TL:DR- New titles will not be available to preorder from Amazon. Most new titles will launch at $.99, for two weeks after release.
This is a somewhat unpleasant update to write. Perhaps those of you who’ve followed my facebook noticed a note a bit back about the preorder for one of my titles, Queen of Clubs: Krissy & Athena going dead. Basically, when the dust settled, I found out that Amazon had canceled the story’s preorder due to an error in their system that labeled the book an unfinished product that could not be distributed. I’m still not quite sure how the error came about. Probably a site glitch or something, since I’ve never had this problem with any other books.
KDP, the wing of Amazon that we self-pubbed authors, as well as some small presses, use- has a very strict policy regarding preorders, and if you fail to follow Amazon’s preorder policies, you lose the ability to use preorders for a full year. When informed of the error, KDP returned my ability to offer future preorders, and allowed my other two preorders to proceed. But they didn’t seem to know what might have happened, so for all I know it might happen again.
They also declined to take any action to correct the disruption their problem caused to Krissy’s distribution. They refused to reinstate the old product page, and also would not transfer the preorder sales that were removed from my account when the preorder was yanked. Those sales were refunded or canceled, and I don’t even know what sort of notification those readers were given.
What this means for readers:
If you use preorders like I do, you may have fired-and-forgot your purchase for the book, and may not know your purchase was canceled, or to look for a new product page to give it another shot. That’s just not fair to you. You shouldn’t have to do your own legwork to make sure you got the product you paid for, or hunt down new links. That defeats the point of buying it early, to have it ASAP when it’s available. You can learn when new titles are available by joining my mailing list, or following me on twitter, or facebook.
What these problems with preorder mean for me, your friendly neighborhood author:
These problems present a drain on my time and resources, redoing product pages, dealing with customer service, time I’d rather spend writing more for you. This also disrupts the product’s placement on Amazon’s also boughts or onto bestseller or new release lists, crucial tools for getting the books in front of readers. Especially with steamier books, it’s common for KDP to take a substantial amount of time to vet a new title, so submitting a new one, as opposed to submitting updates or simply turning the other page on, can cost upward of a day as they review its content and presentation, all of that before it gets a product page for the author to begin replacing the problem links or directing readers to a new one.
And that’s the rest of the issue; dead links to defunct preorder pages are a disruption for those bloggers or readers who review ahead of time. Or for advertisers who accept an ad for a new release, only to have to similarly revise it to add a new link, or risk forwarding dead content to their readers. It puts strain on the support systems an author needs to get their work to you.
The truth is authors bleed to get new readers, and they are our lifesblood once we get them. So the fact that a system glitch can cause KDP to drop all orders for a title, potentially losing an author all of those readers at once, on top of cutting a book’s visibility… it’s not good. It’s not good for readers. And for me, depending on such an unstable system is not good business.
So here’s the new policy:
To make things more stable, ensure you will get what you purchased the first time, no new preorders will be available through Amazon, although Edgeplay and Queen of Clubs: Crystal‘s preorders are already in motion. Preorders will still be available from other etailers, since they can take extra time to get the title up and I’d rather have it up early than late. But so long as Amazon’s preorders remain so unstable, with so many consequences should they glitch, I no longer feel safe trusting their system, as a reader myself, or as an author.
Since I offered the preorder at $.99 for most new titles, and kept that price for a week after launch to reward those of you who grabbed them right away, I’ll extend that time frame to two weeks. So going forward, I’ll let you guys know the release day as early as I can, and often have the title up a day or two before for a soft launch, and it’ll stay $.99 for a few weeks after launch to give you time to snag it cheaply.
All of this may change, if I feel it’s warranted. But right now, to best serve you, my readers, it doesn’t make sense to trust Amazon’s preorder system to come through for you.
Love and lapdances!