Premature Transactulation (Experimenting with pre-orders.)

Organization and patience are not among my strong suits. I feel panicky and overwhelmed whenever I have more than one matter in need of my attention at a given time, and my book launch strategy has always been to hit the publish button shortly after saying "Eh, that's probably good enough."

I've achieved what success I have in my career in spite of those shortcomings. But this time, with the launch of Critical Failures V, I'm taking a few steps outside my comfort zone, planning and organizing some shit. It's just a little bit terrifying.

One step I've taken is to set up a launch party on my Facebook page. I've never hosted a Facebook event before, and while I've got some ideas on how to make mine fun and original, the best-case-scenario I'm envisioning is 'not fucking it up too badly'.

Perhaps my biggest breakthrough, however, is making Critical Failures V available for pre-order. This goes against everything that makes sense to me. I have a product that's ready to be bought and enjoyed by my fans. Why would I dangle it out there just to say, "Hey! Look at what you can't have yet."? Didn't I already piss them off enough with my fake launch on April Fools' Day?

It's something I might have considered before if Amazon counted all the pre-order sales toward a book's rankings on release day. What a way to shoot up to the top of the charts that would be. But my understanding is that pre-orders work the same way regular sales do, counting toward rankings at the time of the pre-order. So it would seem like I'm just diluting that initial release day surge by spreading out the period of time during which my hardest-core fans are purchasing the book.

So why the hell am I doing this? I have a few reasons.

1. I've never done it before.

Before Amazon started letting us indie authors make our books available for pre-order, a lot of people were demanding it. When they finally made the option available, people were excited about it. And indie authors who sell a lot more books than I do are acting on that option.

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm completely clueless with regard to a lot of aspects of the publishing industry. By taking a chance on something a lot of other people are doing, I feel I have little to lose, and perhaps much to gain.

There are a lot of things I probably won't try during my lifetime no matter how many people sing its praises. Heroin and scrotal piercings come to mind. But even if the pre-order thing doesn't work out for me, I believe my career (and scrotum) will survive.

2. Hitting the ground running.

Whenever I've released a new book in the past, there's always a few hours of lag between the time it goes live and the time it shows up on the Amazon bestseller lists. And there's even more lag time before it starts getting recognized in the 'also boughts' of other books.

Is there any practical advantage to having those things established when the book gets released? Maybe. None come to mind. CF5 currently has some shitty rankings on different category lists because of the few people who've already pre-ordered. I guess that's nice.

3. Reviews on launch day.

Technically, this doesn't strictly have anything to do with CF5 being available for pre-order. I could have done a release on April 12th without doing the pre-order thing, and it would have been all the same to my ARC team. Several of them have read the book and have reviews ready to post. Still, it counts as delayed release, and that's the hardest part of this for me.

4. KDP Select cycle.

You might wonder why I chose April 12th as a release date. Is that a strategically chosen date? Do book launches statistically do better on Wednesdays? Am I trying to draw people's attention away from Jesus's approaching resurrection?

No. That just happens to be the date my other books' KDP Select cycles will renew themselves.

When I run my promotions, I like to fire all of my guns at once. To ensure that remains as uncomplicated as possible, I've been taking care to make sure that all of my books' KDP Select cycles are aligned.

5. My pre-order price is a thank you to my fans.

When this shit goes live, you can bet your asses that the $0.99 price tag isn't going to last long. You wonderful people who like my Facebook page, subscribe to my newsletter, attend my CF5 launch party, and have read this far into this shitty blog post are the people I treasure.

And for that I wish to thank you by allowing you, my front lines, to purchase the culmination of months of work for the lowest price possible which still contributes to the book's rankings.

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Well, this post has been dull as shit. Sorry about that. I'd like to make a not-legally-binding promise that my launch party will be a lot more fun. I'll be drinking beer and giving away fabulous prizes. I hope to see you there.


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