Marketing Your Kindle Scout Campaign: A Review, Part II

In Part I, I discussed the marketing methods that I recommend and ones that I almost recommend.  In this Part II, I have a list of marketing techniques I do not recommend, as well as a final note of what I wish I would have done better and how Kindle Scout appears to work. 

Not Recommended:

Books and the Bear – This is another company that baited me by following me on Twitter.  I was getting desperate to become hot and get views again before I had found the Fiverr marketing.  So I panicked and purchased their $10 one-time promo to their giant Twitter account before I realized this one-or-two times promotion stuff just doesn’t yield results.  Look at where you’re getting promoted!  Look, I beg you!  The Bear has a lot of followers, yes, but they also post umpteen times a day with their own advertisements for marketing and editing so that in no time your paid advertisement gets lost on their page.  Heck, since following them back they’ve been clogging up my feed every day with their own self-promotion to where I had to turn them off.  Again, I didn’t realize this till later.  As soon as I found Fiverr marketers later that day, I regretted this purchase, and when I saw how quickly I got lost on their page, I was very disappointed in the purchase as well.  After this venture, any promoting/marketing company that followed me on Twitter or Instagram I don’t even bother to look at what they’re selling, because I bet it’s not worth it.  I think I did catch the Bear re-tweeting my own tweets a few times, but I do not recommend them, at least not their one time promo.  They do offer bigger and better and more expensive marketing packages, and maybe those work.  But their one-time promo was a waste of money.  I’d much rather have spent that $10 on more promos with Marvel or Aba.

Fiverr, Bookkitty – This was the last Fiverr Kindle Scout-specific person I tried to hire for promotion.  A couple comments said that it was effective, one even claiming it kept them on “hot” for the rest of the campaign.  I, however, am skeptical.  I bought the $10 gig that promotes your book twice in one day on her five Facebook pages.  This is another example where I encourage you to really check out the place where your promotion is going to happen before buying!  I scrolled through several of the facebook pages and saw no engagement whatsoever on any posts – no likes, no comments, no shares.  Not only not on my book, but not on others as well.  I realize that engaging on the post doesn’t mean that someone didn’t click on it, but it still doesn’t seem like a good sign.  I got the Kitty promotion on the day I spoke of above where I got 11 hours hot – those 11 hours were mostly in the early morning when Marvel had three posts scheduled, and I lost the hot status by 10am my time and never saw it come back that day when Kitty was posting.  My views dropped from 100 to 50 that day.  So honestly, I don’t think Kitty contributed very much.  However, she did seem to like my book and said she nominated it herself, so I got a little something out of it anyway.  She also gave me a coupon for another promoting website she recommended (which I did not use due to not being satisfied with her own service so why should I get something she recommended?), which was a nice gesture.  She definitely tried and I don’t blame her.  Maybe if you tried the promote 5 days in a row gig for $25 you’d get better results, but I wasn’t willing to do that after seeing that over the course of my campaign that facebook groups did little for me.

Fiverr, Bookcaliber – There were results, but not what I was looking for, so they are not recommended for Kindle Scout marketing. I don’t know whether to say it was their fault, my fault, or Kindle Scout’s fault.  This person is just a general book marketer from HugeOrange and a five-star almost 500 reviews marketer making them the leader in book marketing on Fiverr from what I saw.  I thought some general book marketing to raise awareness and raise views would be a good way to get back in the game after a few days with only 14 views on average.  They advertised on average 50 shares.  I did the $10 gig and was happy with how much value you got for it.  I got put on three websites and three newsletters as well as several facebook groups and twitter accounts.  But I just didn’t see real results.  I asked ahead of time if they do Kindle Scout books, and they said yes, they do, but Kindle Scout has a hard time sometimes tracking traffic, they claimed.  I asked if it would still raise my views even if I couldn’t track where the views were coming from.  They said yes.  So I did it.  Well, I kept staying on average 14 views for the next several days.  No change.  However, I did notice a big jump in my website views, about tripling, mostly coming from the RSS site Feedly that they had used to promo my ad.  It only lasted about two days, then my website traffic returned to normal.  But those that viewed my website probably didn’t like what they saw, I suppose, or didn’t find their way to Kindle Scout despite my numerous links pointing towards it because I know my website is trackable by Kindle Scout.  So I wouldn’t really recommend these people for Kindle Scout, but maybe they’d work with just ordinary book marketing.  I will make a little bit of a gripe that I asked for them to emphasize the Kindle Scout angle of a chance to get a free ebook for voting, but they didn’t do it on any of the places they posted.  In fact, on the posts on facebook and twitter, the only thing they did was post the book cover and the link.  No tagline, no blurb, no nothing about the book or anything that would make people more likely to click on the post.  And again, these facebook groups and twitter accounts, as far as I could see, had no comments, likes, or shares.  But, somehow I did see increased traffic on my website from the facebook groups, so there’s that?  When I left a mediocre review they contacted me about “we’d rather have refunded you than gotten a bad review” and asked “if there was anything to do to make it right.”  They did what they said they would, warned me it might not work like I wanted, so no, I didn’t want a refund.  I just gave them my frank opinion that I gave them three stars, which is technically “satisfied,” and told them if they wanted to “make it right” to try adding blurbs to future customer’s facebook and twitter posts would be good enough for me.  Help someone else out later.  Honestly, I appreciate the gesture of offering a refund, but when people do that in order to try and get a better review, it also makes me feel like they are trying to buy my silence, which makes me skeptical.  Between that and the way this method doesn’t seem to help with Kindle Scout, they might have been on “try it, maybe” otherwise.

