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Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders:  A Guide to Preorder Strategy
 

Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders: A Guide to Preorder Strategy

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This presentation from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, teaches indie authors how to make their book release more successful by leveraging ebook preorders. Multiple Smashwords authors have hit the ...

This presentation from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, teaches indie authors how to make their book release more successful by leveraging ebook preorders. Multiple Smashwords authors have hit the top of the charts using preorders. Learn the successful strategies behind preorder timing, promotion and marketing. Learn how some retailers such as Apple iBooks and Kobo give preorder books a merchandizing and discovery advantage. Learn why authors who do preorders have an advantage over those who do not.

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  • most of the EBOOK presentations look great Smashwords also brings to its audience a nice attracting visual features for new authors and performers.
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  • Great presentation! Perfect timing for me too. Thank you Mark, yet again.
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    Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders:  A Guide to Preorder Strategy Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders: A Guide to Preorder Strategy Presentation Transcript

    • Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders A Guide to Preorder Strategy February 21, 2014 Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords Twitter: @markcoker
    • About this presentation • What we’ll learn • Quick intro to Smashwords • All about ebook preorders!!!! • What’s a preorder? • Who should do preorders? • How to set up a preorder • Preorder timing • Preorder strategies to hit the bestseller list
    • Smashwords Backstory
    • What is Smashwords? • FREE eBook Publishing & Distribution Platform  Free ebook publishing platform  Distribution to major ebook retailers and libraries  Free learning materials help writers become professional publishers  Free professional publishing and merchandising tools ( i.e. preorder distribution to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo!)
    • How Smashwords Works • UPLOAD • • Instant, free ebook conversion • • Word .doc or .epub Instantly for sale DISTRIBUTE • • WRITE MORE • • Distribution to major retailers and libraries Consolidate distribution through Smashwords to spend more time writing and less time fussing with everything else GET PAID • Author earns 60-80% list
    • Smashwords Distribution Network Upload/Update Once, Distribute Globally
    • Ebooks published at Smashwords 276,000 191,000 92,000 28,800 140 6,000
    • Smashwords Started by Providing the Three Essential Legs of the Professional E-Publishing Stool Ebook Printing Press Retail Distribution Best practices knowledge
    • Over the Last Few Years, We’ve Built out the Fourth Leg of the Publishing Stool: Merch and Discovery Tools Printing Press Retail Distribution Merchandising & discovery tools
    • Summary of Smashwords Merch and Discovery Tools • Free Smashwords tools (partial list)  Smashwords Coupon Manager • Custom coupon codes for promotions  Smashwords Series Manager • Enhanced series metadata improves series discovery  Social media-enabled author/publisher pages  Smashwords Interviews • Self-interviewing tool  *** NEW: Smashwords Preorders! ***
    • Smashwords Dashboard Tools The Smashwords Dashboard enables centralized metadata management and multiple tools to assist book pricing, merchandizing, distribution, sales reporting.
    • Preorders are one of the most powerful new indie author merchandising tools to come along in the last 5 years Preorders give you an advantage over the majority of authors who don’t yet do preorders I view preorders as an essential best practice
    • Introduction to Preorders • What’s a preorder?  Advance book listing at major retailers  Allows readers to reserve a copy in advance of release date  Customer credit card not charged until release date Let’s look at some preorder pages!
    • A Smashwords Preorder at B&N
    • A Smashwords Preorder at Apple
    • A Smashwords Preorder at Kobo
    • Five Preorder Benefits for Indie Authors 1. Generate sales in advance of publication 2. Capture the reader’s order the moment you have their attention 3. Fast track to the bestseller lists • At Apple and Kobo, all accumulated preorders credit all at once the day the book goes onsale, which can cause the title to pop in the bestseller lists • • Several Smashwords authors have hit #1 at Apple iBooks with the assistance of preorders Placement on bestseller lists increases visibility, which increases desirability and sales, which sparks self-reinforcing flywheel of sales leading to more sales 1. Same-day onsale availability at multiple retailers 2. Increased merchandising opportunities • Merchandising managers can spot big books early based on accumulated order counts, and give them even more promotion
    • A preorder is eligible to sit on virtual ebook store shelves dedicated to preorders As with the physical world, more virtual shelf space increases visibility and sales Preorders are merchandized alongside your other titles Preorders are eligible for additional merchandising promo (if the book earns it) Let’s look at some random iBooks examples from February 15, 2014 …
    • Apple iBooks Merchandising (1) Your preorder is automatically merchandized alongside all your other titles, making it easy for fans to reserve a copy now, before they forget.
    • Apple iBooks Australia Home Page Preorder Merchandising (2) Cool beans. Three Smashwords preorders featured on iBooks homepage. Huge! Thank you Apple iBooks Australia, and congrats to Smashwords authors Lili Saint Germain, Kirsty Moseley and Amy Miles!
    • Apple iBooks U.S. “Sneak Peeks” Preorder Merchandizing (3) Apple’s Sneak Peeks is an ongoing merchandizing feature that promotes highly anticipated preorders with free samples. Samples help sell preorders. Preorders with strong preorder accumulation, awesome covers, and from authors with good track records and reviews at iBooks have the advantage. Watch my video on iBooks merchandizing
