This time last week I was getting v excited about going to the RNA conference in Mile End Road. A week has gone by and I still have good and bad memories. (The bad ones will appear on my food blog). The first talk I went to was a Skype webinar with Jim Azevedo of Smashwords, where he talked about pre-orders, what they are and what they can do for authors.
Here is what I learnt:
Preorders are only for Apple, Kobo and B&N. They are advanced book orders. Readers can order the book before release but they won't be charged until the launch day.
1. Preorders area fast track to desirability, discoverability and visibility. You need to start promoting your ebook months in advance. You are already talking about your next book. Capture the sale, don't lose it. Have a preorder link.
2. Better buzz building. You get anticipation, excitement and fans and superfans, which can lead to
3. Better reviews. Fans are more likely to preorder. Be the first to read your book and to review them.
4. Fast track to a bestseller list. A bestseller is more visibility to readers. Sales lead to more sales.
5. Same day availability as launch day.
6. Increased merchandising option. Eg Apple iBooks Oz have a special called 'Coming soon'.
Planning - Budget for a long runway into publishing timetable. More days = more time to get orders. 4-12 weeks is recommended.
Timing - Avoid Tuesdays on SW (even though I published my latest on a Tues and got a sale). The weekend is the biggest selling days. Holidays and after Xmas Day are good.
1. Contests, chapter reveals, blog tours. Promote direct links to preorder pages.
2. Mobilize your fans as a street team. Spread the word
3. Author special pricing. You can have preorder price cheaper, then increase it on launch day.
4. Leverage other books to market preorder. Update back pages of all other books. Free sample of book. Series starter as free.
But what if your book isn't finished yet? There is now Assetless Preorders. You only need to know the title, the price, the description, release date and category. (Might do this myself for either 'Fire Angels' or Billy, or both). When you upload onto SW, and click 'publish' you can choose the option 'make it a preorder.'
Review publishing schedule in 12 months. Get all firm projects as preorders. Choose your on-sale date as far ahead as possible. Once preorder is listed, promote!
For normal preorders you have to have the book ready 10 days in advance so each retailer gets your book on the same day.
I asked if we could change metadata eg title of book from the preorder one to the launch day one. Yes, you can change any of the metadata.
Now thinking seriously about having one or two of my forthcoming ebooks as Assetless Preorders.