It was bound to happen, really. I got ahead of myself.
I got in the habit of picking a date at semi-random to include in the backmatter for a book, as the release date for the next book. Then I’d set up the pre-orders everywhere so that when book X when live, there was a link in the back for book X+1 so readers could place their pre-order right there, easy peasy.
It worked so I kept doing it.
Well, it worked until it didn’t. This is the story of when it didn’t.
‘Big Ship, Lots of Trouble‘ was given a release date of August 26, 2021. I picked that date…. Sometime early 2021 or maybe late 2020, I can’t recall.
I set about writing the book. It wasn’t as fast a process as in the past.
This release ran into a few things that caused problems. Things I could have accounted for had I been more on the ball.
- I took longer than planned to get a first draft done, and longer still to get revisions completed. No real reason other than dragging my feet.
- Because I took so long to get the revised draft ready for my editor, she couldn’t get the manuscript back to me until august 20th. 6 days before release. That in and of itself wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve worked with tight timelines and can hunker down and review all edits in a matter of a few days. Except I also…
- Picked a stupid date. 8/26 is the day after my biggest conference of the year. This year it was hybrid so I was juggling in-person things and online things. It was a rush right up until it started, to get butts in virtual and real seats. Had #1 not delayed #2, I could have put the book to bed before the conference started and been fine. EXCEPT, I didn’t squared. There was simply no way to get the manuscript and review changes while starting the all day in-person work of the conference.
So, I punted. Thankfully Amazon eased their pre-order push penalties during the pandemic.
Sadly, that wasn’t the worst part. This being the first time I’ve had to push a pre-order, I screwed it up. I made a list of every place I needed to update. I thought I’d checked them all off (I had, but still screwed it up). It turned out that I messed up Google and Kobo. Somehow I had them checked off, but didn’t save or something. They both released the book on 8/26. Both Google and Kobo require a file for pre-orders, which means authors use a placeholder. Something that basically says, “You got this by accident, please let the store know so we can fix it.” Had it been a store with asset-less pre-order I’d have been nagged about adding a file and likely caught my mistake. Since technically Kobo and Google had a file, they released it. Annoying, but really not their fault.
Amazon has a pretty robust (surprisingly) setup for this where I could beg them to push an update, which includes the file and an email saying that the reader got the new file.
Google and Kobo, not so much. I finally got replies from both that users would get new files, but no idea if they’re notified, etc. Kobo took about two weeks, slowly going back and forth over email, with a bit of prodding on my end. I actually didn’t know google had released until I got a support email. From that point on they were quite fast in making things right.
In the meantime, the first review on Kobo was from a nice person, mad about the placeholder, who left 1 star. Something tells me they won’t update their review… :(
Lesson learned. The final file for ‘Big Ship, Lots of Trouble‘ does not have a link to a pre-order. I’ll update the file when I have a pre-order for subsequent buyers, but right now, no.
I suppose it was inevitable. Screw ups happen, and juggling Rogue Publishing and 360|Conferences sometimes overlaps in annoying ways.
To my readers, I promise I’ll do better and apologize for the hiccups.