First off, I need to admit that at the time of writing this, I’m still 9 days away from the actual release of The Long Chron (buy it now!), and have barely begun the process of attempting to sell the book to the masses, although I have some amazing graphics to work with and all that jazz. I bring this up simply to state that I really have very little to present in the way of specifically how pre-orders end up working at the end of the rainbow for authors who utilize the program.
By the time this article airs, I’ll have some more real info to share. However, I’ve been traditionally pretty terrible at remembering to look through or update articles before they air…so…no promises…in fact, if you’re reading this sentence like this, I’m guessing I forgot to come out here and give new info (I didn’t!).
Aaaaaanyways…preorders. They’re nothing new, obviously. I mean, you’ve been able to buy things before they’re available since the beginning of time, I’m guessing. You know…before money…when you would barter for things by stating you’d provide future services or something like that.
But even more so than that, pre-orders, in their current state have been around for quite some time. I could be wrong, but I think their current iteration is actually relatively new. I mean, I remember pre-ordering one of the Harry Potters for my wife, and I remember considering pre-ordering some video games back in the day…but before the year 2000, the entire concept is not even in my head…not to say that it didn’t exist, I just wasn’t aware of it. Which wouldn’t be that surprising…I didn’t have money back then either.
However, pre-orders are new, if you’re talking about for self-published authors who choose to publish strictly through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Yep, that’s right, about 6 months ago or so, Amazon opened up the ability for authors to set up their books to be pre-ordered.
And the world of people who tell you what you need to do in order to sell more books went crazy. Well..basically, everyone began stating definitively that if you wanted to sell any quantity of books, you needed to put your book up for pre-order.
We all know how those definitive statements work.
All the same, I decided to test it out. I mean, there are some pieces of the theory that do make sense. First of all, Amazon offers a service called Kindle Firsts for Amazon Prime members, in which Prime members get to get their hands on books before they’re available to the public. I would assume that somewhere in the fine print of setting your book up for pre-order, your book ends up in this pile (I’m wrong. Since the writing of this post, I actually did some minor research and quickly found this to be unfounded). This is great simply for one reason…Amazon has reason to want to promote any books they’re offering as a special option for its members. (this isn’t entirely off base, as Amazon still likes preparing people for buying any books they’re offering through Kindle Unlimited or as part of the Kindle Lending Library)
Secondly, your pre-order book sales don’t actually apply to your account until the day your book goes live. This is important because you can actually work on selling books before the big day to attempt to get your sales rank even higher on the day of release…and sales ranks are important (another thing I’ve found to be unfounded. Your sales rank is effected during the pre-order period, meaning these sales are applied to your rank before the book is released, making this a strike against the pre-order process)…or so I’m told.
But even more importantly, at least to folks like me who have the tendency to forget to market…Setting your book up for pre-order means that you actually have some time in between the moment you hit publish and the moment people can actually start reading your books…meaning that all that marketing you do after you hit that button is technically marketing for release…which is, of course, what you’re supposed to do.
But the question you’re asking at this point is still probably more along the lines of “Adam, do YOU think it’s worth it?”
My answer right now (unless I come in here and update it, which I probably won’t) is that I think it is (updated thought: meh…probably not)…First, from a professional standpoint…it makes you look a little more professional than those who suddenly have a new book for sale. You can remind people for weeks beforehand and they can actually put their money down right away for it (even though the money won’t be taken until the moment the book’s available (I think)).
I’m also guessing that Amazon will be more likely to help you in the promoting of your book, considering they’ll have more time to put it into e-mails and whatever before the book is actually released. I can’t speak for certain on that…but I did already get an e-mail stating that one of my favorite authors (me) has a new book out.
However, I’m also guessing that in the end, it’ll all probably come out as a wash.
But…that’ll have to wait for February 28th…You know…two weeks ago (for you)…and then you’ll probably have to wait another couple weeks from today (March 11th…I think) before I’ll actually put something more definitive up here…unless I remember to update this post…which I probably won’t.
All the same…buy my book!
Have fun out there!
Update: I only sold 2 books through the pre-order process, and it really doesn’t seem to have done too much for increasing my exposure. Now, I definitely could have done a much better job of pre-selling the thing, but it’s not a magical selling machine to have your book up for pre-order. Also…Look, i updated it!