Readers vote authors out of publishing slush pile

Authors look for ways to get their writing noticed. Publishers search slush piles for the next hot author. Author Annamaria Bazzi alerted me to Kindle Scout, a new program from Amazon that could help both author and publisher reach their goals by involving readers before a book is published.

Annamaria is testing Kindle Scout with a campaign this month, and she agreed to share what she’s learned.White-Swans-FINAL-Amzn-1

How did you get involved with Kindle Scout?

Quite unexpectedly, I received an invitation from Kindle Scout to submit while they were still hashing out the program. I really thought about this program since I never seem to have enough funds to market and my poor novel is just sitting there collecting cyberspace dust.

What is a Kindle Scout campaign?

Amazon is a publishing company with hired editors and all, but they do things a bit differently with this particular program. Once they accept a novel, it is launched in this campaign and the author has to gather votes. Novels with the most votes are considered for publication. I’m sure they have other criteria they go by since they don’t show how many votes each novel gathers. With this program, Amazon is hoping to publish books that are popular with their customers. A good plan that will equate to profits for the giant.

What was enticing about this program?

Well, Amazon will market the book, which will give the author the opportunity of exposure and possibly some good sales. I thought it would be a good way to get my name out there.

Every submitted novel has a thirty-day campaign to gather support and votes. My Kindle Scout campaign started on November 17 and will run through December 17.

What are enough votes?

I’m not sure of that. The one thing I do know is that each novel, to make it, needs a lot of votes. As a new author I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t have a fan base to support me. Therefore I’m using any means that are legal to gather supporters to vote for my novel.

White Swans A Regency World is a Young Adult fantasy series with a pinch of romance. This is book 1. In the campaign, readers are able to read the first three chapters of all the novels competing to determine the stories they would like to vote for.

To look at all the books in the campaign, click here. Every reader can vote for three different novels. Therefore, if you see more than one book you’d like to vote for, you can. If the books you vote for are chosen for publication you’ll receive a free copy of the published book.

Sound interesting? Readers, here’s an opportunity to help encourage authors and books you enjoy. When you visit Kindle Scout, be sure to check out Annamaria’s book White Swans A Regency World. Authors, you might look into Kindle Scout as a publishing option.

White Swans A Regency World
Book Blurb:

Kendíka’s second chance at life begins as a nightmare. Will the eerie eyes always looking down from the sky reveal themselves? Kendíka challenges the aliens no one has ever seen to bring about a better life for the humans trapped in the surreal Regency world she wakes up in. While getting to know her alien owner, she discovers the aliens aren’t so perfect and have much to learn about humans. Will Kendíka survive or perish, attempting to make life better for the people living on Regency?
 
About the author:

annamaria Bazzi authorAlthough born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the States, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.

Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solutions, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.
You can visit Annamaria at:
Blog / WebsiteFacebook PageEmailTwitter / Goodreads
Check in on Kendíka’s Facebook page

Tips for being in two places at once

The magic of a modern-day book launch.

file0001820510540I’m not in the habit of defying the time/space continuum, but this month I’ll be giving it my best shot. July is the official launch of my World War One-era novel Go Away Home, and the month is packed.

My first event is a library book talk today. The week of July 8, I return to eastern Iowa where I grew up for three events. At the same time, I’ll be zipping through cyberspace making the first four stops on a virtual book tour. The rest of the month repeats the challenge with more blog stops and more in-person events each week. July’s last event (at least that I know about right now) is July 25.

Maybe the best I can hope for is not to meet myself coming and going. I’ve taken these steps to ensure a smooth launch:

  • Written four versions of a presentation that focuses on Writing History. It’s a challenge to anticipate what audiences will want to hear, but my journey from memoir to fiction with an emphasis on the historical commonality seems a good place to start. With four outlines in hand, I can adapt on the go as the presentation evolves based on audience questions.
  • Wrote a multitude of guest posts. Invitations by author/bloggers Shirley Showalter, Annamaria Bazzi, David Lawlor, P.C. Zick (July 9),and Christoph Fischer (Aug 4) to visit their blogs have helped me prepare for interviews, focus my thinking and get the word out. I’m grateful to them for hosting me.
  • Product in place. My eastern Iowa events are in towns without bookstores. Since I know from my memoir experience that people want a local place to buy the book, I’ve arranged with two pharmacies, the county historical society and a library to stock copies.
  • Media outreach. I’ve returned to my public relations roots to prepare media materials and made them available on my website. I’ve targeted pitches to key media for interviews. I’ve made sure local media in the geography surrounding my events have news releases and images well in advance.
  • E-mail marketing. On the theory that people who know me will be most interested in hearing about Go Away Home, I’ve sent a series of targeted e-mails to everyone on my list. The response has been encouraging and sends me forward on a wave of good feelings.

