Saturday, January 14, 2023

E-Book Preorders: Best Practices and Issues

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.)

So I ran into a situation a little while ago that got me thinking about book sales, and once you read it, I hope you'll (thoughtfully and respectfully) opine in the comments. It has to do with best practices in e-book preorders.

As you've probably noticed in the post wrapping up my 2022 Reading Year, I read A LOT of books. One of the things that makes a high number easy for me to achieve is the ability to binge books in a series. I tend to read authors who have at least four or five books in a series before I begin so if I get sucked in, I can keep going. So whether this means the library has them in stock, they're on Kindle Unlimited, or they're at an affordable price point in an e-book edition—whatever the situation, if I can binge 'em, I will. 

The question is what to do when the series comes to an end and you see the next item in the series is available for preorder. Do you preorder the book, or do you wait for it to be released? And then if you decide to preorder, do you visit the author's website and buy direct, or do you do it through a major retailer such as Amazon?

A hand pushes a stack of books into an e-reader



Let's review some of the pros and cons of preorders.

Pros of Preorders for the Reader:
  1. You get the book as soon as it is released and will be notified that it's out, which is both convenient and a way to ensure you won't miss out.
  2. If purchasing on a major vendor's website, such as Amazon or other retailers, the process is streamlined, and, at least in the case of Amazon, protected if anything goes wrong.
Cons of Preorders for the Reader:
  1. You're waiting for a book you really, really want to read! (j/k—You'd be waiting anyway!)
  2. What if the author doesn't deliver? How would you feel about that risk? Are you okay with late delivery? Or do you have recourse for a refund if they never publish the book?
Pros of Preorders for the Author
  1. It fosters a relationship with readers and ensures continuity of readership.
  2. Advanced sales = advanced payments.
  3. By offering sales on their own website, authors keep a higher percentage from the sales. (This is according to authors I've spoken to or have seen talking about it online.)
Cons of Preorders for the Author
  1. There's pressure to deliver on time, sometimes with tight publishing schedules
  2. The added burden of juggling multiple series can lead to throwing every series into a deadline tailspin if one is late.
  3. Being late or not following through can lead to reader dissatisfaction.

Is there anything I haven't thought of in these lists? 

So what was the scenario I recently encountered?

What Happened When I Preordered 2 Books

I read several books of a series and enjoyed them very much. The first book was free, and that hooked me in on the rest of the series. Great strategy! They were utterly bingeable. I was using my Kindle, and after finishing the last available book, I saw another book in the series, but not the NEXT book, was available for preorder on Amazon, so I preordered it.  We'll call this book "A."

But then I realized, "Hey, this is book A, not the next book in the series, book 'B'... where is that one?" (Yeah, I was slow on the uptake. 😁)

So I Googled the author, found their website, and realized they had book B available for presale on their own site. Figuring they were in the process of moving book sales over to their site instead of residing solely at Amazon (something I've seen authors do), I preordered book B from their site and left my preorder of book A at Amazon. I received purchase confirmation from BookFunnel, who would distribute the book when the files were uploaded.

Well, the expected launch date came and went, and no book arrived. But I did get an email from the author a few days after it was supposed to have been published. The author explained that they had been ill, had fallen way behind, and that the lack of delivery was not in any way BookFunnel's fault. The author took full responsibility and offered either a refund or to wait until the end of September, when the book would be published and delivered via BookFunnel.

Super classy, right? I really appreciated this email, and since I understood completely how illness can set one back, I replied that I'd wait for the book at end of September and sent good wishes about the illness. 

Unfortunately, the book never arrived. By the end of November, I reached out to the author and asked for an update. I was willing to assume I'd missed an email or if they were still delayed, they'd tell me—and I'd be okay with whatever the scenario was, because illnesses these days are rampant and troubling.

No response. I began to worry, because we all know how devastating the last few years have been, so I checked their social media and while their presence wasn't super regular, they did appear to be still alive. Okay, good! But I hadn't gotten a response to my question, so by mid-December, I reached out to BookFunnel to see if there was an update on their end. Interestingly, BookFunnel informed me that they've been emailing the author repeatedly about when they'd be uploading book B, with no response. At that time, book B was now a couple of months late.

After a couple of weeks, BookFunnel said the files were uploaded as of December 23rd. I was excited to hear this and rushed to the site, downloaded my copy and ... wait. Why it is only 10 pages? 

The upload only contained Chapter 1! I reached back out to BookFunnel to ask if it's possible there's an error with the file. BookFunnel's response was that they'd reach back out to author and try to get an idea of what happened.

Okay, I know mercury is in retrograde and all, but this was bordering on comically funny!

