From Smashwords CEO Mark Coker via The Huffington Post:
Self-published ebook authors now have a powerful new merchandising tool to make their books more discoverable and desirable to readers: Preorders at Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
Cases in point: Last week on August 13, two new ebook releases from indie authors JD Nixon and Kristen Ashley hit one or more of the top-10 bestseller lists at Apple iBooks in the U.S., Australia, UK and Canada.
The authors’ secrets, other than writing super-fabulous books their enthusiastic fans can’t wait to read? Preorders and advance marketing.
. . . .
[After mentioning several books available for preorder] All these titles are distributed as preorders by my ebook distribution company Smashwords, so I see how many preorders they’ve accumulated.
Each of these titles already has enough preorders to hit the top 10 at one or more iBooks territories if they were released today. Each continues to add orders daily as it approaches its release date. It’s not out of the question a couple of these hit #1 in some stores.
. . . .
Most retailer bestseller lists are weighted to measure unit sales over the most recent 24-72 hours, with sales made today generally weighted above sales made yesterday. At Apple and Kobo, accumulated preorders credit all at once on day one of the release, as if all the sales were made in a single day. This can cause the book to spike in the genre and store-wide bestseller charts. Since bestseller lists are used by readers to discover books, higher placement in the bestseller lists sparks a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle of greater visibility, desirability and sales, which leads to more visibility and more sales.
Link to the rest at The Huffington Post
PG is happy for any techniques that will help authors sell more books but wonders if ebookstore sales ranking algorithms will be tweaked if everyone starts using preorders to increase rankings.