What is the difference between preselling your book and making it available as a preorder on sites like Amazon? Is one better than the other?
Tune in to the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, episode 138, where Autumn and Jesper share the result of a recent experiment, using the pre sales function as mentioned by Mark Coker, the CEO and founder of Smashwords, in episode 118.
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Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. In today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I'm Autumn.
This is episode 138 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. Back in the eighth episode, 118, Autumn talked to special guests, Mark Coker, the CEO and founder of Smashwords. And during that conversation, some new tools where shared, which was around how to resell your books as opposed to set up pre-orders or pre-sale as you write and say, presale you books, as opposed to setup, pre-orders like to do on to Amazon. And you have been testing that out, Autumn.
Autumn (1m 8s):
As always, I'm the perfect Guinea pig for all our experiments. So I tried out for free sales and I have tried out preorders, both on Smashwords in other places. So we have some results to share on some thoughts and tips. If anyone wants to check out this feature and I can't wait to share it, but really today we're both kind of getting back into the driver's seat because you just back from vacation.
Jesper (1m 38s):
Yeah, yeah, indeed. I mean, we recorded the bunch of episodes before the holidays to carry us through. So in reality, well, for the listener, that sounds like it's only been a week, but for us it's been a month since we last recorded anything.
Autumn (1m 51s):
Oh, I know you have to record it even late. Cause we had so much stuff to talk about forehand. So yeah, we have a lot
Jesper (1m 60s):
Of future pants to the future plans to have to talk about
Autumn (2m 5s):
Definitley, but you have a good vacation. It's been good. Yeah.
Jesper (2m 8s):
Good vacation. A lot of relaxation and the doing as little as possible apart from reading a ton of books, I think I managed to read five books, which has never happened before or some of them where a fairly short, but there was also a one very long won in between. And so, yeah, and that was good. And the way it's been busy, so busy coming back, I must say a and the, the, the, the thing is that time off work always makes me think about a million new things. So apart from writing stuff, in what we should write about how we should tackle our next series, which we just talked about offline here, I've also filled up my pocket of marketing ideas, primarily like Facebook ads, strategies.
Jesper (2m 54s):
I think you noticed all in once I started emailing about, can you make new ad images for this and that?
Autumn (3m 1s):
I know you're on vacation. I started getting some new tasks. So I was like, wait, what? So I'm not on vacation. Doesn't mean you could assign me things. Yeah. It, you know, so it was fun. Oh yeah.
Jesper (3m 14s):
Yeah. That, that happens. So, you know, I, I stopped thinking once, once I get down, then my brain start thinking about new things. So I think that's good. It's good to take some time off sometimes.
Autumn (3m 25s):
Yes. I think it is very good. And I have to admit, even though I S I had a total task list that I, I didn't actually get the bottom, have there still few things on my list of things I've meant to do while you're on vacation when we didn't have our normal sessions when we record. So they're still have stuff to do, but I have to be in, I snuck in some extra books and some extra reading as well. So it was nice to meet me. You slow down a little bit and get some reading in it. It was kind of,
Jesper (3m 56s):
Yeah. And the, the other thing that actually happened while I was on vacation was that like, I got an email from the national soccer association. Oh yeah. And they, yeah. They asked me or they sort of, well, how do you say that? But they suggested in a nice way, because they have a position coming up a as to become a referee Instructure oh, instructor, referee Instructure. So they send me the email and says that we would like you to apply for this position, if you would please consider it really. So, yeah. That's pretty cool.
Jesper (4m 36s):
So, and of course there is no guarantees that I will get it. I was not the only one, but I think they have, like, that was five people as something on, on that email that they have picked out and say would like you guys to apply for this. But if I understand correctly, I think there are going to hire a couple. So it's not only one person. I think there are going to be a couple of, but yeah. So as we know from the recording, this podcast, all the courses we do with writing and I love teaching. So I think this is excellent. So I would like to become an instruction. And if I'm honest, one day, at some point in the future, I will not be able to run as well anymore. And she catches up with me.
Jesper (5m 16s):
So maybe teaching would be good to get into.
