I read a post this morning that said something to the effect of 'Ninja writers pre-sell books'. Umm... yeah... about that...
I don't pre-sell books.
I had my first book up for pre-order. For like ten days. It was finished and could've gone live as soon as I uploaded it. But I'd heard pre-orders were a thing, so I tried it. I didn't like it. I got a few orders that way, but not enough to warrant the waiting. This post was talking about putting it up for pre-order before you even have the cover or the book finished.
Just the thought of doing that sends me into paroxysms of fear and doubt. What if I don't get the book finished? What if I have to delay the release due to reasons and because of stuffs? What if I do get a bunch of pre-orders and I have to let those readers down?
The author of the post even went so far as to suggest taking money for books that haven't been printed and offering a discount to those people. Actual cash in hand for a product that doesn't exist. :panics at the thought:
Nope, nope, nope. If you lay down money for one of my books, you will have the book in your hot little hands, inside whatever time it takes to deliver the book to you - immediate for ebooks and however long ship times are for print.
Perhaps if I was the kind of author who planned her books, this would be closer to possible. I'd have a general idea of how long a book was and when I'd get the damn thing done, so I could maybe put up a pre-order. Even then, I'd still be all spastic about it. What if I break an arm? What if my arthritic wrists decide not to comply? Hell, what if my beta-readers/editors are jammed up and can't work me into their schedules? Or they break an arm? There are too many variables. I don't like variables.
Now, if the post-author had been talking about pre-selling in terms of marketing before the book is ready to go, that I can do. To a certain extent. I mean, I have a cover. And I have a general idea of what the book is about now that it's finished (not edited, but written), so I can talk about it. But to take actual orders? Ut-uh. I can whet your appetite with snips and stuff, and let you hunger to buy it when it's available. But that's it.
I can hardly even give you a firm date for release until I am way closer to finished than I am now. I'm shooting for before April Fool's Day, but I'm not promising anything. I don't like making promises I'm not certain I can keep. And a pre-sale is a promise.
So if that means I'm not a Ninja Writer, well, I guess I'm okay with that. I hope you are, too.
What about you? Do you pre-sell your books? If you're a reader, do you do pre-orders? (I don't do those either, but that's me and a whole 'nother post.)