Submitting to Amazon's Kindle Scout Program

It has only been a couple of days and already the Internet is teeming with articles on how to submit your book to Amazon's new Kindle Scout program. What separates this article from the rest is that I will offer you both the pros and the cons of the Kindle Scout story.

Let's start with what the Kindle Scout program entails. Kindle Scout is Amazon's first attempt at using crowdsourcing to create a steady stream of potentially great books for publication on their site by giving the consumer the ability to nominate their favorite books for publishing.

Authors who are adults with a U.S. Bank account and Social Security or tax ID number, may contribute any never-before published work of 50,000 words or more in Word format in the genres of Science Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, and Mystery & Thrillers. The author must grant Amazon exclusive rights to their work for the 45 days of the campaign – that is, 30 days during which the book will be available for the voting process, and 15 days for Amazon to reach their decision.

Although voters will only be seeing the first pages, your entire manuscript must be ready at the time you start your campaign. Authors will need to upload their work to their campaign profile in one sitting however, as Amazon has not yet figured-out how to allow you to save your progress during the 15-minute submission process (though they say they are working on it).

Here is a brief list of what you will need to submit your book to the Kindle Scout program:

  • You must have a title and cover image in PNG or JPEG format, no larger than 5MB, that
    conveys the substance of your story.

  • You should have a catchy one-liner of 45 characters or less that gives readers a teaser about the story.

  • You will need a 500 character or less description that provides a summary of your book – you want to capture your audience here since this is their first exposure to your book.

  • You will be given 500 characters or less for a bio, and you may provide a photo if you wish.

  • You will be able to choose from a list of questions for a short Q & A section.

  • You may want to include a few words of thanks to the readers who will see your book. Provide your social media information and invite them to keep in touch with you through the Internet or email as this note will be sent to your readers by Amazon at the end of your Kindle Scout campaign.

  • You are required to agree to Amazon's Kindle Press Submission & Publishing Agreement when you submit your work. Amazon will contact you within 2 days of your submission to give you a tentative launch date for your campaign. The Agreement allows Amazon to hold your work exclusively for 45 days in order to go through the review process and the 30-day nomination period, as well as some rights once your book is published. The agreement can be read in full HERE

Once your 45 days are up, you will either be offered a publishing contract with Amazon, or you will be free to take your book elsewhere for publication. If you are published you can expect a $1,500 advance, and that Amazon 'may' change their agreement with you (including the percentage of royalties to which you are entitled) at any time.

Here is what will happen if you are given the option to publish with Amazon after going through the Kindle Scout campaign program.

If your book is selected, Amazon will hold the exclusive, worldwide rights to publish your book for a “5-year renewable term in digital and audio formats, in all languages.” If your book is not chosen for publication, you will have all of your rights back at the close of the 45-day period. Any royalties you earn during your 5-year term will be split 50-50 with Amazon.

Now let's look at a few of the things you should consider before submitting your work to the Kindle Scout program.

You will not be given any proofreading, editing, or artistic assistance; which means that the precise way you submit your book is the precise way it will be published. Blemishes, typos, and all.

The word exclusive appears many times in both the Amazon Agreement and the basic language of the offer. If you are a new writer, there is little doubt about the benefits of using any number of Amazon's programs. It would behoove you however, to remember that exclusive means you cannot send your book to anyone else during not just the 45-day examination period for the Scout program, but if you are published by Amazon through the program, they own your book for an additional five years.

Although the voting can definitely be skewed by authors inviting their friends, family, and online networks to vote for their book, keep in mind that the votes are only ONE of the criteria that the Scout Team will use to choose the eventually published works.

Read the fine print, because there is also a lot of talk about 'eligibility' for things like marketing. And if you're not eligible for Amazon's marketing, what good is having your book tied-up there for five years?

And although you receive all of the rights to your work, and are released from the Agreement if you are not chosen for publication, you must request that your work be removed from the Kindle Scout campaign site or it will remain online until you do.

Finally, the terms of Amazon's Agreement are non-negotiable, many, and varied. So again, I cannot stress enough the importance of reading all of it completely (including the fine print), and if you're not comfortable with any aspect of it, honor that feeling and move on. After all, it's not as though Amazon is the last place on the Internet to get your work published... yet.

How to submit to Kindle Scout


  • Patricia Plake
    Patricia Plake Important food for thought. Thanks.
    November 17, 2014 - 1 likes this - Report
  • Patricia Capracotta
    Patricia Capracotta I'm glad you discovered this. I saw your comment on F.J.'s profile and thought I'd share the link with you, but you beat me to it ) I'm seeing that for new authors marketing seems to be a rough area, so I'm going to devote some time and research to...  more
    November 17, 2014 - Report


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