You’ve heard that you should offer your print book for pre-order, but CreateSpace does not support pre-order so you need to use IngramSpark. Assuming you want the same release date to show for all stores (and you should), how then to coordinate the two, and what happens with orders?
Here is a typical process that we follow. It takes advantage of the faster and lower cost proofing you can do with CreateSpace, and maximizes the benefits of IngramSpark.
- CreateSpace publishing date. The first time you set your book up you can enter a date. Don’t, just skip it. If you put a date in, it must be the current date or an earlier date. If you forget to update the date when you do officially publish, the date will be the date you first entered. By leaving this blank, the system will use the date you official approve the book (see below).
- Proofing. Once you have a PDF of your interior and cover, upload both to CreateSpace. The proofing process is much faster than IngramSpark and you’ll be able to order a proof in about a day. It then takes several days to arrive depending on your shipping options.
The reason we like CreateSpace is that the total cost is lower, and the process is faster (not to mention less confusing). You can continue like this until your book looks just right.
- IngramSpark Dates—let’s first understand dates because they have two.
- Publication Date: “The Publication date is the date that you plan to make the book available to bookstores, libraries and online retailers. If the On Sale Date field is left blank, the Publication and On Sale Date will be the same.”
Presumably yours is in the future. This is the same date that you will eventually use for CreateSpace as noted in #1 above.
- On Sale Date: “The On Sale Date is the date before which the book may not be sold by Retail Partners.” Ingram further explains it this way: “Specifying an On Sale Date in your metadata allows you to set up a title in advance so that it becomes visible for pre-ordering to our established distribution partners.
In other words, this is the date that your pre-order goes live. Orders are accumulated in the Ingram system, and then printed 10 or more days prior to the publication date so that the books can be delivered to retailers and book buyers.
Are you using temporary files to setup pre-order? Here’s some advice from Ingram’s Bailey Davis:
If pre-orders are received (which is your goal), it is possible that they may be printed at the time of order but held until the live date. So if you don’t have the final files in place, we may print what you gave us as the orders come in. If that is a temporary file, then that is what will be shipped come the publication date.”
- IngramSpark setup. Setup your book, and choose your publication date, and the date you want to start accepting pre-orders (On Sale Date). We recommend ordering at least 1 proof to be safe. Make sure all the metadata is correct before the On Sale Date is reached.
- CreateSpace double-check. Now is the time to make sure your CreateSpace information is 100% complete and accurate. If you discover an issue on publication day, it may take a day for CreateSpace to re-process your file. You can always backdate the pub date but try to avoid that.
You also want to make sure you have not enabled Expanded Distribution because this interferes with IngramSpark.
- On the publication date. You book has been available for pre-order on Amazon, B&N and other online retailer websites, and perhaps even available for retailers to order, since the “On Sale Date.”
During this time, the button to buy your book from Amazon says “Pre-order: Add to Cart.” But on publication date, the text in the buy box will change to “May take an extra 1-2 days to ship.”
That is, until you go to your CreateSpace account and click publish. As soon as you click that publish button, orders placed on Amazon will be printed and shipped by CreateSpace.
We tested this by immediately ordering a client’s book and it was indeed the file uploaded to CreateSpace (it had a special code that the Ingram version didn’t have).
Careful coordination with marketing
We at AuthorImprints are experts at coordinating this process with the production of the book files, and eBook files. We also optimize metadata, and can coordinate ARCs with self-publishing authors, or their PR agency. Contact us to learn more.
In the meantime, here are two more articles you might find helpful:
Image credit: juan pablo rodriguez