Autumn (5m 19s):
Yeah. Oh, I can see that. Let's not talk about age because I'm even older than you. So lets just not, that might be that, you know, it's so flattering to even get an email asking you to apply, but good luck. That would be really kinda cool. We just spend like two hours talking to you. You didn't oh, you're just telling me this now. And I always do this on purpose and I think he like holding out on me.
Jesper (5m 46s):
Yeah. I could, I could just say it to the listener that a, we just had a two hour like business and writing meeting. And I think I started up by saying, I want to ask Autumn a question and then I did not ask the question until two hours later and I gave her like three teases throughout the two hours that I'm going to come back to the question
Autumn (6m 7s):
That you didn't know where it was. We go to each other, having to use, I was like, okay, what is this question? And then you have to keep hitting sing about, but if we got through it with the question, we can do it. Yeah. Excellent.
Narrator (6m 24s):
A week on the Internet with the Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (6m 27s):
So Autumn, another thing I want a spring on you here.
Autumn (6m 30s):
Jesper (6m 32s):
Already? We are recording, but the first time in the months, so I'm kind of like coming to the, the gates running now
Autumn (6m 40s):
That you saved all of these things up on you have in place. This is why you been thinking about while you're on vacation are the things that you can the spring on me. No, I know.
Jesper (6m 49s):
No, but this is now on probably a month ago because that's how long it's been since we recorded. What did you notice? How Dominick wave in on Patrion on which one of us? One episode 123 where we did the top 10 lists of the worst characters, all the worst people that we could think about teaching magic. Did you see to the, he actually I have sometimes to say about who
Autumn (7m 15s):
You bring this up 'cause he said you won that's my reading this out. Otherwise you would probably have forgotten about this topic of conversation,
Jesper (7m 30s):
But he did say something else as well. Yeah. He did say something else as well. And that's where I first my memory, he was saying that the way I was trying to move the goalpost and change the rules of our top, Tim you where I have no idea what he means. That's you, that's not as important either. That was the important thing was that you said you wanted, he said that I was the wind up that episode
Autumn (7m 58s):
And he apologize to me, but I don't know that it was just one opinion. I'm still holding out for other's
Jesper (8m 8s):
I'll really oh, patron supporters. Very important. So
Autumn (8m 15s):
Maybe we can double Waite him. At least
Jesper (8m 16s):
They have to say, I want to him, that's it.
Autumn (8m 18s):
Yeah. That's all you need. So know I see how this goes. Oh yeah.
Jesper (8m 24s):
Oh yeah. A quick reminder here. A as I mentioned in the past few weeks, on the past few weeks of episodes and we might just mention it next week as well, but after that it'll be too late. So this is one of those last kind of reminders now. But we have decided to offer everyone on our email list, a massive discount for either one of our flagship courses. So I want to mention that in the autumn,
Autumn (8m 53s):
You said either one, you have forgotten your month off, we decided it was going to be for three, either have the three courses
Jesper (9m 1s):
Three. Yeah. That was you explain what those costs as well.
Autumn (9m 5s):
Obviously I've kept my mind going in. Was it on vacation? But yeah, so we're going to offer coupon for either the ultimate fantasy writer's guide, which is our premium premier writing Corus, the one-stop shop for everything, from how to write, develop ideas, to marketing and building your author brand and platform to crafting incredible fantasy world, which is our world-building mega chorus, which is so freaking awesome. But it'll take you to sort of along the, you will develop a world, not just for a world, but you're going to actually develop it in conjunction with really feeding into your story and creating a world in a story that are combined and just intricate.
Autumn (9m 48s):
Or we decided that you remember it's like, that was like the beginning of the previous episode. We decided we would throw in our master mailing list of course as well. So if you have questions on how to, to email marketing and talk to the readers and turn your readers in the super fans, that of course we'll be having a coupon to only if you sign up for it though.
Jesper (10m 15s):
Yes. So we will be emailing out this voucher. It's going to be $150 off, but if you want to get your hands on it, you'll have to get on the email list fast now because it's going to be super. So you're going to, you are going to be too late. If you don't get on the list quite soon, we have placed in the link in the show notes from where you can do just that. Yeah, but don't linger.
Autumn (10m 38s):
You don't linger where you are going to be signing up for the next time. Maybe we'll know if we, when we decide to do this again today.
Jesper (10m 52s):
So we are going to talk about preorder versus presale as we said up at the top. But I think we need to explain what is the difference here? Yeah.
