How's Kindle Scout Going?

Well, I don’t really know how Kindle Scout is going, honestly. Kindle Scout does give you some tools to work with in order to figure out which of your marketing strategies are working and which are failing. But they won’t flat up tell you how many nominations you or anyone else has.

For example, they tell me how many people have used external links to view my book, and where it was they were directed from when they clicked on it. It’s neat to see the breakdown: how many came from facebook, how many came from my website (and which page of it), how many came from promotional websites, etc.

This is a screenshot of my traffic stats as of Jan 8 at 4 AM
But external links don’t really seem all that important, because Kindle Scout also shows you what percentage of page views are coming from browsing Kindle Scout and how many are coming from outside sources. Right now, my ratio is about 90% of my views are coming from Kindle Scout, and 10% are from elsewhere. The highest external sources I had was 15% during the first couple days when I went live and was telling all my friends and family about my venture. To put that into a number, on Jan 7, I had a total of ~1.4k views on my book. About 1.3k of my views were from Kindle Scout, and 150 were from external sources.

So that implies to me that maybe things aren’t going so well. I was in a local newspaper and only got 26 views that originated from their website. I bought a little bit of advertising with a promotional site and the first day I only could nail down maybe around 6 views coming from there. And views are just views – it says nothing about how many people actually nominated the story once they viewed the page.

And yet, despite those dismal statistics, my book, as of Jan 7, spent 40 hours of its 120 hours live on the “hot and trending” list. In just its first 5 days. That’s about a 25% hot ratio. On the 6th, it spent 19 hours hot and trending. And I kind of like these numbers. They sound good, at least. It’s just difficult to say how much of that is contributed to Kindle Scout browsers or external links, because I can’t see how many votes I have. Did I mention that?
This is a screenshot of my "hot" stats as of Jan 8 at 4 AM

I get it; it makes it fairer so that everyone has a more fair chance. Even the playing field. To quote Amazon: "We want to make sure each book gets a fair shot and don't want the number of nominations a book receives to influence other readers." But the obvious way that the order of “hot and trending” keeps changing it does seem like there’s some kind of “1st, 2nd, 3rd place” thing going on here behind the scenes. It seems counter intuitive to have a “hot” tag that only 20 books at a time can get while also trying to not tell people which books are doing better than others. What.

It’s a toss-up. But it is interesting to watch; it’s interesting to see all these numbers and try to figure out what they mean.

I’m fascinated by facebook, too. Facebook offered me an advertising coupon when their sneaky algorithms noticed I was getting ready to promote myself and I’ve been using it to just run an ad about voting for my book. There’s break downs of how many people saw the ad, how many people interacted with it, how many clicked on it. These numbers rack up into thousands of views and make you think you’re going somewhere. And then at the end of the week I only have +5 likes on my facebook page and about 60 views on Kindle Scout from facebook.
This is a screenshot of my facebook ad stats on Jan 8

At the end of the day, I can’t really tell where I am with Kindle Scout because everything from it to facebook just seems to be orientated towards making you think something is going on without understanding what really is.

I can only hope that it’s enough to try and stay on top of staying “hot” and that putting a few dollars into advertising is worth it. Right now, after seeing how impossible figuring out if you’re succeeding or not with the statistics, as well as reading this rather informative article about how maybe votes don’t even actually matter, I’m trying not to worry about it so much. I’m trying to just let it fly under its own power.

Sure, I’m still going to be trying to keep promoting myself. I have an interview in a second local newspaper on its way this week I’m hoping might yield better results than the first one did. Today I went around town hanging flyers up everywhere I thought I could. Tomorrow I’m going to go to a meeting of a local “writer’s guild” to spread the word. But I’m also going to try and be smarter about my marketing from here on out. Because at 10%, it seems like my efforts aren’t going to be quite as influential as just letting Scouts decide my fate.

Want to be a statistic? Nominate The Un-life of William Moore here and let’s see how many of you view the page via this post instead of elsewhere on my website. And how many of you did it on mobile vs PC, too. Isn’t that fascinating?

I’ll try and post a part two to this article closer to when my Kindle Scout campaign is ending in order to compare how things went in the long run. Maybe it can help someone else on their Kindle Scout campaign someday.

-Dana Lockhart


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