Anything Free – I tried several free methods of marketing and I honestly think they were a waste of time and effort.  I tried a website called awesomegang where you can submit your book for free as well as an author interview for free and they put it on their site.  My free promotion didn’t make it on any page that I could find just navigating – I only found it by searching for my book in their search bar, which kind of defeats the purpose of trying to get someone that doesn’t know about my book to stumble upon it via the website.  I only got a handful of clicks tracked from that site.  Not worth it.  I posted to numerous free facebook groups for promoting your book about every three days or so, and again, all these groups have no engagement – no likes, comments, or shares.  I half wonder if they aren’t just entirely made up of authors that post their own book and ignore everyone else’s.  Try it, if you want, but honestly – I do not recommend it.  Waste of time.  In fact, I can see myself un-liking these groups in the near future. The only good I think any of it might do is being something that will show up in search results if you google it.  I even tried to subtly market on facebook writer’s groups, but I found that even really active writer’s groups that brainstorm with each other all day will flat out ignore any attempts at a fellow writer trying to talk about their book. 

What I Wish I Would Have Done Better:

Something I wish I had done more of was actively searching for authors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and trying to build up a network by doing more follow-for-follows and swapping promos if they were up for it.  I made a point to always follow an author back that followed me, but I didn’t reach out on my own very much, something I’m almost a little ashamed off.  My inner introvert had a hard enough time trying to bother people with promos and ads already, let alone private messages.  And I guess I was a little scared of backlash, too.  Finding an author that would look down on a young adult urban fantasy writer with a vampire book and refuse to associate with me.  But I’ve so far found the author community very supportive of everyone else.  So far.  I also feel like I spent too much time trying to focus on targeting my own community during my campaign, thinking they would be the most supportive group aside from friends and family.  I was very wrong, it seems.  I got more support from fellow authors on the internet than my own community.  I spoke to one of these authors about my problem with trying to get the community to care, and he said that he didn’t just want to only be famous in the town he’s in, but to be famous everywhere.  He said he’s had more luck with the internet caring than people in his own town.  And two more brief things I wish I would have done: tried appealing to Goodreads a little more and maybe offering a giveaway or something there, and starting a newsletter on my website sooner (I only did it like, the last week of my campaign and missed that boost of traffic from Bookcaliber).  I wish I had made all of these realizations earlier in my campaign so I could have changed my tactics for the better. 

A Final Note:

I’d take marketing your Kindle Scout book at all with a grain of salt.  In my own research, I’ve found that everyone only thinks they know how Kindle Scout works.  Which is more important:  hot hours, views, nominations, what?  It’s probably all of it and more.  I read a post where even the “Save for Later” button is thought to contribute to how hot a book is; and I’ve also heard only noms make you hot.  There’s some people that think that being hot is just a way to make a Scout look at the book and the hours spent on hot has nothing to do with it so long as it’s been hot for a little bit.  Top Scouts only seem to vote for books about to end.  I’ve heard that it’s the views that really matter the most because it is reaching more people so therefore must be good.  On the other hand, I’ve heard the nom-to-view ratio is more important, and that lots of views can hurt your chances if you’re not getting a lot of noms.  The most troubling thing I read is that maybe Amazon tracks how long someone is actually on the page to see if a nomination is based on whether it’s a sympathy vote or if the voter actually read and likes your excerpt.  Which would make all that Aba and others do to drive votes basically empty nominations.  Could that kind of marketing and spending money actually hurt your campaign?  That’s a terrifying thought.

But ultimately, I think for Kindle Scout it’s whether you have a good, marketable book or not.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t try and convince them it’s good with some smart marketing to raise your stats!  Tilt the odds in your favor a bit if they’re on the fence.  I had a friend that didn't even get editorial feedback because he didn't get enough nominations, so they are important, but only one piece of the pie. Maybe try some of these above methods, but don’t depend on them or take them too seriously or go broke investing in them.  Everything in moderation.  Eventually I just had to tell myself to stop purchasing because I was already double over my budget on what I said I’d spend on advertising by day 15 (my ultimatum didn’t work very well, I still kept throwing money at it on days when my stats dropped super low).  I’d also say don’t put all your eggs in one basket – you’re more likely to reach more people when you don’t go all-in on one marketing ploy; just try to be smart and hire people that actually help, and try and do as much of it yourself as you can not only to learn but to show your face and enthusiasm to your audience. 

In the end, investing in good editing and a good cover before you even submit to Kindle Scout is probably the best thing you can do for your book.  If you were lazy in this area, you’re probably going to have a hard time convincing them no matter how much money you throw at marketing or how hot your stats are.

I wish you luck,

-Dana Lockhart


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