Autumn (11m 1s):
Think so as to what you, okay. You want me to explain this, right?
Jesper (11m 6s):
Oh no, no. Well you hear me. Oh, okay.
Autumn (11m 9s):
All right. You can see if I get it right. So a pre-order I hopefully a lot of authors are familiar with this though. It was interesting when I was talking to mark Coker that he said that a lot of authors still don't use pre-orders and that typically the authors who do use pre-orders tend to be the higher earning one. So I thought that was the kind of an interesting to statistic, but a pre-order his, when you put up your book and you say it's, it shows up on Amazon, it shows up on Smashwords actually Barnes and noble cobalt. All of those platforms do have pre-orders. And so you'll see it often there is the book cover and it'll say a release date and you can go ahead and click the button so that you were buying technically before it is released, you don't get an actual copy of the book.
Autumn (11m 58s):
You just gets M you get to put on your order or early it's like you don't, you, once it's released, you will be there in the first ones to get it. And most authors, when they do pre-orders often offer a discount. So you're usually buying in. So if you're book is normally four to 99, maybe you're gonna be able to get in 99 cents are 2 99. Then you get a little bit of a discount by ordering it early. And for authors, it's nice because you usually depends on the platform, but often all those sales dumped in on one day was a pre-order often, those first few days after release are the biggest selling days for your book. And that part of that is because you have maybe a month, two month, six months, or even as possible of pre-order where your book shows up as being live.
Autumn (12m 43s):
Some authors, they make it fun and they use M a fake cover. They will just say like cover coming soon. And they'll do a cover reveal and you can do all this stuff. It's kinda if there's a lot of stuff that goes on with pre-orders, but that's it. You put up the book for pre-order and you don't see any money from it until it is finally released. The day that is released, whatever day you decide to have as a really estate now pre-sale is different and is something that smashed where it's has come up with. Those are the only platform I'm doing it. And actually my coworker has put it in four, a patent. He just wants to own this one, which I don't blame him. Cause I have seen Amazon pickup. Some of the things Smashwords does first.
Autumn (13m 26s):
So leave him for, to sign, to kind of copy, write this one himself. But the pre-sale is that in between steppe, you can put your books book up for pre-order and you don't see any money from it until you release it. Presale is that space in between where you put up the book for pre-order you do have to have it up for pre-order and then for certain people, or you could do it for the public at large, it's kind of cool. You can get it into the nitty gritty. You can actually sell the book before its available in stores like Amazon. And what's kind of cool is that means if your book is going to be in the Kindle unlimited, but it isn't released yet. So it's not in Kindle unlimited.
Autumn (14m 8s):
You can actually run a presale and not run a foul of Amazon's terms of service. So that's kind of a cool tidbit if you are a Kindle unlimited customer, but yeah, this gives you a chance. You, you sell it like as a regular book, except for there's some really kind of cool twists and why it works out as a presale. It's very exclusive. And you know how to readers love exclusive deals. This gives you some income between the pre-order and actual launch.
Jesper (14m 39s):
Yeah. Now I haven't tried this pre-sale stuff, but since you had the Guinea pig here, Autumn, but it sounds to me very similar on you. You, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds very similar to what we normally like to do in the, in the sense of, if, for example, we want to release a book in Kindle unlimited. We noticed some readers like to read on Kobo or something. So what is a pretty good strategy is to, for example, if you have something on Patrion, you could go to your readers and say, okay, for during this two week window, you can buy the book via Patrion here.
Jesper (15m 24s):
If you, if you don't wanna buy from Amazon, here's the two week window where you can buy it and you can avoid buying it from Amazon, if you prefer, and then, you know, you can then use book funnel and just post the book from the link inside patrons. So when you buy it from here, but using Patrion that it makes it easier in the sense that they're already paying money in so on so they can download it from there. Or you could, you could do it yourself if you want it to using the sales link directly from BookFunnel. But I guess this the same thing, isn't it?
