Amazon Pre-orders do Nothing

When… when you make a pre-order for other sites, the pre-order gets a boost come sales day. It can also alert readers to new books if you publish as often as I do. There’s a build up and a release.

Not with Amazon.


So I’ve been making my readers wait when I’ve been done my books, for absolutely no reason, and I didn’t know that.

Amazon’s algorithm. Again. So pre-orders count the day that a reader pre-orders it, not launch day. And then said reader forgets about it because they can pre-order up to three months out. Which means the book doesn’t get read and if they do read it, they’re even less likely to leave a review if they liked it.

Then there’s me, full on stressed about the launch, then coming to realize that, then that sickening dread setting in.

I’m not getting the boost in sales I was expecting and hoping and praying for. I get nothing. If the book had been up for sale instead of pre-order, I would have gotten the same thing.

A few dollars in royalties.

If I could find even a benefit for the reader, I’d keep down the same route. I’m willing to have the stress of it if there was a benefit for the reader, but there isn’t. You dangle that carrot and for what? For nothing.

The one site that talked about it said that it was a good way to drive readership because you launch one book, then immediately start the pre-order for the next one. But I really don’t think the passive downloading of pre-ordered books is going to catch someone’s attention.

I currently use pre-orders to offer a discounted price. I was offering that price to drive pre-orders so that on launch day I’d have the boosted rank. It would get me more readership to get me more books sold to eventually quit my day job.

Turns out, the only use of a pre-order is offering that discounted price. But I’ve got a phone, I can schedule events then remind myself of them later. I can still offer the discounted price, except this time push it as a sale price. Put it on all kinds of websites as I go.

So… I have to rethink my strategies.

As kind of a test of this, The Reaping trilogy will go wide. It will be a pre-order, but on wide distribution, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Nook all offer the launch day boost.

Which means I won’t be using KDP Select for the trilogy and that I can’t offer free days. There will be no Kindle Unlimited option.

But not many Kindle Unlimited users pick up Wraith’s Rebellion. Yes, I will miss the free days, but if what you’re doing isn’t helping you, if there aren’t benefits for all, you need to change your approach. That’s what I’m going to do.

77 books sold a day, and Amazon just stole my chance to see what that might look like in real life. It’s like snuffing out the light of my dream.

That sucked, and I still have a work shift ahead of me. I already have no will to face people. There’s no light in my day because that little something extra I was looking forward to was stolen away.

And it took an hour of research to find one page that talked about how the pre-order rankings worked.

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