If you ever wondered what a last-minute, embargoed title release looks like, our Wednesday afternoon went something like this:

12:21pm - Random House calls up and lets us know that they’ve secured the rights to release an ebook version of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol on September 15th. Do we want to make it available for pre-order? It’s an early warning only – no public mention until later until we get the go-ahead from Random House.

12:24pm – Biblio and price data arrive from Random House.

12:28pm – Development, Marketing, IT in my sweltering office (AC broke today). Turns out we can’t do pre-orders yet. It’s on the development to-do list.

12:32pm – Dev lead has an idea, departs for the dev pit to consult with freely sweating developers. Marketing preempts email that was supposed to be going out tomorrow.

12:42pm – Dev lead returns. Has figured out a workaround. Some work to do behind the scenes between now and the 15th, but we can start taking preorders as soon as we can get a page up. Unsuspecting merchandiser kidnapped to write copy. Cover scan found. Marketing departs to marshal her armies. Pricing analysis starts.

1:12pm – Marketing armies marshaled. PR people on the case. Releases being written.

1:36pm – Pricing decision – $9.99/11.99 on pre-orders and for a limited time afterwards.

1:38pm – We get the go-ahead from RH to start talking publicly about the title.

1:39pm – Indigo.ca reserves us space on the home page (centre-mid, 230×250)

1:48pm - Blog post up.

1:53pm – Twitter: @shortcovers: Lost Symbol coming to Shortcovers Sept 15th — stay tuned for more details! http://bit.ly/6qypM

2:30pm – Twitter @shortcovers: Shortcovers announces $9.99 USD/$11.99 CAD eBook for Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

3:45pm – Copy for pre-order page done. Slight snag in our workaround – anything we aren’t immediately charging for has a “free” graphic on it. Compensate with massive $9.99/11.99’s wherever possible. People will get the idea.

4:12pm – Email copy for promo email done.

4:30pm – Final edits on pre-order page. Approved for promotion to production servers.

5:00pm – Pre-order page live.

5:53pm – Graphics ready for Indigo.ca and Shortcovers main page.

Still lots to do — the media release is being edited, the email to Shortcovers users goes out tomorrow, got to get the graphics promoted.  But it’s up and live and taking orders. At 12:30, we couldn’t do pre-orders. By 5pm, we could. It was pretty amazing to see it all come together so fast. And the best part: nobody freaked out, no shouting, nobody said “can’t do that”. Just got done. It’s a nice business indicator and a pretty sweet cultural indicator too.

Pre-order The Lost Symbol now. It’ll be added to your library right after midnight Pacific Time on September 15th. You could be done reading before the sun comes up!