I posted a short while ago about the problem of pre-orders in connection with the launch (in less than two weeks) of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.
One of the things I’ve done since then is to do some reading. Sometimes, when you don’t see the way forward, the best thing to do is a little research. I read LET’S GET VISIBLE by David Gaughran and changed the way I’m looking at this. I highly recommend this book. I’m starting LET’S GET DIGITAL soon.
The point of having a lot sales all hit at the same time from pre-orders is hitting the popularity lists so that the book gets extra visibility. I don’t know, maybe that’s still important for traditionally published books. Not so much for independently published books, though.
The reality is that pretty much no matter what I do, my book is not likely to hit the popularity lists (those lists that suggest other books to you) on Barnes and Noble or Kobo or Apple. Those lists are still heavily weighted in favor of traditionally published books. The only place where there’s close to a level playing field for indies is Amazon.
And Amazon changed their algorithms a couple of years ago. Once upon a time, that spike in sales would have made a difference on Amazon. But then a lot of people started gaming the system–book bombs to get a lot of people to buy the book all within a narrow time window, for example. It didn’t really have anything to do with the long-term popularity of the book, so Amazon changed the way they calculate the popularity lists. Now, that one-time spike sinks right back down again in the ratings. What gets rewarded now is sustained sales over several days.
That means, I can plan to do several different things over the launch period. (I’ve already got a couple set up.) But I don’t have to–in fact I shouldn’t–put all my eggs into that one launch-day basket. Getting the word out during that first week or so is important. Maybe even the first two weeks. Frankly, that’s a lot less stressful.
I get to pace myself and remember “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”