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My Kindle Scout Experience by Monte Dutton

mug Dutton Monte 2_WEB How did I stumble across Amazon’s KindleScout program? Well, the verb is accurate.

“Stumble.”

I could write that I “lucked out,” but I hate using a noun as a verb. People who do so I call “verbers.” Wild, maniacal verbers, intent on world domination. “Stumble” could be a noun turned verb, too. Or it could be a verb turned noun. It’s hard to say.

Crazy1My first two novels, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles, were published by a small house. I felt as if I needed to move on but didn’t know where. I brooded about it while writing a novel called Crazy of Natural Causes, begun as a farce but growing ever less farcical as I edited, polished and revisited its plot. I continued to brood for a while after I deemed it ready. I love writing. I don’t like selling. I want someone else to do that.

If only it were a perfect world.

I found the KindleScout program in a Google search, or some other search. I gave it a shot because it offered a small stipend up front for those selected. Another belief of mine is that if a publisher has no investment in me, it has no incentive to sell my work. I posted a sample of Crazy. I asked friends and known readers of my work to nominate it for publication. It won. Yip-yip-yippee.

Crazy was an ebook. I didn’t have to do book signings because Kindles have little room for inscriptions. I’d done lots of signings with the first two books. I read from my work. I played songs on guitar. I didn’t make much money on them. Bookstore owners are as desperate as writers. For every book I sold, they made twice as much money as I did. I don’t mind them getting their fair share, but, on principle, why, I wrote the damn book.

Crazy of Natural Causes was released at the end of July 2015. A print edition is now available but was published only recently. I enjoy book signings. Maybe I’ll do some more. I’m thinking about it.

That went all right, so I entered my next novel again in the KindleScout selection process. An outrageous crime novel, full of politics, corruption, sex in several forms, drugs, murder, lawless kids and thuggish cops, called Forgive Us Our Trespasses won, too. It was released on March 29, eight months and eight days after Crazy of Natural Causes, and I took this as a good omen because eight is my lucky nuForgiveUsOurTrespasses [444427]mber. Having gotten the hang of CreateSpace by self-publishing a collection of short stories called Longer Songs, the print edition of Trespasses hit the Amazon shelves that weren’t electronic on April 29.

Now, grudgingly and against the fiber of my being, I’m trying to learn how to sell all this fiction better. That, in fact, is the focus of the upcoming weekend, that and lawn care, laundry, and sports on TV.

The usual.

Amazon gives me exposure that isn’t enough to make me world-famous, but it has given me a boost. As much as I’d like to do nothing but finish off my next one — the first draft has been sitting in this laptop, 95 percent complete, since CreateSpace and income taxes interceded on the literary life – it’s not quite time.

The literary life is getting better, though. Life is not a bowl of cherries. It’s more a box of chocolates.