assetless2Smashwords is changing the way it allows pre-orders on its site for authors.

Previously, the entire manuscript needed to be uploaded in order to take advantage of pre-orders, but that is no longer the case.

Smashwords founder Mark Coker announced on the company’s blog that preorders are going “assetless.”

“Starting today, all 100,000 authors and small independent presses at Smashwords have the ability to upload assetless preorders to Smashwords,” Coker wrote. “No book or cover yet? No problem.”

There are many indie authors who do not take advantage of pre-orders, Coker notes in the blog. Less than 10 percent of authors on Smashwords took advantage of pre-orders to iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. But according to Coker, books that had a pre-order earned more than triple the books that were uploaded day of release.

The good thing about pre-orders to iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo is that the pre-orders accumulate toward the first day sales rank potentially helping authors move up on best sellers lits. However, that is not the case with Amazon, which is why some authors haven’t gone the pre-order route with that outlet.


  1. For those who do direct uploads, Apple’s iTunes Store just announced a similar policy. Here it is. Note especially what you’re not to do.


    Set Up Pre-Orders Without Assets
    You can now offer your book for pre-order even if your book file or cover art isn’t ready yet.

    To set up a pre-order without assets:

    Open the latest version of iTunes Producer, available in Resources and Help.
    Enter the book’s metadata in the Details pane.
    Go to the Price pane.
    Fill in the Pre-Order Start Date and Sales Start Date fields, as well as the rights and pricing details.
    Choose Save from the File menu.
    Click Submit.

    Never submit dummy, placeholder, or incomplete files. We can’t use these files and if you submit them, we won’t be able to make your book available for pre-order on the iBooks Store.

    When your book files and cover art are ready, here’s how to complete your book:

    Find your pre-order in iTunes Producer by providing the title or the book’s Apple ID in the Search iTunes Connect field.
    Drag cover art or screenshots to the Details pane.
    Drag the book and any updated book samples to the Files pane.
    Click Submit.

    You can make your book available for pre-order up to one year before its sales start date. However, you have to submit all final book files at least 10 business days before your sales start date. This gives us enough time for review, so your book will be available to customers as planned. If you don’t submit your files on time, we may not be able to make your books available for pre-order without assets in the future.

    If you need help or have questions, let us know.

    Visibility is one key to sales. Posting a book up to a year before its sales begin can give you a year of visibility for nothing. I just hope Apple will let the change the title. I often go through numerous attempts before I settle down on one. Sometimes the book even changes and needs a different title.

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