1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    When can I/should I/ought I put my book on pre-sale on Amazon?

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by Catrin Lewis, Apr 8, 2018.

    Has anyone here put their book up for pre-sale on Amazon?

    If so, when did you do it? Before all the formatting, etc., was done, or after?

    Did it help your marketing to get sales before the official release? Did you get any early sales? How about reviews?

    Are there any stories out there of authors who put their books on pre-sale too early and missed their launch date?

    If this is something I'd be an idiot not to do, I want to know about it now, and do it at the right time.
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    90 days before for amazon, up to a year before on kobo, nook, and apple - as to when you should i'd say when its with the editor, you've got your cover sorted and you've got a firm deadline in mind - you don't want to have to move the release back after you've started publicity so give yourself plenty of leeway
     
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  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    So I can do it any time now. I was wondering if I had to wait till all the ebook html was done, to see how many MBs it comes to. (Found out yesterday that Amazon sets minimum prices you can charge according to the file size. But I'd be stupid to set a price lower than $2.99, anyway. It wouldn't leave me any room for sales.)

    The thing to look at now is how fast can I finish the html. I'm having trouble with it and can't 100% predict when I'll have it done.
     
  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Oh, yeah. I still have the back cover of the print book to do. Is it usual to make sure both versions are ready at the same time?
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Rapax is on at 3.99 (thats GBP - USD is 4.99 i think) , Honest intent (which is a novella) is on at 2.99 GBP - that's probably a bit high but its the floor for 70% royalty on amazon.... tbh I don't expect to sell much if any of HI as its also my mailing list give away.

    Look at how much your competitors are charging and go from there - I couldnt bring myself to charge more than Lee Child for example. The amazon minimum is unlikely to be an issue unless you have a non fictionbook with lots of pictures (which really inflates the file size)

    Another point is to make sure you tweak your overseas prices to a) be X.99 rather than the direct conversion and b) to be realistic ... e.g for the indian market (which is the second largest English language market after the US) the direct conversion of a Us/UK price will be much too high.

    In regard to the html why the heck are you coding your own formatting ? It makes more sense to use a converter

    ref the print book its probably usual but its not compulsory - the vast majority of sales will be E anyway - the main function of print is to make the E price look good (print will also be amazon only, unless you are using Ingram spark for extended distro ) so you could launch E only then add print later
     
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  6. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    My publisher put my most recent two novels up for pre-sale, about three weeks and a month or so before release.

    The main reason was that it was my first venture as an author (and for the publisher) into LitRPG (a sub-genre of fantasy/sf). I had two novels finished in the series, so that when the first was nearly ready to be released, the second would be up on pre-order. One of the reasons was to alleviate concerns of potential readers that there was indeed more novels in the series and that it wasn't one of those, buy the first in a series and wait a year or more for the second, if ever.

    It definitely helped with marketing, leading it. I got about 50 in pre-sales for the first novel in the series, which took off after launch pretty well, after that. The second novel in the series, launched a little less than a month after release of the first, got some pre-sales too. I not know the number. The release of the second re-invigorated sales of the first.

    The editing and cover art was finished prior to either going up for pre-sale, since those elements were not directly in my publisher's control. The artist and editors are freelance, and reliable as they're 'go to' professionals for my publisher. Still, all that was left was the formatting and titlework, which is done in-house with my publisher and does not take long.

    I have heard mixed notions on the usefulness/effectiveness of putting a work up for pre-sale. If you intend to use the time effectively, the pre-sale can be an effective tool, or it can be one that will absorb sales you would already get, and lessen the impact of a launch, but moving you up the ranks on Amazon initially, which might bring a measure of notice to other potential readers.

    Exciting times for you, Catrin Lewis. Good luck!
     
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  7. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yep, and make sure my comparables are high-quality indie-pub and not trad (who tend to overcharge for ebooks).

    Check. Heard that, probably on Joanna P's site, but it's healthy to be reminded of it again. How much interest India will have in Christian romantic suspense, I don't know, but it won't do to make assumptions.

    Guido Henkel makes a good argument for doing one's own ebook file in html--- One file to rule them all when going wide, nice and clean (curly quotes! em-dashes! non-breaking ellipses!) and not dependent on the vagaries of any service's conversion software. Plus there are some things I want to do with the paragraph formatting that the basic converter can't be trusted to do.

    Once I get the technique down I'll be good for all the sequels down the road. I've got a tech teacher at one of my high schools who's willing to look at my file to see where I'm going wrong. I just have to draw an assignment for a teacher who has the same planning period. This week, God willing.

    I'm nearly done with the print book formatting, assuming the file doesn't blow up on me when I put it all back together. So it should be ready more or less the same time, if I shoot for late May, early June. I have hand sketches and the stock photos for the back cover--- all I need is to determine the spine width, obtain a bar code, and hope my GIMP skills haven't gotten rusty since last summer.
     
  8. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm getting my website ready and want the button under the cover photo to read "Pre-Order Now." So if I can get the solution to my formatting problem and my website design to converge, I'll commit.

    Whew.
     
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  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Vellum - is the answer to high quality formatting without the pain of doing your own HTML. Not cheap at $249 and its mac only. But worth it.