Modern technology is a wonderful thing. Without the Internet, wi-fi, and cell phones, this would not be possible. Time will tell how my body reacts to being in two places at the same time.

No doubt, I’ll arrive at the end of the July exhausted. During the month, I know I’ll have reconnected with old friends, met many new friends, and had a lot of fun.

I think I’m prepared. I hope so. But are there other things I should be doing? If you think of something, let me know. It’s not too late. After all, if I can be in two places, surely three can’t be that difficult 😉

Even fantasy has to be historically accurate – Guest Post – Annamaria Bazzi

WhiteSwansARegencyEra for blogsI want to thank Carol for hosting the tenth stop on my blog tour for the young adult fantasy short story series White Swans: A Regency Era. It’s great to be here, Carol. It’s been quite a different experience scheduling my own blog tour, and not always as fun as doing the research and writing for my book!

The research I did for the first short story of the White Swans series was both interesting and fun. Historical facts are important no matter what genre an author writes, but especially writing for young adults, since teens are impressionable and tend to believe everything they read. Even the accuracy of the details of clothing, which might seem trivial, is essential.

The Regency Era has intrigued me since I was a child, but even more so after reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. For many of my facts, I turned to the Jane Austen websites, which are full of wonderful historic details.

One of the more challenging items I researched was how to address people. I had been under the impression that I could refer to a duke as ‘My Lord.’ Boy was I wrong! To do so is quite degrading. A duke is addressed as ‘Your Grace’, and he’s introduced as, for example, ‘Charles Emory, the Duke of Deverow.’ Yes, he is one of the leading characters in my book.

What about the funny little hat maids wore that looked like a shower cap? Well, that’s called a mob hat, and no, it has nothing to do with mobsters and gangsters. It was an essential part of a maid’s uniform.

Speaking of servants, I had to understand what a footman does versus a butler. A footman did a variety of indoor and outdoor jobs. Important to me were the indoor jobs. Learning that a footman laid out the table, served the meal and tea, and assisted the butler helped me determine what Wordsworth’s duties had to be in the book.

During this research, I learned that the butler was responsible for household security and most important, the wine cellar. The butler didn’t wear a uniform, but he wore a black cravat instead of a white one so he would not be mistaken for a gentleman.

I also needed to know the difference between a chambermaid, parlor maid, a personal maid, and a lady in waiting. The housekeeper supervised all the maids including the cook, ordered food and supplies, and took care of the household accounts. She pretty much ran the house. I chose not to give my character Lady Kendíka a lady in waiting. Instead, I gave her a companion, whose duties I describe in the second book.

Another very important servant was the personal maid or “abigail.” A personal maid took care of all the lady’s needs. In White Swans, Cordova is Lady Kendíka’s abigail, Cordova dresses and undresses Lady Kendíka, helps with her hair and also mends and takes care of all her dresses.

Finding out about men’s wear was interesting. I always wondered about the cravat, also called a neckcloth. Worn with high-collared shirts, a cravat is a long, narrow strip of linen or silk wrapped around the neck several times and tied in the front.

Behavior and manners are also important. My character Charles has exemplary manners. While his etiquette is excellent, Kendíka, who is new to the world and comes from the 21st century, has much to learn.

It is my firm belief an author should use the facts of history correctly to leave the proper impressions with the reader, especially when dealing with impressionable teens.

White Swans: A Regency Era

Left an orphan, Kendíka cries herself to sleep and startles awake in a Regency castle. Terror consumes her, and she attempts to escape only to discover the new world is her prison. Having no choice, she attends a ball given by her guardian, Lord Deverow, to introduce her into society. He admonishes her to follow the rules and promises to protect her from the wrath of the strange, hazy set of eyes spying on everything. But when she ignores his warning, Kendíka learns firsthand what it means to be disobedient.

Annamaria Bazzi

Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent.

She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.

Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.

You can visit Annamaria at:
Blog
Facebook

email: annamariascorner@yahoo.com
Twitter

Links to Annamaria’s books
White Swans: A Regency Era — Amazon
A Simple Matter of Justice — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords
Revelation of AbaddonAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords