Selected Scene: Ethan, Tony & Victor in the Park

Even in the dark everyone could see John’s face go red. “I’m not gay,” he blurted. Then he glanced at his uncle, concern spreading across his face. Tony winked at him and mouthed, It’s okay.

Selected Scenes are a recent scene pulled out of my WIP. They are raw and minimally edited. 


“So you like mint chip ice cream?” Tony asked.

Victor smiled as he licked his waffle cone. “Not particularly. I ate it a lot when I was a kid. It just caught my eye. How’s the butter pecan?”

“Oh, so creamy. The guy at the cart said they have a storefront in town, right? If they’re open we’ll have to pick up a few pints to take back to the house.”

Victor tapped his shirt pocket. “Old Cannon Creamery, got their card. I’m thinking a sidebar story.”

Someone in the crowd bumped Tony and he nearly dropped his cone. “Damn. It’s packed here.” Continue reading “Selected Scene: Ethan, Tony & Victor in the Park”

I need your help with my KindleScout campaign! Please :)

PP_cover_02b_smallOkay folks, the campaign for Of Paradise and Purgatory is now live!

I’d appreciate it if you’d click on the link above and nominate my book. This will help in my bid to get a publishing agreement with Kindle Press. If they pick up the book, you’ll get a free early copy.

If they don’t publish it, I’ll self-publish it and if you send me a screen cap of Of Paradise and Purgatory on your nomination page, I’ll send you a free copy when it’s released. StephendelMarWrites(at)gmail(dot)com 

Thanks! 

About KindleScout and why I submitted my book

Screen grab of my campaign preview page.
Screen grab of my campaign preview page.

As many of you know, Amazon has a number of “imprints” that publish books, kind of like traditional publishers. Unlike traditional publishers, they appear to have much more author friendly contracts (as in not trying to screw you with a lubeless spiked condom). Kindle Press is their eBook and Audio Book publishing division. Being Amazon, they developed KindleScout, an interesting program to find books to publish.

Writers submit ready to publish manuscripts and cover art to the program. Amazon reviews the material and if it meets their standards, they create a “campaign page” for the book, which includes the following:

  • Tagline and book blurb
  • Book cover
  • Sample of first pages
  • Author bio and cover
  • Three questions and answers about the book or author
  • Author’s social media/website info
  • Display of Author’s backlist on Amazon.

The purpose of all of this is you have a 30-day campaign where readers get to browse all the books currently in a campaign. They nominate a book and if that book is selected for publication, they get a free early copy. Amazon considers the rank when deciding if they will offer a publishing contract.

Below is the synopsis of the agreement. The bolding is mine. Read the entire agreement here.

Synopsis of Submission & Publishing Agreement

At the time of submission you will be asked to review and accept the Kindle Press Submission & Publishing Agreement. This agreement gives us certain rights to your work and gives you certain rights and obligations. Below is a helpful summary of the major points in the agreement, but it is neither part of the agreement nor intended to replace reading the full agreement. The agreement alone forms the contract between you and us.

You give:

  • An opportunity to consider your book for publication during a 45-day exclusivity period, starting as soon as you submit to Kindle Scout. You also give us the right to display an excerpt of your manuscript, your name and photo, and other materials you submit to us on the Kindle Scout site and distribute your work in order to solicit feedback.
  • If your book is selected for publication by Kindle Press, we’ll have the exclusive worldwide right to publish it in eBook and audio formats, in all languages, for a term beginning on the selection date and auto-renewing every five years. If you do not earn at least $25,000 during any 5-year term, you’ll have six months after the end of that 5-year period in which you can choose to stop publishing with us and request your rights back.

You get:

  • An opportunity to get paid for your writing. We’re looking for never-before-published books of about 50,000 words or more. If we select your book for publication, you will be entitled to a $1,500 advance and royalties on net revenues at a rate of 50% for eBooks, 25% for audio editions and 20% for translations.
  • If your book is selected for publication by Kindle Press and you later want to stop publishing with us, you’ll be able to get your rights back in a variety of circumstances.

My take on it

What will it cost me?

