Alright Indies, before we get down to business, I’ve noticed a couple of things this week that I think are important to share.
- There seems to be a small flaw to the social media managing site Crowdfire. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, I just realized that any post I publish or schedule through Crowdfire doesn’t show up under my Twitter profile like all of my other posts do (If you’re familiar with this site and have additional information – like what I’m doing wrong – please let us know!) or I’ll stop being lazy and go look on their FAQ page. Also, none of my Instagram posts show up anywhere on my Instagram, whether it’s on my feed or profile. It shows up as being published under the Archive section on Crowdfire, but nowhere else. I don’t think it’s being posted. So for Instagram, I’m sticking to posting the traditional way. Which is better, anyway, since I use the NoCrop app in order for my entire picture to show up without getting cut off by Instagram’s Square photos only policy.
- I received an email from a newsletter that I subscribe to that gave me great pause. I’m not going to name names, as I really like the site the email is affiliated with and they have really low, affordable author services on their MAIN site. This appears to be a spin-off or sister site. And the very first thing in the email is the fact that they are offering a new service that will charge you for reviews [insert gobsmacked expression here]. Paid-For Reviews are 100% BANNED on Amazon, as well as every other retail site, and Strictly Prohibited on Goodreads. Even if by some chance they can promise the review only reads: “Was provided a free ARC in exchange for an honest review” – it’s a big fat lie, because regardless if that money goes to the person who actually wrote the review or not – you, the author exchanged MONEY for that review, not a free ARC.
- Please Indies, check out other resources before ever paying for a review. There are countless legitimate Reviewing companies out there that will review your book for free – there are countless Reviewing groups, folders and individuals all over Goodreads who are also willing to review for FREE. Granted, you have less control over if your book gets chosen or if you get a good review, or when you might ever see that review, but why would you pay to get a bad review or worse… a fake one? Reviews are important, yes, but they are NOT the end-all-be-all that sells your book – Your dedicated readers are! So focus on your readers, your followers, your newsletter subscribers more than your reviews. Just as with Beta Reads, you should never have to PAY for a review and in my humble, personal opinion, it’s just another unethical practice that ‘tricks’ consumers into spending money, on top of scamming authors!
Okay, now that I got that out of the way, this week I promised we’d cover Pre-Orders. Have you considered the process, or the purpose? Is this something you’d even want to try? There was just a lively discussion about this on Goodreads a week or so ago, and even though it only covered the ‘marketing & sales’ side of it, I did learn a couple of things on the Print end – which I’m unfamiliar with as of yet. I’m going to share those things here with you today, so you have more insight, too. 🙂
Print On Demand: There are no pre-order options with this service (I did not know that). One of the commenters warned us of that, followed with how she gets around it. She simply direct-publishes her POD books a few days before her eBook goes live so that her POD reviews seamlessly merge with the eBook version shortly after its release. So, if you’re interested in going that route, it may be something you want to research deeper. I will have a future post on POD’s, because I truly do want to try CreateSpace when I can.
eBook Pre-Orders: KDP, KDP Select and Smashwords all allow you to publish your book for Pre-Order (click on links for their guidelines). Smashwords then sends your book out to its affiliate stores (Kobo, iBooks, B&N) for pre-order as well. I would normally follow that up with a list of Pros & Cons, but there aren’t any Cons. It’s just a matter of preference and what your purpose for choosing Pre-Orders might be. The first question is usually: Does Pre-Order help with book sales? If you’re a well established author with a huge following, probably. Otherwise, you might not get a single pre-order. However, there are other benefits, and these are the reasons why I will always opt for pre-order:
When I tried to put Avarice up for Pre-Order on KDP, it came back BLOCKED. I spent 4 days pulling teeth (aka trying to get a straight answer from Amazon customer support), because they “retain the right to choose what they deem appropriate or not, without having to explain themselves” (almost a direct quote). The problem is that I had no idea if the issue was with the cover, the content or the book details – and they flat out refused to tell me – which tells me that they don’t know, it was merely something one of their algorithm systems picked up on. Luckily, I had also loaded my book to Smashwords for Pre-Order and when their infamous Meatgrinder kicked it out – they told me exactly why, without me even having to contact customer support! So I was able to take that mistake and apply it to a new upload on KDP and wallah! It went through the second time without a hitch.
Important Note: KDP will not allow you to remove or make changes to a BLOCKED book – you have to load it again, as if it’s a whole other book, under the “Create Title” option on your Author Bookshelf page.
How is that a benefit, you ask? Imagine if that had happened on Avarice’s Release Day. If I had waited until the 22nd when my book is due to go Live, I would’ve had a the worst Launch Day ever. No one would’ve been able to buy my book!
The fact is both Smashwords and KDP take 24-48 hours to APPROVE your book for publishing before they’ll even list it. Perhaps, publishing directly forces it to go through right away on KDP – I’m not sure, as I’ve never taken that route – but from everything I’ve read on Smashwords, even if you direct publish, it still has to make it through their Meatgrinder in order to make it into their Premium Catalog, before they’ll send it out to their retail affiliates. Therefore, your book may be for sale on Smashwords, but not on Kobo, iBooks or B&N until it’s been approved.
Going the Pre-Order route allows you to make sure that all mistakes (if any) are fixed, and your book is being released across ALL retail sites simultaneously, without any delays – leaving you completely free to spend your book’s Launch Day interacting with your tour hosts and readers, rather than trying to fix publishing issues. So, that is simply another aspect to look at other than just the ‘marketing & sales’ side of it.
DEADLINES: Both KDP and Smashwords allows you to put incomplete books up for pre-order. KDP limits some of your options if you’re only uploading the Rough version or what Smashwords calls “Assetless Preorders”: This is the unfinished/or unedited manuscript with or without a book cover. However – both of these sites also have Deadlines of when you MUST have your final versions with book covers uploaded. 10 days prior to its Release Date – and if you don’t, then you will not be allowed to use their Pre-Order options for a certain penalty period after that. *Note: this does not change your ability to upload an “Updated” version of your book, after you’ve met your deadline with the “final” version. You will always be able to load an updated version, even after it’s live. You just need to make sure you have a ‘final’ version up there first.
Well, that’s all I have for this week Indies! Next week’s post will be bittersweet, because I’m going to cover what to expect on your Big Launch Day! That means our Step-by-Step Guide portion is almost at an end – but worry not, even if Dear Indie turns into a Monthly post, rather than weekly, I will still be sharing every new trick, free and/or low-cost resource and anything else I continue to learn along this journey we all love so much!
♥ Weekly Accomplishment: I’ve been diligently working on Scavenger, after having to go back to the very beginning and make changes throughout because somewhere along the way I lost my character’s true voices and was very unhappy with the tragic nosedive they were taking. Writing a scene should never feel ‘forced’ – and that’s where I was at. I’m quite happy with where we’re back to and hopefully will be soaring right to the end now. 🙂 What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments, if not for our drinking habits, then for yourself – every milestone, no matter how small should always be celebrated!