Author Topic: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?  (Read 208 times)

TimothyEllis

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Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« on: July 12, 2019, 10:55:05 PM »
I just received a followers email for a book on pre-order, and not due for release for 3 weeks.

Makes me wonder if Amazon are trying to encourage pre-orders, and the followers emails are not set for after release, but a certain time after the book is first submitted. So a pre-order is now the only timely way of getting a follower email out.

Anyone else seen this? Or heard of a policy shift?
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

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VanessaC

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 11:18:23 PM »
I'm still very small fry, but the book I've just released was set up with a pre-order of 23 August and about 2 weeks ago my parents received a followers' email about it, so that was quite a way away from the scheduled release date.

Perhaps Amazon is experimenting?

I admit I pay next to no attention to the emails that Amazon send me personally as my inbox is usually swamped.
     

Genre: Fantasy
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 12:23:21 AM »
I'm still very small fry, but the book I've just released was set up with a pre-order of 23 August and about 2 weeks ago my parents received a followers' email about it, so that was quite a way away from the scheduled release date.

Perhaps Amazon is experimenting?

When did you set up the pre-order? How many days after that was the email sent?
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

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PaulineMRoss

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 01:31:57 AM »
Follower emails for pre-orders have been a thing for ages - years, I think. They're every bit as erratic as new-release emails, though. Sometimes you also get a new-release email and sometimes you don't. For a while, Amazon experimented with 'out today' emails, a follower email that actually went out on the day of release. That was especially fun the time they sent out my first draft file instead of the finished one. Sigh. But they seem to have stopped doing release-day emails.

What *has* changed in the last couple of weeks is that pre-order books are no longer allowed onto a series page. This is an utter pain for those of us releasing a first-in-series with the second on pre-order - no series link. Once the pre-order goes live it can be linked but not before. Apparently they are also removing already linked pre-order books (so I've been told; no experience of that myself).

Writing epic fantasy as Pauline M Ross; writing Regency romance as Mary Kingswood
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David VanDyke

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 03:17:40 AM »
What Pauline says.
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angelapepper

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 03:20:56 AM »
On a 90-day preorder, Amazon sends at least 2 emails to my followers promoting it, and they usually send the post-release one as well.

FWIW My schedule on my main pen name is down to only about 3.5 releases annually. My feeling is that this is exactly the number Amazon wants us to release. I used to think they wanted us releasing every 90 days, but I think they like promoting the new release for a good month before they switch over to promoting the preorder.

I've also noticed that having the preorder up the minute the preceding book releases doesn't result in a big whoosh of preorders on release day. Readers who preorder do so on their own time and read on their own time. They're a different market from KU readers, of course.

YMMV. I write long books, price at $4.99, and I'm wide with several permafree openers, plus I get regular Bookbubs on those permafrees. I have 8 years of publishing experience.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:26:22 AM by angelapepper »
 

PaulineMRoss

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 05:32:47 AM »
I've also noticed that having the preorder up the minute the preceding book releases doesn't result in a big whoosh of preorders on release day. Readers who preorder do so on their own time and read on their own time. They're a different market from KU readers, of course.

Yes, very different market. I've found, not a whoosh of pre-orders, but a very steady stream from the first day. This last book, I released book 1 of the new series, then at 7am the next morning uploaded the pre-order for book 2. When I checked at lunchtime, not only was the pre-order live, there were already 8 pre-orders on the board. People find the next book if they're keen to read it. Since then, it's been very steady. I love pre-orders.

Writing epic fantasy as Pauline M Ross; writing Regency romance as Mary Kingswood
Bookbub score: 5 for 76
 

Marti Talbott

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 10:12:07 AM »
I haven't tried a pre-order in ages. Since I'm wide, I never could get the booksellers to release them on the same day. Any hints?
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TimothyEllis

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Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2019, 11:27:58 AM »
Can someone go over the basics of pre-orders?

I read the KDP help, and it's not much help. I get they dont like you extending, or cancelling, but it seems they dont care if you deliver early?

I'm one who never knows how long a book will take to write, since there are too many variables going on.

Some of my books have taken 3 - 4 months, while others 6-8 weeks. Current WIP will be about 8 weeks, which is fast than normal these days.

So when you can never be sure, how do you safely do a pre-order?

What is the no change gap these days? The main reason I dont do pre-orders is I finish editing and upload. So I'd be worried about finishing, and then readers waiting for no reason while the no change gap happens.

Anyone using pre-orders want to lay it out for those who don't understand how it works?
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

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VanessaC

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2019, 06:58:39 PM »
I'm still very small fry, but the book I've just released was set up with a pre-order of 23 August and about 2 weeks ago my parents received a followers' email about it, so that was quite a way away from the scheduled release date.

Perhaps Amazon is experimenting?