Autumn (15m 53s):
It is the difference to me. I think the difference. Well, the, but I was talking to mark. I said, oh, well, you know, I already sell my books on my website and I often have done that, releasing it early. And we've done this for our own books if we re released them early from our website. So if you buy directly from us, you know, it's often available a week or two weeks before the preorder date comes up so that we do that. 'cause we get a higher royalty rate, which is fantastic. You could get people to trust us in, come and buy from us directly. Presales are kind of filling that niche. If you do not know how to do that, set up the actual ebook sales directly from your website.
Autumn (16m 34s):
So it works and it, you do get a higher percentage Smashwords set. So does a 80% royalty rate. So that is, you know, better than you're going to get off of Amazon, which was kinda cool. And it sort of that idea, there is a few differences where if there is an anti piracy pledge that people are signing. So that works out really well, that if you're selling the book like literally two months before you would ever released it on the pre-order, you, you, you know, you know, they're not going to be sharing it around other people because that's, oh, you, that would be something that would be concerned about it. If I was doing a pre-sale, that was way out front of my pre-order date. And the other difference is you can actually through M through Smashwords they have, they done it so that they can get a second discount that if they sign up using, in giving you your, their e-mail address and so subscribing to your e-mail rate, they can make me get another small discount or a big discount.
Autumn (17m 34s):
So you could say, pre-sale, it is 4 99. But if you agree to my email list is going to be 2 99. So suddenly this is a way of generating people to get on to your email list. And that's kind of the thing about the pre-sale 'cause if you do that, you would obviously there's two ways of doing the settings and we can talk about the setting's, but you could make it a public one. And so, you know, people who just go to Smashwords where you can just spread the link everywhere, and the people who can go and find it like a regular book, and then they can get a discount. If they sign up to your email list, I was like, oh, that is, you are getting a sale. Is that you're getting money.
Autumn (18m 14s):
And you're getting someone on your email list. That's pretty cool. Or you can do a private link. And so in that case, you're probably just sharing the private linked, like you sent to your Patriot supporters or the people that are already on your email list. Well, in that case, they're probably not going to care too much about signing up for your e-mail list. Cause they were already on your email list. They probably can still sign up and get the discount. But yeah, in that case, when you have a private link, if you know that little extra coupon deal, isn't that exciting though. Speaking of coupons Smashwords is one of those places that does offer coupons that you can use and generate, and you can use those coupon codes with the presale.
Autumn (18m 56s):
So if you want to do still do something exclusive too, the readers who are specifically on your email list, you can give them, Hey, go and get this book on presale before it's out in stores. And if you use this code, you can get 10, 25% as well. So if you could make people get so excited, you could, you make the coupon good only for one or two people and use it as a give-away there's a lot of fun things you can do with the presale length and how they have it set up.
Jesper (19m 27s):
Yeah. Yeah. I can see that, that, that is different than the, for sure. The, the, the part about getting people to sign up. That's not something that you can do anywhere else. So that is quite unique. It was.
Autumn (19m 37s):
So that's why he kinda convinced me to like, oh, I know you're selling books on your own website, but you should give this a try because you can generate people signing up to your email list. And I'm like, okay. That is, that is pretty gosh. Darn cool.
Jesper (19m 50s):
Yeah. And the other thing about is that if all of the setting up have the payment modules on your website or setting up the payment collection, some of our books on which you can do now-a-days, but if all of that feels too daunting and to technical than at least this, I mean, it's probably like ticking a box when you have uploaded Smashwords anyway, isn't it?
Autumn (20m 11s):
Oh, it was two pages, but mostly just radio button check boxes. So yeah, you have to start by uploading you're pre-order and the caveat you have to have your completed final manuscript. So, you know, often with pre-orders people set it up and they're like, okay, you know, S Amazons like gives you five days'. You have to have it before release that you need to have the final version of uploaded on this case. You need to have your final version. So you have to plan ahead and you have to have the final book. And that's I think really the key here. So you're purposefully pushing off your pre-order, even though you have the final book, instead of releasing it, just to use the pre-sale.
Autumn (20m 52s):
But yeah, once you have that uploaded, there's literally a button in your Smashwords dashboard that says, Hey, you know, sign up for pre-sale and you go through a few questions, like, do you want to public? Or do you want the private, do you want to offer a discount through email? Do you want people to have to sign up the, the antipiracy pledge? And you answered this really quick questions. There are mostly radio buttons, just like thinking about it and have done. And off it goes it's up there. And whether it's public or giving you a private link, there you go. It's it's really pretty painless. I will say.