    I did Rapax using the draft to digital formatting tool and it was okay but not brilliant - I've bought vellum to do my future books, and when i get a moment i'll run Rapax and honest intent through it and update the files.

    spine width wise create space give you the calculations - remember that its different depending on whether you use cream or white (white paper is thinner), and make sure your cover art dimensions allow for bleed
     
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  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The advantage of pre-sale, I think, is that you can spread your marketing efforts out... it's kinda pointless to do any promotion for a book if you can't direct interested purchasers toward a place to actually buy the product. So if you want to start marketing, you probably want to get the book on pre-sale.

    But Amazon gets QUITE crabby if you blow the release date, so don't put it on pre-sale until you're absolutely, positively sure you're going to be ready by the deadline.

    Have fun with it!
     
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  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I know dick about that stuff.
    So I will instead be here for moral support. :p
    :cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader:
     
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  12. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You're right, Vellum is lovely. But Mac? No. Not interested in making the change or the investment.

    Yeah, I know there's Mac-in-the-Cloud. But if I had a spare $249 lying around I'd put it toward paying off my latest car repairs.

    Let me know when you redo Rapax so I can be impressed with the job Vellum does and wish I could afford it. I've seen the current Look Inside, so I'll have a basis for comparison.
     
  13. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I have done three Kindles using uploaded word documents, no problems. Don't think I would trust myself doing HTML, and I am an engineer!
     
  14. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Rereading everyone's comments here, I'm wondering . . .

    I was hoping/planning to finally get my ebook live on Amazon, with no presale, this coming Friday the 27th. But I still have a lot to do, including some final tweaks with the formatting, getting my website populated and live (don't want dead links in the ebook, thank you), starting my Amazon Writer Page, etc., etc. And today I got called into my regular job for a long early shift tomorrow.

    So as much as I want this to be done, maybe setting it for more like the 16th or 17th of August might work better, after I put it on presale now. There'd be a smaller chance I'd miss the launch date, as good grief, I should have everything finished by then.

    Thinking about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Is there anything specific driving any of these dates? (Like did you make a big announcement on your blog already, or something?)
     
  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Jutoh does about 90% of vellum for 50 dollars on a PC...

    Anyhow, on the pe order dates thing, Amazon really hates it if you miss your date ( hence I don't set it until I'm ready to rock and roll) so my advice is if you're not certain, don't set it yet
     
  17. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I made a smallish announcement on my Facebook page, which got some positive reaction, but that's all.
     
  18. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    CS has a a calculator, basically add a quarter inch to your height, a quarter inch to twice your width + pages *.0025 (cream) or .00223(?) (white). So if your book is 5X8, 250 cream pages, the trim size should be 8.25 x (10.25+.0025*250)= 8.25 x 10.875. Be careful not to let any cover artwork get within 1/8 of the spine, because it may bleed over onto the spine. CS tolerance for printing is 1/8 hence the trim. CS will apply their own barcode, so know where they are going to put it (the site tells you where) and make sure it doesn't cover you back blurb and bio. My cover designer applies one also, and CS either uses hers, or overlays theirs.

    Good luck! I have followed your saga on this, @Catrin Lewis, so I have to be one of your first buyers. What's the title and author name?
     
  19. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I would recommend, not more than a week before you really expect to publish, that you run a boosted FB post of $50 to $100 to reach several thousand strangers. Make it read like something that would cause you to go look up the book on Amazon
     
  20. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The Single Eye, by Catrin Lewis (my pen name).

    Thanks!
     
  21. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    This is a crucial question for this thread, so I hope somebody with experience doing presales on Amazon Kindle sees it:

    Do I have to have my Table of Contents all formatted to put my book up for presale?

    I think people know by now that I'd dedicated to laying out my ebook in HTML, and if you've seen my progress journal, I hope you'll agree it looks pretty good.

    But I still have to code the chapter hyperlinks. A lot of chapter hyperlinks, which will take awhile. Can I just put it up without them and get that done by the third day before release? (I'm aiming for August 24th).
     
  22. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I've only done pre-sale once, I think, and as I recall they didn't require the finished version of the book until maybe a day before publication? (If anyone else has better recall, please jump in!)

    But assuming my recollection is correct, I don't think there'd be any problem with continuing to tweak your MS after you've put the book up for pre-sale.
     
  23. rincewind31

    rincewind31 Active Member

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    It's easy really. Just don't do a pre-sale.
     
  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    nope - you don't even need a completed manuscript so long as you'll definitely hit your deadline (coding by hand is nuts use jutoh/vellum/D2D etc ....)

    By the way I highly recommend joining Mark Dawson's SPF facebook group for this sort of question - theres a lot more marketing/advertising expertise over there
     
  25. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    As for Table of Contents, Both @K McIntyre and I have one. As you know, I am a strong advocate of using MS Word with KDP, we imported Karen's paperback text layout with TOC into KDP this Saturday, total elapsed time was 5 minutes, 4:30 of which was watching KDP "wait" spinner while KDP did all that you do by hand in HTML. TOC came out perfect, already hyperlinked. Take a look inside at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MSEAC3I/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0 and https://www.amazon.com/Ruby-Karen-McIntyre-ebook/dp/B07FZ9C6BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1533049300&sr=1-1&keywords=ruby+karen+mcintyre to see how it turned out
     
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