Author Topic: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?  (Read 1238 times)  

Offline JVRudnick

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Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« on: December 15, 2015, 10:35:15 AM »
Have been releasing my books, one per month yet I continue to see when I drill-down, many "pre-order" books in my SciFi genre that outrank me.

Not worried about that - but I am wondering about the use of the pre-order idea?

Does it have any "extra" bite when you use this to pre-sell your books? How long from when you list it as a pre-order till it's available is the right amount of time? I understand that on the release date, only then are sales numbers available yet it appears to me that the ranking of pre-orders occurs in real-time..

Could anyone here help educate me on this?

 

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Offline benwest

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2015, 11:18:51 AM »
Have been releasing my books, one per month yet I continue to see when I drill-down, many "pre-order" books in my SciFi genre that outrank me.

Not worried about that - but I am wondering about the use of the pre-order idea?

Does it have any "extra" bite when you use this to pre-sell your books? How long from when you list it as a pre-order till it's available is the right amount of time? I understand that on the release date, only then are sales numbers available yet it appears to me that the ranking of pre-orders occurs in real-time..

Could anyone here help educate me on this?

Your pre-order sales count toward your sales ranking while it's in pre-order, but once your book is released, it's treated like a new book with zero sales, and you start all over again. But because it counts during pre-orders, you are pushed up the rankings (assuming you have a successful one and a lot of people pre-order it) and appear on charts months in advance. This leads to added exposure for your book. Basically, it's all about that oft-mentioned increased visibility.

I'm frankly not sure if it would be worth it for you because you release so often and so quickly. My pre-orders, for the most part, run 2-3 months. Because I do get a lot of pre-orders, my books are usually in the Top 10 of its categories for all those time, so it adds a nice boost especially to the first book, but at the cost of sales ranking on release day. It's this one major negative that I'm toying with the idea of not using pre-orders, to see if I can stay in the Top 100 longer.

If you've never done it, and you're sure you can meet the deadline (you have to upload your final file 10 days before the release date), give it a try and see what happens. If you don't make your deadline, Amazon bans you from using pre-orders again for a full year, though.

Offline JVRudnick

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2015, 01:45:35 PM »
great reply Ben.....muchly appreciated!

and it gives me some things to ponder on....

 ;)

 

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Offline eswrite

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2015, 02:24:55 PM »
I've heard the argument for and against pre-orders both ways:

1) It doesn't help you once your book goes live (either pre-orders show as a spike on day one or not at all)

vs.

2) You start ranking before it goes live, and maybe that gets you noticed when it's fully available for purchase and download.

In my own experience I haven't derived any benefit from a pre-order period. I get a few sales, and yes, I get a nice little boost in ranking during the pre-order period, but nothing to really propel me forward. I think that's in big part because I'm pretty much an unknown. The other thing about pre-orders: definitely don't bother with a first in-series book. Why? The only people willing to buy a book sight unseen (without a sample) are those who are hooked by your series, maybe by previous books you've written. And that's my biggest beef with pre-orders: without a preview sample, I wouldn't touch one as a reader, so I don't see the logic of readers doing the same for my books. Again, if they love me in droves that might be different, but for now, they don't, and hence, I'm done with pre-orders. I have better things to do with those 10 days during which the book is tied up.

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Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 02:35:53 PM »
I love preorders. Not only can they keep you on the HNR list for up to four months but you launch with automatic also boughts, which is a big boon. I've launched numerous first-in-series books on preorder and gotten anywhere from 200 to 4,000. The 200 was for the very first book under a pen name. The 4,000 was for the first book in the third series under that pen name. I would use them for everything if I could, but my editing schedule doesn't allow that.

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Offline andreadrew

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2015, 04:02:26 PM »
I'm with Amanda on this one.
Pre-orders have worked really well for me with ever increasing numbers and visibility from books 2 to my current pre-order book 4 - which has 180 as of today's date and releases Jan 6.

The also boughts and increased ranking over the last couple of months has been great, and dovetailed nicely with a book bub permafree on book 1, another benefit being I have used BB to increase my pre orders on upcoming releases.

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Offline Rinelle Grey

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2015, 04:55:31 PM »
Your pre-order sales count toward your sales ranking while it's in pre-order, but once your book is released, it's treated like a new book with zero sales, and you start all over again.

Actually, I'm pretty sure you don't start with 0 sales. Your book starts where it would be had all the preorder sales been sales on the dates they happen. In other words, your ranking just continues on. What you don't get is a big spike of all those sales counting towards your ranking on the one release day.

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Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2015, 04:57:10 PM »
As far as I can see, pre-orders work for those doing releases on a longer time frame. For those of us releasing under 2 months apart, it doesn't seem to work.

I've had a few comments from readers wishing my next book was on pre-order already, but I honestly cant see how I can do it. While trying to come in under 6 weeks apart, I have no firm grasp of a completion date, so its impossible to set a date accurately.

But the kicker is the 10 days before delivery requirement, which means actually pushing the release date back 10 days. This is actually a worse thing for most of my readers, who are wanting each book out as soon as possible.

So until I can figure out how to use it, I cant see a way to do pre-orders, which fits the writing schedule I have.

