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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Magic of Preorders

Pre-order (v) - to order the thing before the thing is released. 

Pre-orders started with what? Maybe with stock futures where as yet unborn sheep and cows were bartered on the market? Maybe with some form of shipping back when global communication meant making someone run 26 miles with good news and shipping literally meant loading things on to ships and praying the local weather gods didn't hate you? Who knows.

In the modern world the pre-order is a way to ensure your copy of a book, movie, or game arrives before it sells out in stores. You pay full price, but you also get it before the spoilers hit the 'net. Distributors use the pre-orders as a way to measure interest and print or produce more copies of the thing based on consumer demand.

Which means ebook pre-orders are just a touch confusing. An ebook is a computer program (essentially) and contains infinite replications of itself. No one needs to retype the ebook every time one is ordered (thank goodness!). There's no dead trees to pulp, ink to stir, printers to unjam, or hard copy books to ship. The ebook can meet infinite demand even if everyone orders the book in the same minute. Which makes ebooks a little bit magical.

So why preorder an ebook you might not have time to read on release day?

Well, to be perfectly honest, the pre-order benefits the whole rather than the individual. For books the pre-orders all count as sales on the release day of the book. Over a month or six of pre-orders, even at a slow rate, that's a lot of books. It counts as ten, or a hundred, or three hundred sales all on release day. Which means the book gets a higher ranking on the sales charts, it gets more attention from sales algorithms on Amazon and other retail sites, and it means the press backing the book sees a demand for the author and the series.

All of these mean nothing to you as an individual until you want Book 2. If Book 1 doesn't sell well, there is no Book 2.

More than one series I've loved has been canceled because the sales for books one and two were slow. Which is frightening to authors because many readers refuse to read a series until the first three books are out. Do you have any idea how terrifying that is? To meet someone who might love your work but who won't read it until you've proven a few thousand other people love it to?

As a reader I get it. No one wants to fall in love with a series that the publishers will cancel. No one wants to know their favorite characters are locked up beyond legal jargon and an author's meager budget that prevents them from self-publishing a quality work. Readers want to protect their hearts and save their love for the trilogies that make it.

But readers are the only ones who can guarantee a book becomes more than a flash in a pan. Reviews, word of mouth, legal purchases, and - yes - even pre-orders give readers the chance to choose a future for a book or series. The more you invest in an author, the more you get back in return.


Love and murder in the Windy City. Debuts January 16th, available for pre-order now for $4.99 USD



The first Villain to hit the big screen of publishing. Follow Angela from New York to L.A. as she decides if she's a hero or a villain. Available in e-book for $4.99 USD or print for $13.99 USD.



Rookie investigator Sam Rose is still learning the ropes when a minor murder investigation leads to a major conspiracy that puts the entire nation at risk of annihilation. Debuts April 28th, 2015, with pre-order available now for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. Books 2 and 3 of the Jane series are under contract for release in 2016 and 2017 respectively.


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