Q:Since Winterspell is available for pre-order I was wondering--is it better for the author if fans pre-order a book, or buy it the first week it comes out? Really looking forward to the new book!
Hello, and thanks so much for asking this great question!
I’m going to take a moment here to answer your question and also provide some insight on the publishing process that I hope will be helpful to any readers out there.
If you’re excited about a book, the best thing you can do to ensure the book’s success—and support the book’s author—is pre-order the book.
Pre-orders are like the ~*unicorns*~ of the book ordering world. They are sparkly, they have fantastic hair, and they hold untold amounts of power.
Man, look how majestic that pre-order is.^
In all seriousness, when a book receives a lot of pre-orders, the publisher will notice. They’ll see those pre-orders rolling in and take that as a sign that people are TOTALLY PSYCHED for this book, and that the book might just be a goshdarned success.
Pre-orders help determine a book’s print run—that is, the number of books the publisher prints.
Pre-orders help build hype, which gets ERRYONE EXCITED, including the publisher, and helps the publisher promote the book that much more effectively.
If the book is the first in a series, pre-orders make it that much more likely that the series will continue.
Pre-orders help ensure that the book gets to the shelves in your local bookstore—and stays there.
What if you can’t afford to pre-order the book right now? Or what if you want to purchase the book from your local independent bookstore, and they don’t offer a pre-order option?
NEVER FEAR. There are other things you can do to support the book/author:
- You can march your cute little tushie to your local bookstore the day the book releases, and buy it then. If your bookstore doesn’t have it, you can request that they order it for you. The more people request a book, the likelier it is the bookstore will stock it!
- You can strut your hot self to your local public library—you can even do this as soon as today!—and request they order the book. Librarians are good people, and are always eager to discover new books!
- Once you’ve read the book, you can leave a review of the book on Goodreads and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, major book retailer sites. Reviews help readers discover books. The more reviews a book has, the more quickly and easily it will find an audience. Simple as that.
- If you are lucky enough to obtain an early review copy of the book, you can immediately start talking up the book and how much you love it and how it gives you ALL THE FEELS—but it’s better to officially review the book (on your blog, on Goodreads, etc.) closer to the release date, rather than months and months in advance.
- You can talk about and recommend the book to your friends and family members, your co-workers, your teachers, your neighbors, your postal worker, your Zumba teacher, your favorite barista, etc.
- You can also, of course, do all of the above! (For example, I would not shut up about Kristin Cashore’s books at the library where I used to work, not until I had converted the entire adult services department to rabid Kristin Cashore fans-for-life, just like me.)
Basically, the more copies are sold early on in a book’s life, the better.
If you want to support your favorite book/author, the most helpful thing you can do is buy the book as early as possible—whether that’s a pre-order (remember, they are unicorns!) or a release day buy (which, if we continue the metaphor, are really really really majestic horses—like Black Stallion caliber).
These early sales are the most important sales. They ensure the book’s future.
You—the readers—are the most essential factor in determining a book’s success. Not the publisher. Not the author. YOU.
And that’s one of the reasons why we authors are so grateful for our readers. (There is, of course, also the fact that you love books as much as we do and the matter of your abovementioned cute little tushies.)
We love your emails, your reviews, your tweets, your blog posts. We love seeing your excitement, and knowing that someone out there gets it—gets us, gets our work, gets our characters—and is enthusiastic and vocal enough to help support us.
So, no matter what you can do—whether that’s a pre-order, or a purchase request at your local library, or a kind email letting us know you enjoyed our work—know that we appreciate you. We are lucky to have you in our lives. And we cherish every ounce of your support.
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We have come full circle, friends.
When I was in high school/college I knew people who worked parttime jobs just to earn money to buy music CDs. Now I hear of high school/college-age people who have never purchased an album (or even a single) in their lives. Why buy it when you can download it (illegally) for free? I wonder if those people have noticed how many groups produced one or two albums and nothing after. Because they didn’t make enough money making music. Because people stole the music.
I find the argument interesting: “some people can’t afford to see a movie.” Some people. This person? I’ve had people argue with me that they pirate ebooks all they want because “what about poor children who can’t afford to buy books and don’t have access to a library?” Sure, if you’re a poor child with no access to a library (but somehow access to a computer, internet, ereader, digital music player) then you get a free pass.
But for the rest of us, please don’t be a user. Please support the arts. We do not have the right to have everything we want when we want it for free. We can be a part of art creation by supporting the stuff we like with our purchase money or library patronage. All the cool kids are doing it.