    • REALITY CHECK: A preorder alone will not guarantee success. Successful preorders require careful planning, preparation and promotion. Behind every successful preorder is a talented author who writes super-fabulous books that take readers to emotionally satisfying extremes. These books are backed by great covers and wellimplemented best practices (See my free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success). Preorders give incremental advantage. Over time, incremental advantages, properly exploited, add up to help you build your readership faster than authors who don’t take advantage of these tools.
    • Timing Preorders • Budget preorder runway into your publication timeline • The more days it’s available for preorder, the more days you have to accumulate orders • 4-12 weeks runway recommended, though even 7 days can provide a small incremental advantage • The math of accumulated orders (5 orders per day for three months = 450 orders, enough to hit #1 in many genres, and top 10 in most). • Most big publishers release books on Tuesdays. Release on a different day and chances of charttopping may increase • Saturdays and Sundays are the biggest ebook selling days. Consider releasing on a Friday or Saturday to leverage the increased visibility of your sales rank. Holidays (that don’t involve family gatherings) can be strong too.
    • Marketing and Promotion for Preorder Success (Tip One) • Plan an aggressive, multi-week, multi-part marketing campaign • Contests, chapter reveals, giveaways, blog tours, etc. • Unveil a different promotion or incentive each day or week to build and sustain momentum • Most authors do advance book launch marketing for new releases anyway, yet without a preorder they have no way to capture the order! • Promote direct hyperlinks to preorder pages • Direct links make it easier for readers to reserve a copy at their favorite store
    • Marketing and Promotion for Preorder Success (Tip Two) • Mobilize your fans as your street team • Incentivize actions that help you spread the word, or accumulate orders • Offer a free Smashwords Coupon for another of your titles to any fan who emails you their preorder receipt • Offer a free Smashwords Coupon to any fan who takes an action that helps spread the word (blogging about preorder, tweeting, etc) • Promise to include a “Street Team Acknowledgements” section in your final book that names and thanks the first 100 fans who sent you their preorder receipt, or performed the right action • Set a deadline two weeks before the release date, then two weeks before release click “upload new version” to update your ebook file
    • Marketing and Promotion for Preorder Success (Tip 3) • Consider offering preorder customers special pricing. • Set a lower price during the preorder period to incentivize fans to preorder • If you’re planning to retail for $3.99, for example, offer the preorder for $2.99 as a thank-you for your most loyal fans and supporters • Communicate that the price will increase shortly after the book goes onsale. • Preorder customers are guaranteed the lowest price
    • Marketing and Promotion for Preorder Success (Tip 4) • Use your other books to market your preorder • Authors with multiple books have extreme advantage here • Advertise in the backmatter of all your books: • • Include free sampler in the backmatter • • “{Title X} coming {Month Day, Year}! Available now for preorder at select retailers” A nice touch: learn how to add navigation to your backmatter. Do a deep discount (free works best!) on another title to draw readers to the preorder • If your preorder is the #2 or later in a series, consider pricing the series starter at FREE, if even for a couple weeks or a month
    • Uploading Your Preorder to Smashwords (Click “Publish”) Uploading a preorder to Smashwords is easy. Simply choose a future release date on the upload page.
    • Preorder Listed at Smashwords Note that Smashwords distributes preorders to Apple iBooks, B&N and Kobo, but the Smashwords Store does not accept preorders. The listing will appear as above, and the buy button will appear on the release date.
    • Final Thoughts on Preorders Smashwords has been doing preorders since early 2012. We’ve helped multiple authors hit #1 on their release day, and we hope we can help you too. Most authors don’t yet take advantage of preorders (this is a big mistake!). The tool is free and available today, and the strategy knowledge (such as here in this presentation and at http://smashwords.com/preorders), is free for the taking. The authors who take advantage of preorders today have an advantage over those who do not. Some day, once all indie authors realize that a well-staged preorder is a best practice for book launches just as great editing and great cover design are best practices, then more will do preorders. When everyone’s doing preorders, the unfair advantage the early adopters now enjoy will diminish, yet the importance will increase because those that don’t do preorders will be disadvantaged vs. those who do.
    • Help Spread the Word If you found this presentation useful, won’t you please share it with a writer friend? Facebook it Tweet it Download and email it Blog about it, and use Slideshare’s “embed” feature to insert the full presentation in your blog post Do a presentation on preorders at your next writer’s group meeting (you have my permission to use this PowerPoint) Helpful resources and links follow…
    • Preorder Resources How to do a preorder at Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/preorder Blog posts by Mark Coker on preorders and preorder strategy Write NonFiction Now - How to Hit the Bestseller List with Preorders Huffington Post - eBook Preorders Help Indie Authors Hit Bestseller Lists. Smashwords Blog (original announcement) - Smashwords Introduces Preorder Distribution to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo
    • Learn to e-publish like a pro with Smashwords Tutorials at YouTube youtube.com/user/Smashwords
    • 50 do 0,0 wn 00 loa + ds ! Download Mark’s Free Ebooks to Learn Indie Author Best Practices • Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of bestselling indie authors) • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book, build author platform) • Smashwords Style Guide (how to format and publish an ebook)
    • Thanks for Your Time! Connect with Mark Coker: Twitter: @markcoker LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcoker Facebook: facebook.com/markcoker Google+: https://plus.google.com/+MarkCoker Huffington Post: huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker Connect with Smashwords: Web: www.smashwords.com Smashwords Blog (subscribe to receive via email): blog.smashwords.com Smashwords FAQ: https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq