Spirit of Life Pre-Order Results
Did you know Smashwords offers a pre-order option for authors?
Last night, Amazon announced pre-ordering would be available to all authors. To me, this is big news! You want to know why?
There are a few ebook retailers that have been offering pre-orders. I’ve used Smashwords to distribute my novels and when I stumbled upon the fact that they offer a pre-order option, I jumped on it!
Of course nothing is as simple as saying ‘yes!’ The details are that Smashwords doesn’t offer a pre-order on their site, but your book will have a page there with all the info (that you can then use for promotions) and Smashwords then sends the pre-order option out to Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. They do pre-orders! Sales are processed the day of release.
To make it all happen, you need to have the final cover and the novel ready for upload and formatted to meet Smashwords’ requirements for premium distribution. Smashwords’ suggests allowing at least a two week window between upload and the selected release date – though I did notice it gave an option to release at any point once the upload was live. And if you need to upload a final version (those pesky last minute edits!), to allow at least two weeks for it to go through review and then be distributed. Oh and don’t forget you need to have your blurbs written!
With all that, the upload to Smashwords is exactly the same as normal except you choose a release date. Smashwords handles the rest! You can check out the preorder FAQ here and get more great information via the Smashwords blog here. Reading through those, I think the thing that really caught my attention was not the possibility of weeks of sales adding up to one day, but that my book would be available across a wide range of platforms all on the same day – release day! And I’d be in control of what day that was. To me, that is really cool. No waiting weeks for my work to get pushed to B&N, Kobo, and iTunes. It would be there waiting.
I could bore you with the hectic details of uploads, edits, and re-uploads that REALLY pushed what I thought was a late date for the release down to the very wire. But hey, I’m sure you’ve been there! What you want to know is if it helped.
Having a page at Smaswords complete with a blurb and sample downloads was a great marketing tool in itself. I scheduled the release for three weeks after uploading Spirit of Life, aiming for May 30th. By the end of that first week, heck two days after the upload actually, Spirit of Life was up at Barnes and Noble for pre-orders. A day later, I could find it at iTunes. That was even better for being able to tell people about the upcoming release! However, it never showed up at Kobo until after release date despite the fact it was supposed to go on pre-order there. My life had dropped into an unexpected crazy-land at work, so I never asked Smashwords what was up with that… but the rest of it worked like a charm.
I didn’t make best-seller status. lol! Definitely have myself to blame though. Because of the two reasons hinted at above, I never got my act together to send out my usual advertising on the release weekend sales… or that I was having a release weekend other than the normal tweets, FB, and Google+ posts. *smacks head* I totally screwed up my release… all to give you fantastic data on what a pre-order could add to your repertoire on top of your already awesome marketing skills.
So what did my dismal marketing net me? Only 3 sales via the pre-order. BUT I had 56 other sales on opening weekend while the entire series was on sale or free. Again, no actual marketing sent out just tweets/FB/Google+. And a lot of those sales were not on Smashwords but on B&N, iTunes, and even Kobo when they joined in (finally). That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done the pre-order. My book wouldn’t have even been there.
Plus, I had sales of book 2 (the release was for book 3 in the series) BEFORE the release. I attribute that to being able to tell people about the upcoming release. It generated extra interest in book 2. And, I had 10 sales after the release weekend sales were over. I can only imagine what more some paid advertising could have netted in activity.
Smashwords is small compared to the power of Amazon and KDP. Amazon’s move to allow all authors and not just big publishers to offer pre-orders on books levels the playing field for indie authors and offers a great advantage with marketing and sales. Of course, unless Amazon makes KDP Select a requirement for pre-ordering, don’t forget to use the pre-order platform of other retailers like Smashwords. You’ll be pleased – and get some sales!