Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Gimmicking your way to the Best Sellers list

Smashwords has just introduced Assetless Preorders (, an opportunity for the public to preorder your novel long before it’s finished, or for that matter even before you begin writing it.


You simply decide on the title, the price, the description and the release date. The cover is optional to get started. You can update any of the details about your book prior to its release.


Smashwords will deliver your preorder listing to iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Readers can then preorder your book and their credit card won’t be dinged until the e-book is released.


Why would you want to do this?


 At iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, all accumulated pre-orders credit toward your first day's sales rank. Theoretically, on release day your sales will spike giving you a shot at ranking as a best seller, though fleetingly, and since readers use retailer bestseller lists to discover their next read, a higher sales rank makes your book more visible and more desirable to readers.


According to Smashwords you only need 90 preorders to be on the top 100 best seller list. They don’t say how long you’ll be there (hours, minutes?).


You can then legitimately(?) use the tag “best selling author” to promote your work which evidently also resonates with book-buyers.


Smashwords even goes as far as giving you data as to which day of the week (Sunday) and time of the month (the first week) to plan your release so it has minimum competition.


Just how you go about getting those 90 preorders is up to you. Most book marketeers suggest you have the lowest introductory price possible and guilt everyone one you know and their friends into buying the book. For those legitimate readers (non-related, non-acquaintances) make sure you indicate this is a special preorder price after which the price goes up (maybe).


Begin your promoting by adding the preorder special to the back matter of your previous e-books. Sounds like a good idea if anyone was buying them.


As my ongoing commitment to read and review the work of indie-published authors I’ve discovered some exceptionally good novels that have received little or no recognition. Assuming these authors have done everything possible, legitimately and morally, to get their book traditionally published and exposed to the public, I would suggest for their next book they park their integrity and give the pre-order gimmick a try.


I mean, what’s the downside?


The first draft of my sixth novel, The Widower, is just about complete. If I start now and upload the necessary information, Smashwords will give me a year runway to launch day. Taking into consideration what they say about the day of the week and time of month, I’ll plan to launch on Sunday, July 3, 2016. Maybe I can coordinate a launch at Amazon simultaneously.


I somehow doubt this will make a difference. It’s like all those other “tried and true” techniques that never amounted to anything. There’s obviously something missing

when I continue to find really good novels languishing in book oblivion, undiscovered and unappreciated despite being offered free.


I am beginning to think maybe you need a modicum of success to begin with if any of these techniques are going to work, a primer, so to speak, of loyal followers to kick-start the process.


Tough to form such a cabal when you’re starting at zero and dropping.


No doubt the launch of The Widower will be as inauspicious as the release of my other novels, but the process might be interesting. I’ll keep you posted. Until then…


Stay calm, be brave, and watch for the signs.





Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:



My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic are available on Amazon and as e-books at


Read Reviews


Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS, that includes Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients


More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to:


View my flickr photostream at

assetless preorder

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music