Jesper (21m 28s):
Yeah, the, that is pretty cool. And of course the nice thing being as well, that with the presale here, you're, you're collecting the money right away. I, I guess, I mean, some people might not know, but for example, if you are doing pre-orders on Amazon a if the reader then seize you, pre-order on Amazon and they buy via the pre-order, like you said before, it's not going to be delivered also not charged until the date that pre-order goes like, but what some people might not know is that Amazon actually does not count pre-orders against your bestseller rank or the book rank on the release date now.
Jesper (22m 11s):
Autumn (22m 12s):
The time to go, but not in here.
Jesper (22m 15s):
No. So basically the stuff that you sell during your preorder is not going to help on your ranking at all. So of course, if you're white, other retailers do not punish you like this. And honestly, I feel like it is Amazon punishing you for doing pre pre-orders, which I don't understand why. No, but they do. There's probably some reason for it, for somebody in the past who was gamed the system, and then they have done something like this. I couldn't imagine, but I don't know. But on the contrary, the other retailers, they will actually give you a bonus on release day. So the pre-order will increase your visibility in their store, but your ranking will also increase from the cumulative buys when the book goes live.
Jesper (22m 55s):
So you actually getting a booster twice, if you are using pre-orders on the other retailers, which is quite cool that, but of course we know 90% of all the book sales for most authors comes from Amazon. So that means that Amazon in general are the only one we are majorly concerned and focused on, unfortunately, but that's how life is we. This also means that the pre-orders in Amazon, I guess that the reason we usually use pre-orders of them. Yes. But the reason we do it is not because it's going to help on the ranking or, and also not because it's going to help on the more sales and so on.
Jesper (23m 37s):
But actually the reason is just because it can be very stressful when you have a deadline and when you have a pre all the way that we do it, because Amazon is not very flexible in moving the dates at all now. But I think if they allow for you to do it once that one today, what are
Autumn (23m 57s):
The days? And that is yeah,
Jesper (24m 0s):
But what we normally do is that we make sure that we have the entire book ready and done and final. So we actually will, we could of done is we could just release it and make it public. But we already said it. We always set it up as a pre-order for one, because there was no stress. Then we don't have a deadline by which we need to upload the final files because we already did. But the other thing is that then that allows us to run some of these other things, doing the pre-order a meaning, for example, then we can tell people, Hey, if you want it earlier, you can buy it directly from us. Of course, we do have all these websites, shenanigans that we need to take care, have a lot of them gets to do, but the, but then we have that possibility too, to sell the book directly.
Jesper (24m 46s):
And 'cause, we can offer that earlier than other people getting it from buying on Amazon, there was an incentive, they have to buy it directly from us. And of course we want people to buy directly because then we were getting the full royalty ourselves. We don't have to pay 30% to Amazon for instance. And the other thing is that we need, we don't do this always on in, but sometimes we do, we like to run some sort of giveaways or something related to the, to the action release of this new book, just to get the word of mouth going as well and, and people sharing online and so on and so on. So you can do some, have all of these other things when it's on pre-order technically you could also do it if you just pop into the book.
Jesper (25m 31s):
But the problem is that when there is no time limit limit on things, you could come up with some arbitrary, the time name on and say, you have to do this within one week to get this price. You could do that as well, if you want it to. But yeah, but when you do and the, yeah,
Autumn (25m 48s):
Yeah. If you do the pre-order though, you can, Elise, you can get people excited about the giveaway. You know, you have you, maybe you have a month or two months to tell people when this releases there's going to be one week where if you get back to me with the first word in chapter 28, then you will be in for a drawling. You know, you get the two month window to let people know about that. Where if you just released the book and you say, OK, you have one a week to do that. If it's you just have those that one week to tell people, Hey, do this and you can get into it. So the time limit is totally different. And I'm surprised you didn't mentioned this, but with you, you have a pre-order you have the website where the book is going to be live. So if you want to set up any advertising, you have the link to the website where, or the book's going to be live.
