Even though I went to Romantic Times to meet authors in person (especially “MY” authors: Tameri Etherton, Debra Kristi, J.S. Scott, Cali MacKay, MJ Pullen), I also went to Dallas as part of my professional development. Most of my authors are self-publishing (or hybrid, or traditional), so some knowledge of what you guys are facing out there in the business of publishing helps both me and you.
So I have one word for you, and then a whole bunch more after that:
I spent about five hours listening to Mark Coker from Smashwords over several days. One of the things he is most excited about is pre-orders. He listed four benefits to pre-orders:
- Early book buzz: promoting your book days, weeks, or months in advance of publication
- Capture the order at the moment you have the reader’s interest and attention
- Bestseller Magic: At Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo – all accumulated pre-orders credit toward the first day’s sales (but not at Amazon)
- You can “pop” in the bestseller lists based on pre-orders
- Remember: A bestseller …
- is more visible to readers
- is more desirable to readers
- sparks a self-reinforcing flywheel of sales leading to more sales
- Same Day Availability: Advance delivery to retailers … gives retailers time to receive, ingest, and list book
- When retailers release on launch day, superfans can READ and REVIEW first
- New merchandising opportunities
- Preorders listed alongside your other books
- Preorders can be merchandised inside your other books
- Retailers do preorder-specific promotions
- Long preorder runway gives merchandisers more opportunity and flexibility to plan promotions
- “Sneak Peek” promotions (iBooks)
- If the book is accumulating a lot of orders, it gives merch managers confidence to give the book extra front page promotion
Okay, there’s one more word Mark really brought home for me:
I didn’t realize this, but when you upload to Smashwords, you can sell your book in 200 countries. Apple iBooks sells in 50+ countries; Kobo sells in 160+ countries; Amazon sells in about 14 countries.
Out of all of Smashwords/iBooks sales, about 45% are GLOBAL sales.
I know some of my authors have been using the pre-orders (great job with those Facebook & Twitter posts!), but maybe some of you haven’t tried it out yet. If you are interested in more details, check out the Smashwords Preorder page or Mark’s blog post on the subject (although it was published in 2014, I think he’s only gotten more excited about it!).