The Trouble with Kindle Scout

Okay, maybe this is just me, but I’ve had some… issues, lately, with selecting books to nominate on Kindle Scout.

No, this is not a troubleshooting question; it’s actually a “do I really want to nominate this book” question.

See, the trouble I’ve been having is that I’m treating myself as the customer, the end-user who buys a (presumably) finished product. And the sample, by extension, is the thing that tells me if I want to buy that product. I am not acting as the proofreader, beta reader, or whatever else.
And yet so many of the samples I’ve read have, not only the occasional typos which even professionally edited works still claim, but glaringly obvious errors: punctuation marks and spelling mistakes that completely change the meaning of the sentence, missing words, the works. These samples look very much like an early draft the author would submit to a beta reader, not a manuscript they are getting ready to publish.

Is this just my problem? Is Kindle Scout actually meant for those early drafts, and I, the “customer” am just misinterpreting things? There is a considerable period of time between a nomination being selected and being published, I’ve seen; maybe that time is used for the editing stage.
Maybe, maybe not. I had to actually look up the submission guidelines for more information, and here’s what I found:

We’re looking for a manuscript of about 50,000 words or more in Word format. Make sure the entire book is ready to publish. This means (at the very least!) the manuscript has been professionally copyedited.

Okay, so it looks like Kindle Scout is not for early drafts.

Now, I don’t pretend to write perfectly, but that’s what editing is for. So why is it that I find even one sample, let alone every second or third, that looks like the work wasn’t edited?

If your Kindle Scout sample is a prologue and first chapter that are both telling me what the story is going to be about instead of actually telling me the story, there’s a good chance I’m striking you from my list of nominations no matter how interesting the premise. I don’t mind if you use a prologue, but chapter one should not repeat it.
This is not an essay or research paper; you do not need to tell me what the story will be about whenever you happen to let me read it, tell me the story, and tell me what it was about. And even if you did need to, the body goes between the intro and the conclusion, not after. You certainly don’t need to tell me twice what it will be about before you let me read the story.
Similarly, and I have this same problem with the automatically generated first-x-percent free samples on the main Amazon site, if your free sample includes an introduction of any kind, I will most likely have no idea if I want the book simply because I have no chance to sample the actual story. Be careful with these.

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3 Responses to The Trouble with Kindle Scout

  1. I love your insight. It’s nice to know what actual Kindle Scout scouts think of the program and the books being represented there. As an author, I strive for my readers to have the best experience possible when reading one of my books. Sometimes mistakes get through, but with beta readers, editors, and the like out there a story should never be complicated by mistakes. I do not claim to be perfect (Far from it!) but with each novel I put out there, I strive to make it as best as it can be. If you have a minute, I invite your to check out my kindle scout submission, The Nether.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, we all make mistakes; that’s part of being human. In fact, the existence of Muphry’s Law means I probably made plenty of mistakes that I’ll never see in this very post. 😉 It’s the ones who look like they didn’t try very hard that tend to trip me up.

      Incidentally, Kindle Scout is, from my perspective as a Scout, a very good program once you get past the issue in my post, though that three-nomination limit means sometimes I have to choose one very good sample over another. Staggering my nominations according to the expiration date helps, but nothing’s perfect.
      Also incidentally, Nether is already on the list of things I want to nominate once my older selections give me room for it.

      Liked by 1 person

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