The bottom-line is this:
- Readers read excerpts of books and vote for their favorites (up to 3 per month). This voting data is used by Amazon to consider the next crop of books it will publish out of Kindle Scout. If a book you voted for is picked, you get a free copy.
- Authors whose books are selected get a $1500 advance, 50% eBook royalty and a 5 year exclusive Amazon publishing contract (plus marketing promotions, audiobook and international sales,etc.)
According to the Scout FAQ you retain print rights, which you can use to publish the book through a traditional publisher or through CreateSpace. It’s a little unclear if the book would be eligible for Kindle Matchbook (free or discounted eBook copies for purchasers of the physical book) under these circumstances.
Keeping print rights is actually important to me for a couple of reasons:
- The fractal books were too expensive to produce print copies, so I never got something I could hold in my hand after a year and a half of work. This was understandably a little disappointing.
- Print copies allow me to gift my book to friends easily, with signed copies.
- I can take advantage of unconventional local scale marketing by donating books to little library boxes.
- There’s at least the possibility that I could sell the book to local independent book stores.
The pros and cons of going with Scout seem to be these:
- Money up front.
- Amazon featured marketing, beyond the programs you can get through KDP.
- Lower eBook royalty.
- Less control over how the book is priced, marketed.
- Long Amazon exclusivity. Less flexibility to try other channels.
Truthfully, I’m on the fence about this. I like the control that comes from going “full indie”, but I recognize that can make it a lot harder for a book to be discovered. And there’s a certain amount of upfront interest that has to be generated for the book for it even to make Amazon’s cut.
Have any of you tried Scout? What has been your experience?