February 24, 2014
Smashwords Levels The Playing Field With Pre-orders
Smashwords continues to offer authors more tools to help them compete with the big publishers. Pre-orders have long been inaccessible to indies. We’ve been forced to sit on the sidelines and watch with envy while traditional publishers touted their up-and-coming releases. If you’ve ever wondered how to sell more books, that option is now available through Smashwords and it’s easy to take advantage of.
Most of you are probably thinking—I have no time for pre-orders. By the time my book is ready, I want it up. I understand that, but this is a case where you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Think About This
What happens when you launch a new book? Are you organized? Do all of your followers rush out to buy it, or just a few? If you’re like me, and about a million other indies, it’s just a few, followed by a trickle of sales over the course of the next couple of weeks. In order to obtain a boost in sales ranking, some authors beg readers to buy their books on a certain day, even down to a specific time, hoping to get that boost. I am loath to do such things. My readers are special. I’m thrilled if they buy my books, and I’m certainly not going to ask them to buy at a certain time or from a certain retailer. So while I would enjoy a boost up the charts, I’m not about to resort to these tactics.
This is why I like the pre-order option. It does everything I’m looking for, and more. But the thing I like most about this option is it makes purchasing a new book easy for the reader. That’s what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned.
But I Still Want To Launch My Book Now
Okay, I understand. But how many of you are truly prepared for a launch?
- Is everything ready on launch day?
- Do you have your email campaign ready?
- Have bloggers lined up, ready to post interviews of your book?
- Did you arrange for guest posts and/or interviews with some of the big blogger sites?
- Are your tweets written, and scheduled? And do you have the key influencers on Twitter signed on to help push your book?
- Facebook posts prepared?
- How about Google+ and/or Pinterest?
- Ads placed and coordinated?
If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding no. I’m lucky if I get the book listed at all the retail channels on the same day.
This, to me, might be the biggest benefit of pre-orders. Being able to put my book on pre-order will allow me time to prepare properly.
Pre-orders will let you…
- Announce to the subscribers on your newsletter that the book is coming soon, and they can order it at their convenience.
- Build interest through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
- Arrange for early readers to post their reviews once the book goes live.
- Line up bloggers willing to review your book, or do an interview with you, or a guest post.
- Allow you time to run giveaways or contests, all with links to the pre-order page, of course.
- Allow pre-order customers to purchase the book at a reduced price as an incentive.
Here is the Slideshare from Smashwords’s site.
The following is from the article Mark Coker posted:
The presentation provides an introduction to ebook preorders, and then reveals specific recommendations for preorder timing and preorder marketing. Most of these ideas were inspired by my observations of what worked and what didn’t work for your fellow Smashwords authors.
There are several points Mark Coker makes about the advantages of using pre-orders that are irrefutable. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Advance listing at major retailers.
- Allows readers to reserve a copy in advance, and credit card isn’t charged until release date.
- Capture readers’ interest on the spot.
- Pre-orders record all at once on Apple and Kobo, allowing for the chance of a boost in rankings.
Even if no one buys your book while it’s offered for pre-order, you still had an extra two weeks of exposure that you wouldn’t have had without it. In the book business, exposure is what it’s all about. When I evaluate a tool or a service, the first thing I ask myself is,
Can this help me?
Assuming it can, then I ask,
Are there any drawbacks? In other words, can it hurt me?
In this case the answer is no it can’t hurt me. So I’m planning on setting up my next book for a pre-order. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as I recently finished No Mistakes Interviews, the second book in my career series.
I’m sure Smashwords has a lot of examples on their site of how to do this, and what steps you can take to make it easier. I know several indies have already been successful using the pre-order strategy.
This is the thing I like most about Smashwords. Mark Coker is continually improving, and even more so, everything he does is in the best interest of the author. Remember, out of all the distributors out there vying for your service, to my knowledge, Smashwords is the only one that relies 100% on you, the indie author, for their success. In other words, if you aren’t successful, Smashwords isn’t successful. If you don’t make money, they don’t make money.
That gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in my gut.