I have put my just about completed novel “Man of Two Planets” onto both Smashwords and Kindle as “preorders”. Preordering is a nifty marketing strategy; the author offers the book for sale before it becomes available, at a price lower than what it will be at the time of publication and the readers put a red dot on the book, in the expectation of a good read on the happy day when they can finally download it.
Smashwords have even gone a step further than Kindle. The enterprising Smashwords people have come up with the concept of the “Assetless Preorder” whereby a writer can declare a manuscript and offer it for sale with only the ‘blurb’ actually written. This means that during the months of writing, orders for the incomplete novel can be building up . . . and up . . .
This is a fine idea, but I’m wondering if it might lead to a few crises in the future where writers may find that they have over-committed themselves and are unable to meet the preorder deadline.
It’s interesting to see that in such a situation Smashwords will just let the preorder arrangement gradually fade into disuse, whereas Kindle are more admonitory and a defaulting writer will not be allowed access to the preorder arrangement for a whole twelve months! Goodness! What are things coming to?
I am intending not to let myself become a sleepless victim of deadlines. I had enough of that when I was writing professionally as a music reviewer. I’ll not put anything out as a preorder unless I have the MS three-quarters written and a solid lot of editing already completed.
We’ll see what happens. Preorder success seems to depend rather heavily on the quality of the ‘blurb’, and of course what an author has already written will have a bearing on whether a reader will give a coming book a red dot – or not.