Autumn (26m 32s):
You can actually get all your ducks in a row and have your advertising ready for launch week. And that's that's to me, I think Y the authors who do do pre-orders, they have all their ducks in a row. They have the advertising, they have the giveaway are the scavenger hunt after release. They have all of this excitement going on and they use that pre-order period to generate that excitement and to get people ready. And really, they know the rules, they, they know what's going to happen and they can celebrate what the author, where they author said, oh, by the way, really start yesterday that I'll tell you, you're like, Ugh, okay, what you said, you don't feel quite catching and you have to catch up. So I think pre-orders, Mmm.
Autumn (27m 13s):
Yeah, you have to have all your stuff together in the beginning, but it gives you a chance to have a lot more fun. And I think to celebrate, because you're not freaking out that you need to get the final format done and getting up there and all of those other things it's already to go, and you can kinda kick back in and just do some Instagram posts on it.
Jesper (27m 33s):
Oh yeah. I, at least I feel like the entire release process of a new book is it's less stressful. Once everything is just on pre-order and you have your time to get all those ducks in a row and so on and so on, and this is how I feel, but I do also know, and I have a full disclosure here. I do know that there are some disadvantages they have, and I mentioned before, right? Ah, how its in a sales on not counting against your sales rank and so on. So there are definitely this advantages to doing pre-orders but yeah, to me taking the stress out of the picture. Oh yeah, yeah. That is worth some money to
Autumn (28m 8s):
Me. Yeah, I agree. And it is interesting. So I did try to with a presale, I ran it on the last book in my tainted face series instead of putting it up for sale early on my website. And actually I've always been, I'm not a good procrastinator. I always do stuff as soon as I'm supposed to. Or like that's why assigned times and deadlines for it because if I don't do it when I meant to, and then forgot to do it. So I still have to put up the final books for sale on my website, which I do have some odd, some readers who always wait for me to do that. And I'm just realized that and I now feel really guilty and I've got to go on my website and get it all set up. But if you, I did try it out.
Autumn (28m 48s):
So instead of selling it directly on my website, I decided to do it and Smashwords pre-sale and I think it had mixed results. You know, it was hard because I only tried it once and I literally only did it as a two week window 'cause as you and I both know, I was very behind getting this last book out the door. It was very long, 150,000 words. So I it's not horribly long, but it was so long and I have other projects and other things going on. So it kinda got backburnered when it should of been front in Bernard. And I only had a two week pre-sale trial, but I did it public. And I also did it, did send the link to the mailing list and I did have a lot of people go and check it out, but I will have it.
Autumn (29m 31s):
The final result is I did not have a ton of sales. I think just like pre-orders just with everything is you have to have your ducks in a row and you have to let people know you have be either advertising it or on social media and posting about it in telling your newsletter quite a few times. And I think there's one, maybe two other things that might cause people to hesitate before they go and buy your presale book office Smashwords and I dunno if you can guess what those are you. Mm, Nope. I've got to put you on this, but
Jesper (30m 8s):
It's very late from you. My brain is not working. Oh, you know it is, we are recording now. My brain is not working anymore. You
Autumn (30m 14s):
Just going to make me to take pity on you. Cause you know, I always do. But the first one is not many leaders to know what Smashwords is. So they it's not Amazon. It's not Kobo. It's not Barnes and noble. And goodness know Smashwords has been around almost as long as Amazon has been selling eBooks, but still it's never made it in to that big name categories. So they see Smashwords and they're like, oh K and new profile and knew place to have library of books. And I do you think it's unfortunate. It's out of the problem. It's always as problem, but of all the seller's that are out there and Smashwords M really does it's best authors are from indie authors are from a third near and dear to mark Coker his heart.
Autumn (30m 58s):
He is an indie author. That's why he created this platform. So I, I respect so much that he does for indie authors. And that's what I try to tell people about smash where it's, because I don't want to see this one go away. I had like the pronoun when the pronoun was out there for authors. Oh, it was just a fantastic thing. And when they collapsed and closed up shop, I was very sad, but Smashwords, I don't want to see that happen because they have been leading a forefront of stuff and tools that are available to authors, indie authors, that the other platforms are slowly putting into place as well. So there are kind of like, you know, there, there scavenging off of smash words like coupons Smashwords you used to be the only place where you could create your own coupons.