Offline Rinelle Grey

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2015, 05:04:48 PM »
I use preorders for books less than 2 months apart. (I'm aiming for 6 weeks, though I don't always make it.) What I do is set my preorder for a date I know I can make without fail, and then if the book is ready earlier, I just bring the date forwards. (No penalties for releasing a book earlier.) when bringing the date forwards, you can bring it up to 3-4 days out, not 10. You just have to upload the file straight away. So still a little bit longer than it would be if you upload direct, but not too bad. And given that a couple of my books have been stuck in review for a couple of days, not really that different. And I have a firm release date to start scheduling newsletters etc.

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Offline Lagertha

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2015, 05:32:03 PM »
Pre-orders work differently at the different retailers. At iBooks and Nook, pre-orders accumulate and on the day of release they all count as sales, so if you amass say 100 pre-orders over a month, on the day of release it will be as if you've sold 100 books, which can leapfrog you up into the top 100 charts. They're really worth doing - either direct or through D2D/Smashwords.

Amazon is different - each pre-order is counted as a sale for ranking, although you don't get the money until release day. So there's no spike in the ratings on release. I don't find these as helpful apart from the fact that you can put a link to the next book in the back of your most recent release so the reader doesn't forget you exist come release day!

I don't believe the counter "resets" to zero or anything - after release sales contribute to rankings as usual.

Offline benwest

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2015, 05:56:23 PM »
Actually, I'm pretty sure you don't start with 0 sales. Your book starts where it would be had all the preorder sales been sales on the dates they happen. In other words, your ranking just continues on. What you don't get is a big spike of all those sales counting towards your ranking on the one release day.

Starting off at 0 sales doesn't mean they reset your sales rank at 5 million or whatever. Yes, you continue at the rank you were at when the pre-order ends, but you will plummet like crazy if you don't shift enough copies after that, in order to maintain that ranking. When you're hitting 3-digit sales ranking on pre-orders alone, trust me, it's very noticeable.

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2015, 07:17:04 PM »
Honestly, I just like having the Amazon page up for the book beforehand so I can update my backmatter and link it to my blog and all that.  I'd rather that than the mad update-scramble that would come with releasing without a preorder.  It also means no worrying about when to hit the 'publish' button.  If I tell everyone the book is going to be available on X date, then hit publish the day before, and this happens on a day Amazon is taking extra long to approve... maybe the book isn't available in time.  Having pre-orders up just simplifies the whole thing for me.

Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, 08:35:41 PM »
Excellent information.  I am thinking I would like to do a pre-order for my next book because

1) it's the second book in a series, and
2) I want to have an Amazon page for when I contact reviewers with ARCs.

Primarily, I'm thinking that if I can launch with reviews, and if I can get a few pre-orders from people who buy the first book on a promotion over the previous few months, that will make the book's launch so much more successful (instead of getting crickets).

The only reason I haven't set one up yet is because I'm not sure about the release date.  I want it to be done in March, but even though I've got a good third of it written in rough draft form at least, the first chapter is driving me CRAZY.  So I can't commit yet until I am sure what release date will really work.

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Offline JVRudnick

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2015, 07:34:08 AM »
What Tim said here, and Edward, works for me....

As I write dang quickly and have prebooked my editors slots well into next year, I have a schedule that I
can adhere to of a new book a month....

So nope, not for me. But others here have made a case for those writers who write slower I'd think...

 :)

 

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Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2015, 08:29:10 AM »
Excellent information.  I am thinking I would like to do a pre-order for my next book because

1) it's the second book in a series, and
2) I want to have an Amazon page for when I contact reviewers with ARCs.

Primarily, I'm thinking that if I can launch with reviews, and if I can get a few pre-orders from people who buy the first book on a promotion over the previous few months, that will make the book's launch so much more successful (instead of getting crickets).

The only reason I haven't set one up yet is because I'm not sure about the release date.  I want it to be done in March, but even though I've got a good third of it written in rough draft form at least, the first chapter is driving me CRAZY.  So I can't commit yet until I am sure what release date will really work.

I resist the urge to set up preorders until i have a completed draft that is an accurate representation of the story and the roughly correct length of that story.  It's usually my second draft.

Offline ehill111

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2015, 09:21:46 PM »
I used the pre-order for the third book in a series. It worked well. I was able to get visibility for the book an extra couple of months, since it consistently ranked high in its category. Then once the book was published, it remained high in the hot new releases category for a month. So you could get good visibility for three or four months.

A couple of the ladies mentioned generating "also boughts" using pre-orders. I hadn't thought of that. Thank you for mentioning this.

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Offline Cherise

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Re: Pre-Orders - is this a viable idea?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2015, 11:09:15 PM »
Excellent information.  I am thinking I would like to do a pre-order for my next book because

1) it's the second book in a series, and
2) I want to have an Amazon page for when I contact reviewers with ARCs.

Primarily, I'm thinking that if I can launch with reviews, and if I can get a few pre-orders from people who buy the first book on a promotion over the previous few months, that will make the book's launch so much more successful (instead of getting crickets).

The only reason I haven't set one up yet is because I'm not sure about the release date.  I want it to be done in March, but even though I've got a good third of it written in rough draft form at least, the first chapter is driving me CRAZY.  So I can't commit yet until I am sure what release date will really work.





Be aware that reviews cannot be posted while the book is in pre-order, only after it is released.

Trade publishers get a pass on this rule, but prawny indies are confined to it.