So, it’s now possible to put a book up for pre-orders, just like the big publishers do–at least on certain sites. Smashwords has the option and through Smashwords, it can be delivered for pre-order to Barnes and Noble, Apple iBookstore, and Kobo. Amazon doesn’t have the option, at least for KDP authors, yet.
Now, the idea of pre-orders is that you create a little buzz to get people to pre-order. Then all those sales hit on the day of the release and drive the book up in the rankings. Of course, this would work a lot better if Amazon was part of the mix. It’s the mysterious Amazon rankings that make the most difference in sales.
But then you go and try to generate that buzz, like by setting a low pre-order price. You still have to find a way to let readers know about it. Marketing of any kind is always a lot of work–especially if you’re trying to do it on a shoestring. And then . . . and then you find out all the places where you might just be able to list your book to create that buzz–well, they either want the ASIN (the id Amazon applies to all KDP books), which won’t be available until I publish it on Amazon, or, worse yet, they want the book to have some minimum number of reviews. Neither of those is going to work until after publication. But, if I go ahead and publish it on Amazon, without the pre-order buzz, then I won’t get the bump in sales.
Checkmate. Catch 22. I am still trying to find a way to untie this Gordian knot.
In the past, I’ve always buckled and just released early. I’m not going to do that this time. I’m going to keep trying to figure this out.