing process, with those books that readers enjoy and share the most – there’s a mention of potential Goodreads promotion in the Amazon explanations – apparently positioning their writers in a good spot for a possible contract to publish with Kindle Press.”
Mashable writer Jason Abbruzzese titled his article about the program “Amazon Wants To Outsource Book Agents’ Jobs.”
“Identifying talent has long been one of the key roles of major publishing companies,” he wrote. “Crowdsourcing a search for authors and books is an intriguing idea, particularly with the success of some self-published books…. Which is not to say that Kindle Scout is a can't-miss proposition. Self publishing has also come to be seen as adding noise to the book market.” And he wondered whether “readers are willing to sort through any number of low end books for a meager reward [the free early copy of the book].”