The Kindle Scout Experience (Special Interview with Author Courtney Hunt)
The Kindle Scout Experience
A Special Interview with author Courtney Hunt
January 25, 2015
Introduction by AnnaToday I welcome back Courtney Hunt, who appeared on this blog back on September 14. This time, she’s sharing her experience with the Kindle Scout program, Amazon’s crowdsourced publishing platform. What is Kindle Scout? Here’s how Amazon describes it:
Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.
The author submits a book cover and manuscript, then if Amazon approves it, the book goes into the program. At that point, readers may read a description and excerpt, then nominate (vote for) books they like. After 30 days, Amazon makes the final decision on whether to publish the book via their Kindle Press imprint.
Shortly before the book is published, everyone who nominated it receives a free copy.
Please tell us a little about yourself, the romance subgenre(s) in which you write, and your newest book.
I write contemporary romance with smart, strong heroines and the sexy heroes who steal their hearts. My latest release is Java Frost, the first in my new Cupid’s Coffeeshop series. The series centers around Patrick, Joe, and Zooey Lockhart who inherit their grandmother’s coffeeshop and have one year to make it work or they lose their inheritance. Each month in 2016, one lucky couple will find their happily ever after in Cupid’s Coffeeshop, filled to the brim with warmth, humor, and a dash of the unexpected. Cupid’s Coffeeshop brews love, laughter and happily-ever-after.
How did you find out about the Kindle Scout program?
In late August 2015, Amazon sent an email blast to new authors advertising the program. As I drove home from our annual beach vacation, I considered putting The Lost Art of Second Chances in the program. Ultimately, I decided that I had nothing to lose. If I was unsuccessful, I’d simply publish it myself. By the time we arrived home, I’d decided to do it and applied right away.
How do you feel about readers having such a big say in what gets published?
Nominations help get the title noticed and to stay in the coveted “Hot and Trending” category on the front page of the site. Ultimately, the Kindle Press editors make the final call on a manuscript’s selection. Readers became very invested in their nominations and thrilled to be part of the process. I gained a significant portion of my mailing list and Amazon followers from people who nominated me.
Has being published by Kindle Press affected the sale of your other books?
During the campaign and until The Lost Art of Second Chances was published in November, I only had one other fiction title for sale on Amazon (Forever a Bridesmaid). I saw a huge jump in sales for Once a Bridesmaid (published December 1, 2015) and pre-orders for Java Frost.
Would you recommend Kindle Scout to readers or other writers?
Yes, absolutely. I’d highly recommend having social media accounts in place, such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook pages, a website and blog as promotion during the campaign is a very important part-time job. Additionally, I would highly recommend investing in a professional cover and editing before submission. When I submitted to Kindle Scout, I could have just as easily self-published through KDP. Kim Killion of the Killion Group designed my fantastic cover. Bev Katz Rosenbaum did the story/developmental edit and Alastair Stephens of StoryWonk was my copy-editor.
An attorney by day, Courtney Hunt lives outside Washington, DC. Courtney met her own Prince Charming (aka the Pilot) in a training class in 2000 and married him two years later. They have one son, Fox, who keeps life fun and full of surprises
From the day Courtney snuck her first romance novel (Partners by Nora Roberts) out of her mother’s library bag, she’s enjoyed reading about all the many paths to happily-ever-after. Though she’s always been a scribbler, a recent life change to be a write-at-home mom allowed her to pursue a writing career full-time.
When Courtney isn’t writing, she enjoys photography, sailing, and reading. She can never resist a craft store. After an early stint as a Disney cast member, she is a life long Disney addict. She’s also an avid fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Sherlock, Harry Potter, Buffy…the list goes on.
Join us in the quaint and charming town of Ashford Falls, nestled in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the heartwarming Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, featuring an entire year of couples finding their happily-ever-afters, filled to the brim with warmth, humor, and a dash of the unexpected.
Patrick, Joe, and Zooey Lockhart inherit their grandmother’s coffeeshop–with the caveat that they have one year to make it profitable. If they don’t, they lose everything–including each other.
