Well, it’s over. My thirty days of Kindle Scout exposure for Portal Jumpers have come to an end, as of about midnight last night, my time. The big results won’t come out for a little while – Amazon reserves the right to take up to 15 days to make a decision on publishing the books that go through Scout – but the small results have been notable all month.
First, I am not a networker, a promoter, or a campaigner. Shocker, there. I write under a pen name that very few of my friends or family know, and I maintain a separate e-mail account, Facebook account, and bank account for. (I have a DBA that makes my signature as Chloe Garner legal. This pleases sixteen year old me.) I knew, going into my Scout submission that I was going to be missing one of the big planks of a Scout campaign: people I’ve met in person. I also knew that I wasn’t going to be willing to go to a bunch of shouting rooms and post digital posters asking people to nominate my work. I have nothing against people who use those spaces the way they were intended to be used – the people who shop there expect exactly what they’re getting – but it feels impersonal and out of character for me.
-So I found KBoards, where the crew has been nothing but encouraging to every single author who ends up there, and where the experience runs deep. Those are good people.
-I found a thread on Goodreads, which was smaller, but where the people were no less sincere in the interest of supporting and encouraging each other.
-I e-mailed my mailing list and I e-mailed a few beta readers and other ground-level promoters, and I heard back from some of them that they forwarded on that e-mail.
-I posted to a couple of Facebook groups where there was an open invitation to put up that kind of information, and I posted to my wall.
-The night before my campaign ended, I posted to Twitter.
And that was it.
I knew, going in, that I was not going to be a big splash. I didn’t intend to promote through pay-for channels, and I didn’t have a deep network to work from of my own. I spent much of my campaign checking my stats every morning and hoping they wouldn’t read zero, since I exhausted my personal resources early.
This was okay. (It honestly was. I was NaNo-ing this month, which sucked up all the oxygen on where my attention went.) I had no goals coming in, and I told myself any time I started to stress about it that the outcome doesn’t matter. It’s a great opportunity – a great one! – and I’d be psyched to get a selection, but if I don’t get it, I’ve gotten fantastic exposure for Portal Jumpers, which is ready to publish, should it not get a contract. I will move forward and I’ve been really happy with the outcome.
So. Regardless of the up-or-down bit, this is what I consider to have been the outcome.
I got a bunch of people who, one way or the other, are going to get a link to my blog and my mailing list in case they have a persisting interest in my work. People who didn’t know I existed, a month ago.
I made contacts on the KBoards with people whose names I knew before, but who I now know their pedigrees and can go find their opinions online when I need input on decisions like Scout in the future. They were incredibly encouraging and positive, which is a win all by itself.
I discovered that I’ve got great friends on Facebook. I want to give a special thanks to the women who re-posted both the links to my blog about Scout and why I was doing it, as well as the link to my campaign specifically. I suspect that they made up easily half of the traffic I got through the first three quarters of the month, and I know they made up for all of the huge spike of traffic I got at my blog. Which is affirming.
Caralyn, Liz, Tammy: thank you. This has been a fantastic month, and the three of you plus the rest of the NaNo campers have been an amazing source of encouragement and stability and fun. Writing should be fun.
I had an unexpected surge of attention at the very end of the month, hitting the hot-and-trending list for a little while, which is partially because of the way the Scout system is set up (you get three nominations; when those nominations hit the end of their campaign, you get your slot freed back up to nominate someone else, so the most efficient use of nominations is to only do them a day or two out from the end of any given campaign – you get 90 nominations a month instead of 3 if you’re persistent about it). Any other cause behind that I’ll leave as external fate. I don’t really know what caused it, but it’s made for a very positive end to the experience.
So I didn’t campaign this month. What I did do was write a novel, edit most of a novel, and get myself back on track with a Book of Carter novella. I contracted (counting…) 9 covers from the cover designer who did the first four books of Sam and Sam, if you count the paper covers separately from the ebook covers, and I’m moving forward with getting Dragonsword ready to publish in September. I’ll put up the notice for preorders here as soon as I have it, and if you’re on my Chloe Garner mailing list, you’ll get a notification directly to your inbox. Next up is Isobel, set in the Anadidd’na universe, but a very different piece of work. I’ll talk more about her as she gets closer to print. Portal Jumpers should be available on Kindle in August, if Amazon doesn’t pick it up.
So it’s been a really busy month. And a worthwhile one.
Check this space for my mid-month post for the update on whether or not I’m publishging with Amazon. The post will be about craft and industry, rather than my own work, but I’ll make sure to include the Portal Jumpers update regardless.
Happy July, everyone. Hope yours has been as complete as mine has.
What I’m reading: Ha. No oxygen left for that this month.
What I’m watching: Cutthroat Kitchen