Posted on 2014-Aug-20
A Preorder for the Rest of Us
Preorders have actually been on Amazon KDP for quite a while; but they were reserved for publishers and big name indie authors with actual human KDP reps. Many indie authors were, justifiably, unhappy with this system because it gave an unfair advantage to the bigger names. However, Amazon announced via a blast email late last week that preorders are now an option for all KDP authors. This will allow indie authors to more adequately compete with traditional publishers, which is great considering the Kindle Unlimited brouhaha put indie authors at a disadvantage.
Planning, Planning, Planning
We work with a lot of different kind of authors and usually we are the last stop on the author’s long trek toward publishing a novel. Because of unexpected delays in the publishing process, we often get urgent requests for formatting to meet a release date. This is no problem for us to handle; but we noticed something in the fine print on Amazon’s preorder page that should give you pause:
Your final version must be uploaded 10 days before the release date you set.
Yikes! 10 days in advance is a substantial amount of time between when the book is ready for publishing and when the book gets published. Most of our clients usually will publish the eBook immediately after they receive it from us (the planned release date often being the same date the formatting is done). If you do set up a preorder product page, please make sure to plan accordingly. I’m not sure what happens if you violate this 10-day rule. Perhaps Jeff Bezos’s wife will give your book a bad review.
The Ups and Downs of Preorder
Preorders can be good because you actually set a predictable schedule for yourself and for your fans. Predictability is one of the bedrock principles for small businesses providing goods and services for their customers (in this case readers). Just think how successful McDonald’s is. With preorders fans will be able to plan their reading schedules accordingly and know exactly when they are going to the next eBook they expect. It should be noted that Smashwords also has a preorders feature.
One downside I have heard about preorders from authors who have used it before is that Amazon’s algorithms don’t create a tsunami effect on the first day of a book launch, since fans have been buying the eBook via preorder over a period of many days in advance. This can potentially prevent your eBook from climbing the ranks in a specific genre. This is something to consider before deciding whether to make your eBook preorder or not.
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