Autumn (31m 43s):
And I just saw, I don't know if it was Kobo. I forget which other platform now allows you to do that as well. I was like, oh, I know where they got that from. They did not come up with that on their own and they're not doing it just to me that they're not doing adjust to compete with Amazon. They're doing it to compete with Smashwords actually. So that's one thing to keep in mind. So yes you, are you going to have some readers who maybe they'll follow the link and they'll see Smashwords I don't know. I don't know if I want to start a whole new profile. So I think you have that going against you. And then the other one in, I almost feel guilty saying this one. So I'm surprised you didn't guess, but have you been on the smash where its website and looked at it recently that you can think of it, but it was developed in, in 2010 ish I'm and it looks like it was developed in 2010 ish.
Autumn (32m 34s):
And to me that as it's so superficial to say is that, but it's a problem if you've never seen Smashwords not following it, you don't think it's superficial.
Jesper (32m 46s):
No, I don't think the superficial, because I mean, if you, if you come to a website or you, I mean, it's similar to that. So imagine somebody who wants to let's say buy one of our courses, for example. Yes. And then they go on to Am Writing fences, you have.com and this is something that could of been developed like 15 years ago. Would you, by the cost of, I wouldn't, I would think like, well, okay, if this is the quality than I don't wanna do that. So I understand that part, but I think even more, your first point is probably even more important in the sense that if you think about like the average reader, if you are, let's say you used to buying books on Kindle or even on Kobo, it doesn't matter.
Jesper (33m 26s):
But you, you used to buying eBooks from one of the major retailers like Kobo or Amazon. So you go on to Amazon, you find the book you wanna buy, you put a, you press, the one-click buy. And the, you say delivered too. My Kindle and whipped. You have to you the books on your Kindle, right? And as soon as you take the reader out of that environment, the first thing they will be asking themselves is how do I get this file on to my Kindle now? Because I can't click that button where it says delivered to my Kindle. And it might be that, you know, that it, at the end of the day, it's quite easy with Smashwords and so on it's because we sometimes have to same problem with BookFunnel yeah.
Jesper (34m 6s):
Where some readers comes to it and they didn't like, they don't understand how they can download the book and get on the kennel from BookFunnel. Even though like, there, there, there is like a button like click here and then on does a good job in explaining how to do it. And it's very, very easy, but I can easily say that because I've done it so many times. But for the, for the like 65 year old lady who likes to read fantasy books and just goes and click one button on Amazon and the need, the P S Kindle for her to go to BookFunnel or to go to the Smashwords so someplace where she's not used to be and freak out how to, which buttons to click to get. And it might be easy for us because we're used to this and we work in this environment everyday, but I think we have to keep in mind that most Redis they don't right.
Jesper (34m 53s):
That they are not familiar with all these different sites and services and whatnot. So for them it's massively confusing. Yeah,
Autumn (35m 1s):
I think, yeah. And in that case, you know, you're, you, maybe you get so send people there because they were really excited. Cause I had a ton of people who have followed the link to go and see like, oh my gosh, the books available in the last book in the series is available early. They were excited. But when you have never been to Smashwords before, if you don't know this story, because you know, what are the readers care that they support in the authors? And they're really fantastic. And all that, they land on a website that was built in 2010 and looked like it was build in 2010 and then they might not feel that comfortable saying, yeah, I can totally use and go with it. And I feel comfortable. I know they're going to support me if it's, it doesn't have that feeling that, that kind of sleek look, modern look.
Autumn (35m 47s):
And I'm like I said, it as part of me feels bad saying that because I know, I know how many people I've uploaded a book there and they're like your 28 in line to have him, you know, converted in, turned on to a computer, into a book because there's 28 people ahead of me uploading books at the exact same time. This website is active. All the time books are being published at all in on all the time. And I redesigned our course website while it was live. And even though I knew what I was doing to then take it from the staging site too, the actual website while it was live. And we have students who are like taking the class, even though, you know, you, you tell them I'm gonna to take you down for like two, three hours.
Autumn (36m 30s):
Hopefully everything will be fine. It's wracking it. It's a lot of work. And I can't imagine doing that on a website, the size of Smashwords actually that's oh yeah, for sure. I, there is a really funny story in, I cannot remember which book store it is, but they went and did an update recently and they accidentally turned everyone's book into the exact same one, like this dragon book, which it looks so as the dragon book and they apologized profusely. But I couldn't imagine being on the other side, having pushed the staging site to live and then going wholly, oh my God.