Not a dime. The only cost is time. First, is the 45-day exclusive period where I can’t do anything with the electronic rights for my books. What this means is I have to wait 45-days to self-publish the ebook through KDP or other online outlets. It took me a year to write the damn thing, I can wait a month and a half. But notice this is only for ebook and audio rights. I can go ahead and launch a print version if I want to.

The other cost will be the time and effort to promote my campaign. You need to be honest about this. It is a popularity contest. I get that. I’m okay with that because that’s kind of what selling books is about. My plan is a few Facebook post, a blog post or two and send out a newsletter about it. And what will be will be.

What do I expect?

A bit of exposure. I love the fact that Amazon has really designed the campaign pages to promote not just this new work but me as a writer with a backlist. In my research about Scout, I found this was the number one reason people that have done campaigns recommended doing it. Even if you don’t get offered an agreement, and the odds are you won’t, people are still seeing you and your work. They can click on one of your other books and go buy it. And if they nominated your book and it didn’t get published, they still get a little thank you note from you, so you’ve developed a relationship with these potential readers. When sales are all about discoverability and that is becoming harder and harder, a wait of 45-days seems damn cheep to me.

I’ve read that a number of indie writers have now worked Scout into their publishing workflow. When the book is ready to go, they submit and then wait the 45-days. They see that as a way to build up pre-release buzz. I’ll see how this campaign goes and see if I want to do that.

Oh, and if I am offered an agreement? Well I think the terms are very good. I like they state how I can get my rights back. It is only for 5 years, unlike most publishing contracts that are for life of copyright (that is 70 years after I am dead). And I’ll take $1,500 down and a 50% cut of the sales. I normally get 70% from sales, but then I’ll give up 20% to have Amazon market one of my stories. You know what that would do for my other work? This whole thing is about promotion. At the moment, I’m loving it. Oh and notice they assume you will pull in $25K over five years or you get the rights back. How many other publishers offer that?

 

My campaign for Of Paradise and Purgatory begins this Saturday. I’ll have a post with the link then. I’d appreciate it if you’d go and nominate it.

 

Thanks,
Stephen

 

Thunderstorms, Skimming the Swamp and Steamboat Days: Mid-May Update

5-17-2016_weatherHi Folks,

Hope you’re enjoying late spring. We’re having a wonderful evening thunderstorm in Tampa right now. The wind’s slapping the live oaks around and the yard’s looking pretty swampy, but it will all be well past us before I get the post done.

 So what have I been up to? Well, the beginning of the month I was over in Palm Bay for a bi-annual writing retreat with my friend Cynthia. We got her book The Gems of Raga-Tor published. See the blog post here. I finished the first draft of Of Paradise & Purgatory and sent it out to my alpha readers. It wasn’t all work. We took a day off, ventured out to Camp Holy on the St. John’s River, and had an airboat ride.

Having finished up the draft of my “Arizona Story,” I needed to start a new project. The next book inline is tentatively titled: The Deadly Dare and is the follow up to Return to Cooter Crossing. Sean heads off to summer camp and gets tangled up with that haunted house in The Demise of Bobby & Clyde. The camp is on the island in the middle of Lake Jackson and I needed to do a little more world building around that area of the county.

steamboat days flyerThe beginning of the story takes place around Memorial Day and I began to ponder how the town of Blackwater would celebrate the start of summer? And, I came up with the idea of Steamboat Days. You may have noticed I have a thing for tall sailing ships, but next in line is a good old fashion paddlewheel boat with the over the top scrollwork and gingerbread decorations, a loud steam whistle, and the calliope bellowing out Dixie over the old black water of a southern river. This lead to the idea of a novella called Steamboat Days that’s kind of a collection of what the most popular of my characters are up to this weekend. Max has a central role.

Battles_of_Bennett_Bay_Cover_01But wait, there’s more! Because this was a celebration of a Civil War battle on the lake, I needed to flesh out the history of the area. And then, I had this crazy idea of just not having a collection of notes around but an actual historical monograph on the Civil War battles of Bennett Bay and Big Cypress county. The cool thing about the current age of self-publishing is I can have fun playing with my world building and actually publish it. I’m adding a history timeline here as I go along. 

So that’s what I’m up to. I’m writing a history book, and then a novella about Steamboat Days and then I will finally get to Sean and his adventures at camp. So what do you have planned this summer?

Pax,
Stephen