East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Amazon Kindle pre-orders and peace of mind

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asteria 1So, now Amazon lets me offer my ebooks for pre-order*.
Basically the idea is, I upload my files like I always did, and then I can set the publishing date as far as 90 days later.
You can buy straight away, but it will be delivered to your reader on the set date.
Nice and smooth.

I did a small experiment, in August, using a novelette I wrote, in a new series of sword & sandal stories for the Italian market – it’s called Asteria alla Corte di Minosse.
I talked about this story when I was writing it, as part of a bet with a friend and colleague.
The response was good, so much so that my ebook made the Amazon top 100 in the Fantasy category on the strength of the pre-orders alone.
Now that was heartening.

On the other hand, a lot of readers expressed some perplexity – what’s the purpose of pre-ordering an ebook?
After all, the good thing about ebooks is, I see something I like, I click and I’ve got it on my reader straight away.
No delivery times, no waiting, no hassle.
Why wait up to 90 days to get the file?

Well, there’s some practical reasons, of course – I can set alower price for the time of the pre-order, thus making a sort of extended promotional sale of my ebook – pre-order it and save money.
Or I can set up some different promotions and marketing plans, to spread the news as far and wide as possible while still the book is just a page, a cover and a price-tag.
Indeed, I can start my marketing campaign before the finished book’s ready – I can upload a temporary file, but I’ll have to deliver the finished product in due time or face dire consequences.

But there’s also a psychological aspect I discovered with the Asteria pre-orders.

InsomniaNow, normally, I upload an ebook on Amazon, set it up for sale, and I start worrying – will they buy it?
Will they like it?
Will somebody come and tell me it’s horrible, poorly written and worse plotted, it sucks, it was a waste of money buying it and of time reading it?
Now this is not something really heavy – more like a general sense of unease when I think about the fact that, yes, my new story’s out there, and there’s nothing I can do about it anymore.
It usually takes 36 to 48 hours for this state of tension to pass.

But with pre-orders?
I uploaded the file and then I was easy – after all, there was still more than a week to go before the readers actually got hold of the book.
No need to worry, right?
And today, when the book finally became available… oh, hell, after all it’s more than a week it’s been on sale, and a lot of people bought it, so why worry?

If just as a way to preserve my peace of mind, the pre-order option’s a true wonder.

So much so, that now I have a new book on pre-order… the new Aculeo & Amunet collection.
But we’ll start talking about it tomorrow, ok?

NO, ok, not just mine, anyone’s … but ok, you got what I meant, right?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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