Now for the plot twist: Amazon canceled my preorder of book A! This had me back to worrying about the author. 

Anyway, as I'm writing a book myself, it is eye-opening for me to think about this from an author perspective and not just a reader perspective. I began to write down some best practices from both sides.
 

Best Practices

Authors: Communication and managing reader expectations is important. If you don't do these two very important things, you may lose your audience, which means you'll lose income and create bad will. If you're juggling too much, take a breath, slow down, refigure your due dates, and communicate—not just a one-off email, but often—with your readership. In this case, I've seen a few people get really frustrated with book B being late as well as book A being canceled by Amazon because according to them, they have no idea what's going on. But I don't know where that gap is in this situation. I feel like author was pretty clear they were having health issues in that first round of communicating, so did the other fans miss that email? I don't know.

Readers: Consider whether you're comfortable giving an author money for a preorder. Do some research on how they treat their fans, if they deliver on time, and also check in with yourself about how you'll feel if they're late. They're human, so try to be patient, but at the end of the day, it's up to you to decide how you'll spend your money. If you're someone who will get upset if the book doesn't arrive on time, consider not preordering at all. If you prefer waiting until the book is published but are concerned you will miss out, you can follow the author on social media, mailing list, or even clicking "Follow" on Goodreads or Amazon if you want to be notified of a new book. 

Coda to My Situation

For this instance, I'm glad I kept my head, remembered to be patient and kind toward someone who is struggling with health issues, and realized that at the end of the day, the world won't end if I don't read another book in the series anytime soon. Let them get their health sorted, first. 

Also, I had never heard of the author before I started reading their books via Kindle. I wasn't in their reading/fan groups, social media follows, or email list. (I've since rectified this.) But while the author was a little slow to respond, they DID stay in communication with me. I get what they are going through. And they have kindly offered me a refund since a few deadlines have come and gone, which I have accepted.

As to late delivery in general, I'm okay with mistakes especially if the communication is decent. I completely understand deadlines snowballing and unanswered emails piling up. I have assured author that while I'm accepting a refund now, I will definitely support their work going forward whenever they do publish another book in the series by purchasing, reading, and reviewing.

And on a side note, this is a reminder to me to always listen to my intuition. When I preordered book B on the author's website, I had a little niggling feeling somewhere inside, but I got wrapped up in the idea that the expected publish date would be pretty soon after my purchase and, well, I couldn't wait to read it. I had no idea what that little feeling meant at the time, but it is a tiny validation to me that my intuition is always right when I bother to listen to it, LOL!

I'm sending all the best out to this author. They have really been through it, and it must be so stressful to want to satisfy readers while figuring out what's going on with a serious illness. 

Finally, in my editing business I bill myself as an "author advocate," so I'm sure this comes as no surprise: It's my hope that when readers encounter an issue with a preorder, instead of getting angry and reactive, they will have a little patience for the authors they follow, take time to find out what's going on, and be kind. I also hope readers will have a little self-awareness about their own expectations, review the pros and cons listed above, and make informed decisions before preordering.



Monday, January 2, 2023

2022 Reads

(Following links on this blog may result in my earning a small fee. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Happy New Year! As promised in a prior post, here is the list of books I read in 2022. These don't include books I edited, but may include books I've beta read or had an advanced reader copy from the author. 

I used to post these on my Facebook page, but that got onerous, so I am now simply relying on my Goodreads records to create this list. Apologies if anything gets missed or reported incorrectly.

A background of bookshelves with text that says Books Read 2022 #BethsReads2022 bethwojiski.com

As you'll see, I have a habit of binge reading books in a series if I like them well enough. A Kindle Unlimited subscription has been key to that, but many books I bought either through Amazon (Kindle editions), in hard copy (through a publisher website, indie bookstore, used bookstore, thrift shop, or directly from the author), or borrowed from the library. 

Also included are audiobooks that I finished listening to in 2022. Since audiobooks take more time to listen to than reading a paper or electronic copy, and I have a desire to highlight that listening to audiobooks is still reading especially for the visually impaired, these are included.

Okay, drumroll please! 

Grand total: 112 books read in 2022!


