Due to having a cold I’m going to do a shorter episode and discuss what I learnt from a recent webinar for the Alliance of Independent Authors from the people at Apple in their iBooks department. I found this to be a good sign: the guys at Apple haven’t really reached out much to the Indie community in the same way as say Kobo and Amazon have and it was good of them to give a webinar to those of us who were able to sign up as part of the Alliance of Independent Authors,
I learnt a few things myself and so I thought I’d recount them here.
Pre-orders on iBooks
The main takeaway I took was that Apple recommend that people make use of their pre-order facility. It is one of the few areas where Apple are actually totally superior to all the other platforms, you can put a book on pre-order up to a year in advance and you don’t need any real details (like a manuscript and cover) like you do on Amazon. Another great feature on iBooks pre-order is that any sales made on pre-order count to sales rank on the first day of sales (unlike Amazon), meaning all the effort in pre-selling the book will pay off with rankings.
Another feature I knew existed but keep forgetting about is that you can give out up to 250 promo codes for every book listed in Apple. I am fairly sure you can do this if you go direct with Apple (unlike pre-order which you can also do via the aggregators like Draft2Digital). though the guys on the calls insisted you could do this via the aggregators as well.
Reviews before release
Something else I discovered was that people can leave reviews for books before the book is released. I am not entirely sure if you need to have uploaded a file and sent promo codes or if anyone can but this is another great launch feature they have.
I’d tried applying for their scheme before but apparently it gives you access to universal global web links to their books: that is a link you can click anywhere in the world and it will take you to the appropriate Apple store. Of course it also gives you a cut of any sales that occur through these links as well.
They also directed us to their Apple Books Marketing page here which contains a number of useful tools that you can help with marketing iBooks.
Conclusion about iBooks
The presentation has made me more likely to think about pushing iBooks again and to think about the importance of pre-orders on that platform. It seems that if you are organised then Apple iBooks is a great platform to consider focussing on.