Greetings, mystery lovers. My name is Kimberly Giarratano and I’m your newest Mysterista. I’m the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a YA paranormal mystery set in 1996, and the sequel/prequel (depending on how you look at it) The Lady in Blue. I love a good ghost story and I’m a fan of reading about unsolved mysteries, particularly if they’re set in the past.

My latest YA mystery, Dead and Breakfast, just ended its Kindle Scout campaign.

Dead and Breakfast

I had been working on this manuscript for awhile, mainly because I have three little kids and it takes me an eternity to finish anything (I still have a load of laundry in the washer from yesterday). I had plans to self-publish it last month, but then a friend of mine had her book selected by Kindle Press, Amazon’s crowd-sourcing publishing arm, and I decided to submit my novel as well. I thought, “What the hell?” I’m only delaying publishing a month or two and, if selected, I get a $1500 advance. Currently, I make no money, so this would be huge.

So, how does Kindle Scout work? Authors submit their finished, and edited, manuscripts to Kindle Scout for 30 days. They use their social media know-how to get nominations and views, earning them coveted spots on Hot and Trending, in hopes this will get them on Amazon’s radar.

My hours on Hot and Trending
My hours on Hot and Trending

The orange bars represent hours I was hot and trending during my 30 days. You can see there were two weeks where I was neither hot nor trending. Story of my life.

If their book is selected, authors get a $1500 advance and 50% royalty split, and readers who nominated the book get it for free. There’s a bunch of other small print terms to read as well. Not gonna lie — it’s a long 30 days, and the anticipation, especially when your campaign ends, is high. My novel is ‘in review’ and I’m not likely to hear anything until next week. Eek!

There’s no way to know what Amazon editors are thinking when they read your manuscript. I assume everything — writing, cover art, editing, story, genre, premise, campaign stats — is taken into account. And I write YA — few YA titles are chosen. I could write a dozen blog posts on how YA is a tough indie nut to crack, but I’ll save that for a new day.

There’s a big thread on KBoards about Kindle Scout. Authors are gracious enough to share their stats and it’s a very supportive environment. If you’re an author and you’re curious, check out the thread. If you’re a reader, I suggest browsing Kindle Scout. There’s a mystery/thriller category and if you nominate a winning title, you get that book for free. It’s a nice reward for spotting a good read.

In the meantime, I’ll be at home, constantly refreshing my email, waiting for news from Kindle Scout. If I’m not selected, I will publish Dead and Breakfast as I had originally planned. Look for it on Amazon.

UPDATE as of January 23rd: Dead and Breakfast was selected and will be published by Kindle Press!!

Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.


  1. You really don’t have anything to lose. Only an excerpt goes up — not the whole novel, and you really shouldn’t submit anything that hasn’t been copy-edited first. I think it’s a great option for those just starting out.


  2. Just read this. I understand how it works now. It will be nerve racking but also exciting. Just keep getting your name out there; the new york times best seller list is sure to come. Not today or tomorrow but the talent is there. Good luck.


  3. This is so exciting! Best of luck with Kindle Scout, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing how it works and be sure to keep us posted! 🙂


  4. It’s fascinating to hear how it works. I agree with Becky that you need to add “hot and trending” to your blurbs. You have a chart to prove it! Best wishes–hope you get good news soon. So glad you’ve joined us here. 🙂


  5. My second book was published before Kindle Scout, but it went Hot and Trending. I remember being excited even though I had no clue what it meant. Now if only I could remember how it got there!

    Best wishes for a huge success and the email you’re waiting for!


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