The Book Review Blog for The-Paisley.com

The Benefit of Pre-Orders Official #utopYA2015 Post

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Hey Authors, this one’s for you!

A big question you might have before going to utopYA is, “how many books should I bring,” and let me tell you, it is an important question to answer. Take too many, and you’ll have to ship some back home. Take too few, and you’ll sell out quickly, leaving you sitting at a table with no books.

So how can you begin to know how many books you should take to utopYA?

Pre-Orders.

By creating a pre-order form, you’ll know how many books to bring for definite sales. You can also have people prepay via PayPal, which means the sold books of your future create money in your pocket now, or have let your readers know that you’ll be accepting cash/credit at the conference. Many authors choose to have both options on their forms. Note: if you choose to have people prepay, you will need to invoice them to get your money. Second note: “of your future” is my section of the sentence you’ll need to enter the giveaway on Ashley’s blog next week!

You can see in my menu that I have a page dedicated to the growing list of author pre-orders. I want your name to be included in this list!

One of the easiest ways to create a pre-order form is to go through Google Forms, and I’m going to walk you through the creation of a form using Google.

First, head on over to Google, and in the drop down menu at the top, click on Drive.

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Once you are in your drive, click on NEW, then hover over More on the drop down box. Click on Google Forms.

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That opens up a new window or a new tab (depending on your browser’s settings). It looks like this:

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You can now begin to fill out your information. Where it says Untitled Form, give it a title. “Your Name’s utopYA 2015 Pre-Orders” is fine. Definitely have your name on it so that people like me who do my pre-ordering all at one time will easily know who the form on the particular tab belongs to. Where it says Form Description, this is where you say what your price per book is, if you are having a deal on book bundles, if you have a table on Thursday/Friday, a signing table on Saturday, or if you will have to prearrange a time to meet to exchange books. Question Title is where you can ask “What Books Would You Like” or something similar. You don’t need to put anything in the Help Text if you don’t want to. If you have more than one book, for Question Type you want the display to read Checkboxes, that way multiple boxes can be checked. In Option 1 add the title of your book. You can then go below Option 1 and click to add another option. Do this for as many books as you have. Next, click on the box next to Required question. This is vital because you don’t want your form to be accidentally submitted without this information.

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Now click on Add Item. This is where you can ask the person pre-ordering how they intend to pay. Set the question type to Multiple Choice and write your options. Make this a required question too.

Now click on Add Item. This is where you can collect your pre-orderer’s name. Set the question type to Text. This lets you know what name to put on the bundle of books that you set aside for that person. Make this a required question.

Click on Add Item again. Set the question type to Text. This is where you you can collect your pre-orderer’s email address. If your pre-orderer selects to prepay, this is the email you can send the PayPal invoice to. This doesn’t need to be a required question, but you might want to say in the question’s help text that it is required for those wanting to prepay.

If you want, you can add an option for personalization with the Add Item function. You’ll want the question type for this to be Paragraph. Not all authors do this, choosing to sign in-person at utopYA instead, but the option is there for you.

You now have the basic form completed. If that’s all you want, you’re done. Click Live View at the top of your form and a new window or tab will open displaying your brand new form.

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Back in your Google Drive, you’ll see that you have two new files, too.

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The one marked (Responses) is the spreadsheet where you can track all of your pre-orders.

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So if you really want to be done, you can be done, but how about we spice things up a bit?

Go back to the editable version of your form.

Click on Change Theme at the top of the page. A sidebar pops out. You can choose any of the themes listed for a more lively look to your form. Let’s take it a bit further, shall we?

Click on the Basic Form theme and you’ll see an option pop up for customize. Click on customize. You’ll see a whole host of options appear in the sidebar.

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As you click on each option, you’ll be presented with ways to change fonts, colors, and sizes. You can even change the background color and add your own header image for a personal touch. You’ll see in this image that I’ve started in on changing the font and color of my title.

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Play around with it and have fun! When your form looks how you want it to, you’re done! Click the blue Send Form button at the top of the form and copy the link that appears in the pop up box.

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Use this link to share the form through social media, your newsletter, and your website. Make sure I get a copy too, then I can add it to the utopYA 2015 pre-order page that I have up on my blog.

While I can’t tell you how many books to bring outside of pre-orders, I do recommend bringing more of Book 1 in your series if you have a series, especially if this is your first time at utopYA. Even if you have an awesome bundle deal, people new to you are way more likely to give you a try by picking up the first book. Your fans who have been with you from the beginning are the ones more likely to pick up the full series.

I hope you found this walk through to be helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I will help you through the process even more. See you at utopYA!

Don’t forget to visit the other official utopYA bloggers this month for information on the author workshops, the special event going on Friday evening, and the Saturday author signing.

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 – Jo Michael’s Blog hosts C.J. Redwine’s discussion on her Query Letter Workshop
Week 2 – A Book Vacation hosts Victoria Faye’s discussion on her book branding workshop
Week 4 – Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous  will be talking about the special Friday night event, will have a list of Saturday signing authors, and will be giving away a spot at the signing