When did you set up the pre-order? How many days after that was the email sent?

I just realised I'd assumed this was a "followers" email, but it could just have been because my parents have been kind enough to buy my books ...

Anyway, with that in mind - to answer your queries: pre-order was set up on 26 May, and the email went out, I think, a couple of weeks ago - so about a month or so after the pre-order was set up? But I wouldn't set my watch by that, as I have the impression Amazon make their own timetables.
     

Genre: Fantasy
 

VanessaC

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2019, 07:09:32 PM »
Can someone go over the basics of pre-orders?

I read the KDP help, and it's not much help. I get they dont like you extending, or cancelling, but it seems they dont care if you deliver early?

I'm one who never knows how long a book will take to write, since there are too many variables going on.

Some of my books have taken 3 - 4 months, while others 6-8 weeks. Current WIP will be about 8 weeks, which is fast than normal these days.

So when you can never be sure, how do you safely do a pre-order?

What is the no change gap these days? The main reason I dont do pre-orders is I finish editing and upload. So I'd be worried about finishing, and then readers waiting for no reason while the no change gap happens.

Anyone using pre-orders want to lay it out for those who don't understand how it works?

Bear in mind, I'm still learning, but I'm also only on Amazon just now and have used the pre-order for every book so far.

- I only set up the pre-order when I have a decent first draft done, because I am confident I can finish a book well within the three month / 90 day maximum pre-order window, but I am not confident I can plot, write, edit and revise a book within 90 days (I also have a day job);

- I always set the maximum pre-order allowed, to give myself extra wriggle room;

- It used to be the case (I think) that you had to upload a file to bag your pre-order spot, but you can now set up a pre-order with no manuscript attached;

- When my final book / file is ready, I upload it and then bring forward the release date (Amazon seems happy to bring forward the release date);

- Amazon seems to have a four day "lock" period for pre-orders, and this also applies when you are bringing forward your release date. This week, I uploaded the final file on Monday and the earliest date I could set it to go live was Friday. (The time period may vary depending on time zone relative to "Amazon time" - I'm in the UK.)

Personally, I use pre-orders for a bunch of reasons, but it's good to let my (tiny) mailing list know the next book is on the way - really helps further into a series - and also to give me a hard deadline to work to.

As I think others have mentioned, Amazon doesn't like adding a pre-order to a series link - the explanation they gave me was that it means customers can't buy all the books at once.  However, they will add the pre-order to the series if you ask them.

Does that help?
     

Genre: Fantasy
 
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PaulineMRoss

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2019, 07:15:20 PM »
Pre-orders work really well for those who have a regular release schedule of 1-3 monthly, so you can always have the next book in the series on pre-order. They work well for a rapid-release strategy: book 1 goes live, with book 2 and possibly book 3 on pre-order. They work well for anyone who has a lengthy pre-release procedure of beta readers, ARCs, etc, so you put the book on pre-order while you do the final polish, knowing it will be done on time. They DON'T work well for anyone whose production schedule is erratic, or who likes to just finish the book and bang it up on Amazon.

For anyone who does want to try it, the procedure is exactly as per uploading a finished book except that you specify a date for release and nowadays you don't even have to upload a file at this stage. But you set keywords, categories, blurb and pricing, exactly the same. The lock-out period is (I think) 10 days [ETA: Vanessa's right - it's 4 days] but they give you loads of warning and there's an actual countdown on the KDP page so you know how long you've got to the second. You can release early, although I think it can't be instantaneous - you have to pick a date 3-4 days away. If you miss the lock-out deadline without good reason, they ban you from pre-orders for a year, but they're sympathetic to tales of fire, flood, tempest and a death in the family.

I love pre-orders. They work really well for me, but I have a steady production schedule (currently 3-monthly) so the next book in series is always on pre-order and readers can go straight from the link at the back of the book to pre-order the next, if they want. Then on release day, I get a tidy lump sum of sales money, while the KU reads are kicking in. Also, there's now some rank benefit on release day from accumulated pre-orders, so you get a rank boost when the pre-order happens AND some benefit on release day. Which is very nice. But pre-orders aren't for everyone, and if you've managed fine without them all this time, Tim, I wouldn't bother with them now.

Writing epic fantasy as Pauline M Ross; writing Regency romance as Mary Kingswood
Bookbub score: 5 for 76
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Amazon encouraging Pre-Orders?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2019, 09:45:55 PM »
I haven't tried a pre-order in ages. Since I'm wide, I never could get the booksellers to release them on the same day. Any hints?

I was going to ask about pre-orders on everyone but Amazon.  Do you just set your publication date for the date you want and let it fly?  I'm not overly concerned about the books being released on the same day, but I would like to hear about any pitfalls at other sales channels.  I hope this isn't too much of a thread derail.  Thanks, Amanda