Pre-orders are meaningless if nobody knows your name

Amazon Really Will Publish Anything, Won't They?

Amazon Really Will Publish Anything, Won't They?This week was an unwelcome learning experience. My newest eBook, “Amazon Really Will Publish Anything, Won’t They?” is free on Kindle until Sunday. I wanted it to be free from Monday to Friday to coincide with London Book Fair, especially since I’m not attending this year.

It’s a great event but a lot of its author support is Day One stuff, so if you go too often and too eagerly it can start to provide diminishing returns. This year my career would benefit more from the money and the free time.

Obviously this eBook is a little on the clickbaity side, and I wanted to tap into the novelty of all those publishers hashtagging around one event to give them a bit of a free joke and raise my profile.

It was not easy. Originally I wanted to lay some promotion work out in advance, so I set the eBook up months ago as a pre-order. I checked in on it at the weekend, and successfully scrambled the pre-order date weeks ahead. Great. If you cancel a pre-order release with Amazon, they ban you from using the pre-order feature for a year. I was prepared to take that hit, but wasn’t prepared for Amazon locking out the title so I couldn’t release it immediately.

Bit of a panic, and one lost day. I re-uploaded the title, redesigned the cover, and set up the keywords, meta and categories. I couldn’t just clone this, I had to start from scratch. All that was left was to wait for Amazon to approve it.

They didn’t. They kept bouncing it back because of inappropriate keywords. You see, even if your Kindle book is about Kindle books, you can’t use “Kindle Book” as a keyword, because apparently that’s misleading.

There’s some serious fucking irony in that title.

Anyway, my take-home is that pre-orders are pretty pointless in the early stages of a career, even if you do have a scheduled release or debut in mind. You could leave that book online and published for weeks and next to nobody would notice it, because next to nobody is who you are. Focus on that launch day rather than piddling around with Amazon’s over-sensitive settings.

UPDATE: Amazon have already pulled this from sale due to it not passing their content quality control. Either that or they just don’t have a sense of humour!

All my [remaining] books are free on Amazon this weekend, even those that I’ve told you about a thousand times.

So get on it!