Autumn (37m 11s):
Yeah. We just screwed up the entire website. I would not, you could not pay well, you, you would have to pay me. Gosh, awful. A lot of money to put up with that level of paranoid craps so I can understand why the website, it hasn't been updated yet, but it shows, and I think it does hurt Smashwords itself. And also you, if you're using it in your sending readers who don't understand what Smashwords is, and they looked at the website and going, and it looks like, you know, 2010 Yahoo Yahoo or something, it does not look sleek and pretty. And so those are the right to especially also let me see.
Jesper (37m 51s):
Yeah, we actually also 'cause we were talking about putting in your credit card somewhere. Right. And, and that's where there that's really where the big barrier is because even getting people to, I mean, we've been talking at some point in the past, we talked about maybe if we, because there is quite a lot of people who don't like Facebook and probably like a year or maybe two years, I can't remember what quite a long, a while ago, before the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group became what it is today. There was a point in time when we were sort of debating, should we stay on Facebook? Or should we move somewhere else to mighty networks? We talked about at some point. Absolutely. But also then that doesn't even cost money for people.
Jesper (38m 32s):
But just the fact that you have to create a new user profile somewhere on the mighty networks app that you don't know, you're not familiar with it, that Facebook has on your phone. Everybody knows it. Everybody uses it. So already there is a barrier, but that if you then add on top that you need to put on your credit card and you don't know the brand, you don't notice. And maybe if it looks a bit dated as well, you could be worried about safety, ah, of putting on your credit card information as well. I mean, there's just so many barriers that you need to get across there and it's really not easy.
Autumn (39m 4s):
It is not. And I saw that with my results. Like I said, I did not advertise it heavy. I was just kind of, you, you know, that it was just, I was happy that we get the book out. Oh, that's that was done. I was happy with that. I was, I should have marketed it a hell of a lot more, but even so I did not see many for the number of people who did follow the list. Cause we have quite a big e-mail of reader list and to see the number of people who did follow it versus the number of people who, because you can see the status, I will say that in Smashwords that gives you a great stat. So you can see how many people looked at it. How many people download it to the sample, how many people bought it, those are all clearly laid out for you in your dashboard.
Autumn (39m 44s):
And to see those, the number of people who went and looked at the book versus the number of that. So that I actually went and bought that. You're like, yeah, that's something, these are readers who desperately want the last book in the series. And I did not have a ton of people biting it. I get more people who would buy it from me directly from my website. So this shows that there was something about the presale, something about that. That was just like people where like it's something stopped them from actually buying the book early. And as a reader who just, while you're on vacation, I red seven books, I've read the whole everything in lay BARR to NGOs M Grisha vers. So I ran all of her books. And as if I do, I can get one of the, the next one that she hints at early, I wouldn't be buying.
Autumn (40m 32s):
So knowing that if you're hopefully developing fans, who are that excited for the last book in the series, and they're not willing to pull out their credit card, something was stopping them. And my guess is not that they didn't want my book. It's something on the website.
Jesper (40m 48s):
Hm. But of course all have that doesn't change that a, the pre-sales function that my Coca and, and Smashwords developed in. It's very, very cool. So I would still say if, if the listener here missed out on the details, then go back and listen, listen to episode 118. When autumn talked to my coach and you can hear a lot more details about all the things this map, which can do if it was a very good interview. So
Autumn (41m 16s):
Yeah. Oh, in there just so people can know. I mean, there they work as a distributor or that you can send out your pre-orders to Cabo all those other platforms. I still like it. And they have an amazing customer service. So, you know, feel free to join, create an account. I think they're better than digital in many ways. And then send them a message saying, Hey, where are you gonna update your website, helped me out.
Jesper (41m 43s):
And don't see that autumn asked you to say,
Autumn (41m 46s):
Please don't get that mad at me. We've had a great conversation.
Jesper (41m 53s):
Oh right. So next Monday we are looking into a topic which has actually been brought up several times by different people. And that is how relevant race and gender is in fantasy.
Narrator (42m 4s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to SUPPORT THE AM WRITING FANTASY PODCAST. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. For as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.