I FEEL like one of those lost souls wandering tube trains late at night, putting little packs of tissues on the seats with a short note to explain their dire circumstances.
When they return later asking for a donation in exchange for their kind gift, most of us pretend not to notice them, even though the strong smell is pretty hard to ignore.
Your heart tugs at you, telling you that to dip into your pocket and hand over the meagre change that lies there among the shredded tissues would be the humane thing to do and could make a world of difference to this person’s life.
Your head warns you that it’s the start of the slippery slope: TV programmes and newspaper articles have alerted you to being taken in by professional beggars. They dress down deliberately and even sit in a bath of urine before hitting the streets and robbing good, honest, hard-working people of their cash.
So you put your head down and pretend you are reading your Kindle while waiting for the scruffy oik to move on, which seems to take an age.
You hope that after his shift ends he won’t be returning to a rat-infested squat, but to his four-bedroomed country mansion in Epping, therefore fully justifying your ‘snub’.
OK, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but I don’t like begging for anything. This week, however, I have tried every far-fetched scheme in the book to garner support in my bid for a Kindle Scout contract.
I hadn’t attempted this route to publication before. With my first novel Crossing The Whitewash I took it all on myself – the writing, the research, the cover, the formatting, the uploading, the pre-publicity, post-publicity, the placement of the book, the emails alerting book shops to its availability, the launch: the whole kit and caboodle.
I’d heard about Kindle Scout, of course, but it seemed like just another popularity contest and I doubted many people actually succeeded in their task.
Two years on, though, and I took the plunge. Having heard a bit more about it I decided I would enter Spark Out for a Scout deal. If it failed I was no worse off for the experience – If it succeeded? “Woohoo!” in the words of Homer Simpson. That’s a $1,500 advance that will immediately cover my costs of enlisting proof readers, editors, cover designers and all, even leaving me some money for social media adverts.
A week in and I am addicted, but as someone who just wants to write books and get them into the hands of as wide an audience as possible, I’ve started to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the search for support.
It began pretty well, my Facebook chums and Twitter acquaintances all weighing in during the first few days. I jumped straight into the Hot and Trending category and stayed there for four days.
Now, though, I’ve slipped out of it, and I am wondering how the hell I can revive the interest.
I have resorted to doing Periscope readings of parts of the book, the equivalent of the busker in the underground holding out a cap and hoping someone will show their appreciation when all they are interested in is getting from A to B.
Today I have even gone through my Goodreads list of friends, sending some of them personal messages and hoping that even though they don’t know me from Adam they will take pity on a poor writer and click the link to my Kindle Scout page.
Perhaps things will pick up as I get closer to the end. If they don’t, though, I will just have to throw myself on the mercy of those nice people at Kindle Direct Publishing and hope their editors believe Spark Out is worthy of their charity… together with a nice, juicy contract.
- Sound familiar? Let me know your Kindle Scout experiences in the comments