Episode # 111 – Writing a Breakthrough Novel with Rysa Walker

In Uncategorized by Angela McConnell6 Comments

rysacovernewRysa Walker won Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013, with her YA time travel adventure Timebound. Since then, Rysa has gone on to sell her CHRONOS Files series and a second series to Skyscape, an Amazon imprint, and is currently ranked in the Top 100 Amazon Authors.


Rysa Walker’s Author Website

Amazon Author Page





goodreads “Time Travel” group

Nathan Van Coops (author)


Skyscape (Amazon imprint)

Carrie Anne Noble (author)

Kindle Worlds

Kate Rudd (narrator)

Nick Podehl (narrator)

Kindle First

Brilliance Audio

E.B. Brown (author)

Marcus Sakey (author)

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Show notes:


Rysa Walker is a “reformed history professor and a scifi geek,” and so writing about time travel, she says, was inevitable. In 2012, frustrated with her day job, she vowed to finish a book she had been working on for many years. That book was Timebound.

Encouraged by the enthusiasm of a reader friend, Rysa entered Timebound in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in 2012…but was disqualified due to accidentally leaving her name on some of the manuscript pages. So she tried again, self-publishing the book in December of 2012, and submitting to ABNA again in January of 2013, with the hopes of making it to the quarter finals and winning a free Publishers Weekly review. She ended up winning the contest.

Then Skyscape called, and she ended up selling them a series. :)


Rysa can’t say enough good things about the benefits of publishing with Skyscape. Not only was the company fine with her self-publishing related novellas in the CHRONOS Files universe and producing her own audio versions of those titles, but Skyscape featured Timebound on Kindle First, a Amazon Prime program that allows Prime members to download featured Kindle books for free, and launched her career.

There’s no question the biggest advantage in being an Amazon-published author is their incredible marketing power. AlthoughTimebound was originally slated to launch in October 2014, her editor encouraged her to wait a couple months for Amazon to roll out their Kindle First program. Her editor promised it would be worth the wait…and it was. Rysa saw 50,000 downloads of her book just halfway through the promotional month, and she earned out her advance fairly quickly. It debuted in the top 30 for YA science fiction, and established Rysa as a Top 100 Amazon Author.

Foreign Translations

Skyscape is handling all of her foreign language translations, and Rysa has had the happy experience of seeing her books translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese, and a few other languages.

The Next Big Thing

Rysa’s third book in her CHRONOS Files series Time’s Divide is currently on pre-order and set to release October 20, 2015. She has also sold a second series called The Delphi Project to Skyscape. The first book is due out October 2016.


Rysa on her commercial success and why she’s sticking with Skyscape:  “Marketing matters.”

Action Steps:

Wish you could harness the almighty marketing power that is Amazon to boost your discoverability as an author, but aren’t signed with one of their imprints? You can still get that marketing boost by writing for their other programs.

  • Kindle Scout – Submit your unpublished book and let Kindle readers vote your book up into a Kindle Press contract.
  • Kindle Worlds – Write a story in a bestselling author’s world and enjoy the boost in discoverability that comes from both the established audience for that universe and a little marketing nudge from Amazon.

Not interested in these particular programs? Seek out other writing contests that fit your work.

Simon Asks:

What do you think is the most crucial element to discoverability? Is it a great story, a great cover, great word-of-mouth, marketing…or something else?


Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Angela McConnellEpisode # 111 – Writing a Breakthrough Novel with Rysa Walker
  • mtr amg

    No Kindle first or Kindle worlds in Australia, *sniffs* but no uni debt for me either. (I think I know which I would prefer – paid off at 80??? omg)
    I love Rysa’s confidence – and writing time travel DOES get so tricky. Headache inducing, especially with different worlds and time lines… sounds very intriguing. I will add them to my wish list.

  • A D Davies

    You need a US-based bank account for Kindle Scout too. Also, no co-authors, which is a shame, as I have a co-authored time travel action thriller out in September 🙁 Hopefully they’ll expand Kindle Scout and Kindle Worlds soon – I guess they’re still feeling it out themselves.

    • SimonRSP

      Ah, that’s a shame, hopefully that will be something they go international with soon 🙂

  • A D Davies

    Just googling a bit here, and it looks like non US residents can get a US bank account through HSBC, probably some other banks too. Amazon only states they need a US bank account to pay money into, which I think is true of Kindle Worlds as wells as Kindle Scout. I may have a more thorough look at this and see how big the mountain of forms is to achieve it.

  • I’m working on a book for Kindle Scout, submitting it in October. Fingers crossed I get selected.

    • SimonRSP

      Good luck!!