In this month’s installment of the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, Java Frost …
A fairy tale ending wasn’t in her future…
Preschool teacher Amy Lane’s Prince Charming must have gotten lost along the way to quaint Ashford Falls. Maybe she’ll need to get out into the world to find him. But to find love and adventure on her travels, she needs a part-time job quick.
Life threw him for a loop…
Ben Brooks knows more about curing cancer than he does about raising kids. He spends all his time in his lab, searching for a cure, and avoiding contact with people. Growing up as a child prodigy, he’s never been good with relationships, but now he’s suddenly responsible for his young daughter, Livvy. At a loss for how to relate to the solemn, quiet child he knows he needs help and he needs it fast.
Until fate intervenes…
When Livvy and Ben meet Miss Amy in Cupid’s Coffeeshop, she easily gets Livvy to giggle. Hoping to learn her technique, Ben hires Amy to teach him to have fun with his daughter. But when he falls hard for the lively woman who brightens the gray January days, will lessons in fun turn into playing for keeps?
Step into Cupid’s Coffeeshop, where happily-ever-afters are served daily.
“But anyone can be silly.”
“Not me. I never learned.” Ben shook his head, flopping his dark, silky hair over his forehead and glasses. He brushed it aside before sipping his latte. “Her mother is off on a research grant so I’m here to take care of Olivia for the duration. Olivia’s lived with her mother up until now and we’ve only had these very serious visits every other weekend. When she was a baby, it was all rote—change her diaper, feed her, and all that. But now, I’m at a bit of a loss.”
“Just play with her.” Amy suggested. They both watched Olivia, playing with the beat-up tea set in Cupid’s Coffeeshop’s sparse children’s section. As she played, she sang a little song about ladybugs under her breath. Amy recognized the tune from school.
“I never learned that either.”
“You never learned what?”
“To play.” Ben tapped his fingers against his empty paper cup, squinting at Amy speculatively. She smoothed her hand over her hair again. “Perhaps…”
“Perhaps you could teach me.”
“Teach you to play?”
“You’re a preschool teacher. Presumably you’re an expert in playing.”
“Yes, I suppose.” Amy said. “But, I’ve never taught anyone to play before. The kids pretty much arrive with that knowledge.”
“Surely you teach them games and songs and things. I’ve heard Olivia sing several.”
“Well, yes, of course we do that. But playing… it’s just sort of instinctual, isn’t it?”
“I’m afraid not. I assure you though, I’m a fast learner. It shouldn’t take more than a month or so of lessons.”
“A month? Lessons?”
“I’ll pay you. Gladly.” He leaned forward, his gaze intense on her face, reminding Amy of a bird of prey. Even this close, she still couldn’t see the color of his eyes behind the glare of his glasses. He named a sum and Amy caught her breath.
“Wow.” Zooey said, carrying a coffee carafe over to refill Ben’s cup. “That’ll get you to London and back, Amy. Maybe a bit extra for souvenirs too. Bring me something from Harrods.”
“You want to go to London?” Ben cocked his head, again reminding her of a hawk.
“I do.” Amy nodded, running her hands over her thick corduroy pants. “To celebrate my birthday. Well, my birthday is today, actually, but I thought I’d go celebrate over summer break.”
“Many happy returns.” Ben said dryly. “Well, then, maybe we can come to a mutually advantageous arrangement. You need money to jaunt off to London and I need to learn to play with my daughter.”
Amy chewed her lip and looked up at Zooey, who just raised her eyebrows in return. “You’re great at playing, Amy. You should do it. You’ll have fun with Mr.—”
“Doctor, actually. Doctor Brooks.” Ben interrupted. “Please call me Ben though.”
Amy chuckled to herself. Hadn’t she wanted adventure? The chance to break out of her routine? Her mother always warned her to be careful what she wished for. And she was unlikely to find part-time employment elsewhere in Ashford Falls. “All right then, Ben. Playing lessons it is.”