Last week, Amazon gave indie authors the ability to make their books available for pre-order. (Smashwords already offered authors this feature.) The final version has to be uploaded ten days before the release date; if it's not, the author loses the pre-order feature for a year. I'm not certain yet if pre-order sales are counted as they accrue or on the release day. If the latter, then the spike in sales can give the book a boost up the charts and increase its visibility. Admittedly, not all books may generate pre-orders, especially for new authors or series without an established fan base willing to buy them sight unseen. (Even if you don't get a lot of pre-orders, it may be helpful to have a buy link ready when setting up marketing. At the very least, pre-orders impose a schedule for getting the book out.)
I'm not sure yet how useful this feature will be, but I can't resist experimenting with it. I've therefore made my next book, Seasons' Beginnings, Book One of the Season Avatars series, available for pre-order. It's a fantasy novel, and it'll release October 21, 2014. (It's mostly done, but I'm waiting for feedback from my beta readers before I do the final proofreading.) I already posted the link on my blog, but I'm shameless enough to do it here too, along with the cover and blurb:
What do you think about pre-orders? Readers, do you pre-order books, or will you wait for them to become available? Authors, would you use this feature, or do you prefer publishing as soon as the book is ready?