Below is the list in full. Links go to Amazon pages. Please see my affiliate link disclosure in the side bar and at the bottom of this post.
  1. Sewn At The Crime (Stitches In Crime, #6) by A. C. F. Bookens (link)
  2. Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch by Ruth Cowen (audiobook) (link)
  3. A Cauldron of Deceptions (A Cozy Mystery Tribe Anthology, #2) by Verena DeLuca et al. (link)
  4. In Dog We Trust (Golden Retriever Mystery #1) by Neil S. Plakcy (link)
  5. The Kingdom of Dog by Neil S. Plakcy (link)
  6. Dog Helps Those (Golden Retriever Mysteries Book 3) by Neil S. Plakcy (link)
  7. I Will Find You by Amanda Rigby (link)
  8. Ghostly Photographs: Ghost Stories You Can See with Your Own Eyes by Julie Griffin (link)
  9. X Marks the Murder: A Wendy Grace Mystery (Wendy Grace Mysteries) by Pam Stucky (link)
  10. Midnight in Silverton: American Gothic by Adam Copeland (link)
  11. Blood and Back Stitches (Stitches In Crime, #7) by A. C. F. Bookens (link)
  12. The Blue Virgin (Nora Tierney, #1) by Marni Graff (link)
  13. Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson (audiobook) (link)
  14. The Green Remains (Nora Tierney #2) by Marni Graff (link)
  15. I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb (link)
  16. The Scarlet Wench (Nora Tierney, #3) by Marni Graff (link)
  17. The Golden Hour (Nora Tierny #4) by Marni Graff (link)
  18. Sasquatch by K. T. Tomb (link)
  19. Sasquatch Found by K. T. Tomb (link)
  20. Big Shot (A Big Murder Mystery #1) by Kirsten Weiss (link)
  21. The Evening's Amethyst (Nora Tierney #5) by Marni Graff (link)
  22. Never Too Late (Detective Sebastian Clifford, #3) by Sally Rigby (link)
  23. Fatal Floss (Stitches In Crime, #8) by A. C. F. Bookens (link)
  24. Live and Let Diet (Australian Amateur Sleuth #1) by Morgana Best (link)
  25. Natural-born Grillers (Australian Amateur Sleuth #2) by Morgana Best (link)
  26. Dye Hard (Australian Amateur Sleuth #3) by Morgana Best (link)
  27. The Prawn Identity (Australian Amateur Sleuth #4) by Morgana Best (link)
  28. Any Given Sundae (Australian Amateur Sleuth #5) by Morgana Best (link)
  29. Last Mango in Paris (Australian Amateur Sleuth #6) b Morgana Best (link)
  30. Tequila Mockingbird (Australian Amateur Sleuth #7) by Morgana Best (link)
  31. Bake Sale Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #13) by Leslie Meier (link)
  32. The Ghostly Grounds: Murder and Breakfast (Canine Casper Cozy Mystery #1) by Sophie Love (link)
  33. The Ghostly Grounds: Death and Brunch (A Canine Casper Cozy Mystery #2) by Sophie Love (link)
  34. The Ghostly Grounds: Malice and Lunch (A Canine Casper Cozy Mystery #3) by Sophie Love (link)
  35. The Ghostly Grounds: Vengeance and Dinner (A Canine Casper Cozy Mystery #4) by Sophie Love (link)
  36. The Ghostly Grounds: Scandal and Supper (A Canine Casper Cozy Mystery #5) by Sophie Love  (link)
  37. The Ghostly Grounds: Disaster and Dessert (A Canine Casper Cozy Mystery #6) by Sophie Love (link)
  38. Secrets of Sunshine Inn: Prequel (A Crystal Coast Series): A Clean Mystery Romance by Annie Diamond (link)
  39. Secrets of Sunshine Inn Book One (A Crystal Coast Series): A Clean Mystery Romance by Annie Diamond (link)
  40. Secrets of Sunshine Inn Book Two (A Crystal Coast Series): A Clean Mystery Romance by Annie Diamond (link)
  41. The House on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #1) by Karen White (link)
  42. The Girl On Legare Street (Tradd Street, #2) by Karen White (link)
  43. The Strangers on Montagu Street (Tradd Street, #3) by Karen White (link)
  44. Return to Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #4) by Karen White (link)
  45. The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street, #5) by Karen White (link)
  46. The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #6) by Karen White (link)
  47. The Attic on Queen Street (Tradd Street, #7) by Karen White (link)
  48. The Shop on Royal Street (Royal Street, #1) by Karen White (link)
  49. One Bed Over: A Hospital Haunting by Alex Matsuo (link)
  50. Below the Surface by Karen Harper (link)
  51. The Island by Heather Graham (link)
  52. British Manor Murder by Leslie Meier (link)
  53. Broken Screams (Cavendish & Walker, #12) by Sally Rigby (link)
  54. The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck (link)
  55. The Carousel Capers by Elle Hartford (link)
  56. Amazing Grace by John G. Hartness (link)
  57. Guinevere's Revenge: A Stella Hart Romantic Mystery by Lucy Blue (link)
  58. Murder at the Manor (Tommy & Evelyn Christie #1) by Catherine Coles (link)
  59. Murder at the Village Fete (Tommy & Evelyn Christie #2) by Catherine Coles (link)
  60. Murder in the Churchyard: A 1920s cozy mystery (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery Book 3) by Catherine Coles (link)
  61. Murder in Belgrave Square: A 1920s cozy mystery (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery Book 4) by Catherine Coles (link)
  62. Murder at the Wedding Chapel: A 1920s cozy mystery (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery Book 5) by Catherine Coles (link)
  63. Murder at Rochester Park: A 1920s Cozy Mystery (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery Book 6) by Catherine Coles (link)
