A few weeks ago, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as an ebook on pre-order. Ebook publishing has gotten streamlined to the point where the entire publishing process can take under an hour. Upload your files, click a few spots, and your book is available to the masses! Why would you even want pre-orders when you can skip that entire part of the process?
I recently put my novel Automaton up for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and more (find the entire list and links here), and have set the release date to be May 22, one month after the book made its first appearance online. Why does it matter?
- The Cult of The Future. These days, many people are not only excited about new releases and ideas, but about promised releases of things that haven’t been released yet. Think of movie trailers or Kickstarter campaigns. Think of all the Christmas presents you couldn’t wait to open as a kid even if you knew what they were. There’s a tantalizing aura around things that aren’t available yet, and preorder releases can help you build your own.
- Preorders buy you time. I have one month to get ready–to fine-tune and upload my final draft, to set up my website around it and to start getting the word out. By the time the book actually releases, I’ll be ready for it!
- Visibility boost! Preorders boost visibility on your featured websites. Every copy that sells during the pre-order timeframe counts as selling on opening day. If I sell fifty copies in the next month, that will count as selling fifty copies on opening day. Fifty copies on opening day means that people like what I’m writing and that Amazon and Barnes and Noble and the others will want to pay attention and even do some advertising work for me.
Over the past few days, I’ve seen a huge growth in Automaton’s base that I’ve never had for my other books. I’m getting likes and follows from people I don’t even know. And though it seemed like a silly decision to hold back on my novel at first, I am very glad I did.