Presale, Pro Editing & Frankenstein Monsters…

Blog

Last night I posted the eBook version of TC2 for an Amazon PRESALE! Here’s the link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09VG7LSVW?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Amazon allows you to do this up to a year in advance, which seems a little nuts. Moreover, they only allow this for eBooks within KDP (a.k.a. Kindle Direct Publishing). Yes, third party publishers are allowed print version presales on Amazon – I’ve purchased books that way myself – don’t ask me why. I didn’t upload a version of the manuscript because that won’t happen until the editing and formatting are done, hence, there isn’t any “Look Inside” or preview options for readers, sorry. But trust me, there is a lot to love within TC2. Well, there’s a lot of TC2, if nothing else – it’s over 500 pages at this point.

I also priced it at $8.99, temporarily at least, which is a dollar higher than TC1 because, at another one-hundred or so pages, I’m convinced this will cost me more to deliver. I can always lower the price even during the presale and it’s better for customers to see a discount than a price hike. Meanwhile, print versions of a book this size, without a doubt, will cost significantly more to POD (print-on-demand). Hence, I plan to price the paperback at $18.99. So, $8.99 for the eBook, $18.99 for the paperback – it’s akin to the $7.99 eBook and &17.99 paperback for TC1, a much shorter novel. It simply costs more money to make a book with more pages. And unfortunately, the print versions of TC2 will necessarily be considerably higher priced anywhere outside of Amazon because it costs me so much more to print and distribute via Ingramspark. These are the harsh realities.

Otherwise, to me, this presale experiment amounts to a soft opening for the new novel. Which is to say, as much as I’m looking to create some buzz on behalf of TC2, I’m also looking to reinforce interest in TC1, and this is a way to perhaps generate some marketing synergy at no additional cost. If it were me, for example, and I was enticed by the Amazon ad for TC1 or the Locus Magazine ad for TC2, either way, even preferring print as I do, I may be encouraged by the series vibe to snap up a copy of the first book and get on board with keeping an eye open for the next one. Or not. Since it costs me nothing to experiment in this way and the novel will be out by the end of May or the beginning of June regardless, it’s worth a try.

June 30th, then, is the publication date I set for the KDP presale. There are a handful of rules and regulations involved with doing this, the most important being that you must have the final manuscript approved by Amazon four days prior to your proposed publishing date. Otherwise, you have to bump the date forward and you’re allowed only one 30-day extension before they ban you from offering preorders for a year, ostensibly for providing a poor customer experience. In my case, the risk has to do with my permissions not getting hung up. For instance, for TC1, I recall a couple of nerve-wracking days back and forth with Amazon when they flagged all my citations and asked for proof of permission before they’d publish the thing.

Moving on, professional editing begins today! Exciting. Anxiety inducing. A lot of work. Not cheap. But a big step forward, nevertheless. Given the inevitable handful of snags which will have to do with my own incompetence, I’m pretty confident that everything will move along ahead of schedule and I’ll be able to pull the publication date back as early as the end of May or thereabouts. Why? Well, we’ve got four weeks scheduled for the line editing and it likewise took a month for the first novel, so that seems like a given but, we’ve got another four weeks scheduled for interior formatting – May 9th is our deadline for completion for that – and then almost three weeks for proofreading and my approvals, so that May 30th as a drop-dead date for completion seems more than generous. I work fast. If K at LooseLeaf does likewise, I’m thinking my June 30th Amazon proposed publication date is two to three, even four or five weeks too far out. And this way, if we wrap it up faster, any Amazon preorder customers will enjoy an early delivery, yay!

In other news, I hit double figures finally for ratings/reviews on amazon.com, which made for seven on amazon.uk and elsewhere and eight on Goodreads. Why the amazon system doesn’t compile all the ratings and reviews across the countries is beyond me. Anyway, this latest rating was either a 3-star or a 5-star, I’m leaning towards 5-star (I don’t have a record of the previous breakdowns regarding stars) given how it looks like my average bumped up a bit. The average not being a true average on Amazon, at least. (If you recall Amazon’s weighted averages being contingent upon the so-called ranking of the rater/reviewer and whether the book is an amazon-verified purchase or not, yadda, blah).

Meanwhile, I hadn’t noticed that on Goodreads I now have another 1-star rating – ugh! – bestowed by somebody whom, when I examine their favorite books as listed, probably wasn’t at all in line with what TC has to offer. So be it. I have the two 1-stars, a 3-star and five 5-stars, an average on their system (they are also owned my Amazon) that translates to 3.75. Is the jury still out? Well, it just verifies that TC is not for everybody. I mean, if 1-star literally translates to “hated it” – ack, I’ve discussed this in previous entries, namely, the idea that TC1 cannot be that terrible; it just somehow rubbed somebody the wrong way despite them having every opportunity in advance to have previewed a lot of the writing. Clearly, people don’t avail themselves.

And, of course, it merely reinforces my aspiration to break free from the ratings wars. One day perhaps I’ll garner the thirty or forty, or what have you, ratings that put me hopefully at 4-stars or higher. If not, I don’t know…, if folks continue to buy the books and the tribe grows, I can’t complain. Sales keep me going. The goal is to generate enough return on my investment all around – to experience commensurate rewards in body and mind, as it were, whatever that turns out to be, to keep at it. And, if I get lucky, have the books more than pay for themselves. Meanwhile, this latest rating was a good one, thank you dear reader whomever you are.

Oh, and if you are an intrepid tribe member poking around on Amazon over the next handful of days, please be patient if it looks like the series linkages and synergy between the two novels in terms of shopping experience seems a little lacking. The algorithms and what have you, they seem to take days, sometimes weeks, even months, to really get fully interwoven. I can remember the first weeks of TC1 being available, for instance, when everything from the description and “Look Inside,” to say nothing of the book taking a while to become linked to other authors and searches – all that algorithm stuff – it seemed to come together bit by bit, like a Frankenstein monster, and only later did the novel come fully to life out there. Hell, I’m only now, as of last month at least, getting library borrows for the eBook via Ingramspark and the audiobook via Findaway Voices data. So, the system is a pretty labyrinthine, apparently, with lots of little nuts and bolts and sutures and tape and glue required, none of which is under my control. Patience helps. Of which I possess very little myself.

All of which is to say that, currently, as I write this, (a mere twelve hours after having posted the presale), if you happen upon TC1 on Amazon and you do not see an obvious link anywhere to the TC2 eBook presale, well, it’s there, somewhere, believe me. Anyway, remember: Presale, Pro Editing & Frankenstein Monsters…. You can always use the link I provided and if you do, THANK YOU!