  64. Murder in the South of France (Maggie Newberry Mysteries #1) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  65. Murder à la Carte (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #2) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  66. Murder in Provence (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #3) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  67. Murder in Paris (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #4) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  68. Murder In Aix (Maggie Newberry Mysteries #5) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  69. Quantum Consciousness: Journey Through Other Realms by Peter Smith (link)
  70. Murder in Nice (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #6) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  71. The Americans Are Coming: An Applegate Mystery by Sherri Lupton Hollister (link)
  72. A Trifle Dead (Cafe La Femme, #1) by Livia Day (link)
  73. Murder in the Latin Quarter (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #7) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  74. Murder in the Abbey (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #8) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  75. Murder in the Bistro (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #9) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  76. Murder in Cannes (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #10) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  77. Murder in Grenoble (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #11) by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (link)
  78. Bingoed (Essie Cobb Senior Sleuth, #1) by Patricia Rockwell (link)
  79. Papoosed (Essie Cobb Senior Sleuth, #2) by Patricia Rockwell (link)
  80. Valentined (Essie Cobb Senior Sleuth, #3) by Patricia Rockwell (link)
  81. Side Roads: A Dark Fiction Collection by Rachel A. Brune (link)
  82. Murder at the Breakers (Gilded Newport Mysteries, #1) by Alyssa Maxwell (link)
  83. The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs (audiobook) (link)
  84. The Corfe Castle Murders (Dorset Crime #1) by Rachel McLean (link)
  85. The Clifftop Murders (Dorset Crime #2) by Rachel McLean (link)
  86. The Island Murders (Dorset Crime #3) by Rachel McLean (link)
  87. Peril at Pumpkin Hill (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by Thea Cambert (link)
  88. Honey Butter at the Hill (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 2) by Thea Cambert (link)
  89. Murder Mystery at the Inn (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 3) by Thea Cambert (link)
  90. Wedding Whims at the Inn (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 4) by Thea Cambert (link)
  91. Murder in the Sand (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 5) by Thea Cambert (link)
  92. Berried in Murder (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 6) by Thea Cambert (link)
  93. Halloween at Pumpkin Hill (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 7) by Thea Cambert (link)
  94. Christmas Chills at Pumpkin Hill (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 8) by Thea Cambert (link)
  95. Murder Between the Lines (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries, #1) by Thea Cambert (link)
  96. 7 Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife: A Doctor Reviews the Case for Consciousness after Death by Jean Jacques Charbonier (link)
  97. Murder Sets the Stage (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries, #2) by Thea Cambert (link)
  98. Murder Just Isn't Faire (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries, #3) by Thea Cambert (link)
  99. Murder Rings a Bell (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries Book 4) by Thea Cambert (link)
  100. Murder Says 'I Do' (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries Book 5) by Thea Cambert (link)
  101. Silent Knit, Deadly Knit (A Knit & Nibble Mystery, #4) by Peggy Ehrhart (link)
  102. Murder Strikes at Midnight (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries Book 6) by Thea Cambert (link)
  103. Murder Steals the Show (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries Book 7) by Thea Cambert (link)
  104. Murder Turns the Page (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries Book 8) by Thea Cambert (link)
  105. Murder Paints a Picture (Rooftop Garden Cozy, #9) by Thea Cambert (link)
  106. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (link)
  107. Picture Book Peril (St. Marin's Cozy Mystery Series 10) by A. C. F. Bookens (link)
  108. The Christmas Crimes at Puzzel Manor by Simon Brett (link)
  109. Ghosts of the American Revolution by Sam Baltrusis (link)
  110. Lavender House by Lev A. C. Rosen (link)
  111. Murder Spoils the Sweets (Rooftop Garden Cozy Mysteries Book 10) by Thea Cambert (link)
  112. Hidden from Sight (Detective Sebastian Clifford, #4) by Sally Rigby (link)


National Blood Clot Awareness Month

This is slightly edited from a Facebook post I made. Feel free to follow me over there, by the way.  I became aware that March is Blood Clo...