Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pre-Order My Book! (With Bonus Industry Wonkiness)

I have probably been somewhat neglectful in waiting this long to formally post this information, but, there was a honeymoon involved and some proofreading and some, well, pretty basic reluctance to engage in any kind of overt self-promotion. So....

Holy crap, guys. This is my book.
Pre-order my book here from Porter Square Books. I will sign books ordered from PSB, just put "signed" in the order comment. I'll also add any personalization or message you like. Just put that request in the comments field as well. (One of you is getting a “mint condition copy of the book, suitable for preserving in a shadow-box," but you don't have to put anything in the comments field. I know who you are.) If you are big into shopping local, go here and find your local indie bookstore. There are, of course, other options, and if any of those options are your preferred option just cut and paste “An Exaggerated Murder by Josh Cook” into the search engine of your choice and you'll find it. And, for you digital readers, the e-book will be available in all the major formats. (Pre-orderable, preferably here of course.)

And yes, pre-orders are important. Here's why. (This is the bonus wonkiness.)

Publishing and selling a book is a gamble—investment. Investment. No matter how much data they might have and no matter how much experience they may have, publishers and bookstores pretty much just guess how many copies a book will sell. For the publisher, each and every book is a multi-thousand (or million) dollar gamble—investment. Investment. Pre-orders lessen the risk of these investments in three ways.

Sorry. Just wanted to look at it again. Holy crap! My book!
First pre-orders represent an early return on investment. One of the biggest challenges publishers face (that bookstores don't quite so much) is the sheer distance between the investment and the return. Typically, the time between the initial expense of an author advance (I'm not even counting the cost of an acquisitions editor) and actual sales of the book is a year at minimum, a year in which the publisher pretty much spends money constantly on the book. And even once sales begin, publishers really don't know what they've made back from their investment until months after the book has been released. It is a lot of time to keep the lights on. Pre-orders inject early cash into the economic equation of bookselling. (Via money to bookstores who then pay publishers.)

Second, pre-orders give at least a glimpse of how the book will sell. Before anything organic can build, before booksellers start handselling, and before reviews start coming in, pre-orders give the publisher a sense of what kind of sales the book (and author) can generate pretty much on their own. They reflect an existing fan base. That information is extremely useful in, not just setting a publicity budget for the book, but in determining how and where to spend it. It can also be very useful in deciding where to send an author or tour or even if to send an author on tour.

Yep. Author photo. Yep.
Finally, they encourage book stores to order more copies and the more copies there are in circulation the more likely the book will sell well. ("Stack 'em high and watch 'em fly," is a real thing said about selling books.) It really is truly amazing how many books are not sold, just because there wasn't a copy of the book on the shelf, at the moment. I mean, books aren't fish. If you wanted it on Friday, it'll still be good on Tuesday. But many, many people just won't wait a weekend. If the book isn't there when they want to buy it, they just won't buy it. But if a store has five pre-orders for a book, odds are pretty good the store will order ten, or even fifteen. And if a store starts out with five or ten books on the shelf, they will be less likely to run out of copies before they have a chance to restock, and thus, less likely to lose those impulse sales.

Of course publishing is still a gamble—investment. Investment. But, pre-orders do help mitigate that risk, so if you're a fan of an author or want to support that author, pre-ordering their book is a great way to do it. (Here's that link to my book again, you know, just in case you were waiting to see how the wonkiness went before pulling the trigger.) 
Sorry. It's just a real thing that is real and I like to look at it being real. (And it's a wicked cool cover).

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