Picture this scene: a baby is due soon.
The mother has spent months anticipating the birth, making sure everything is okay, getting the nursery ready, and making sure she’s booked into the birthing suite at the hospital of her choice at the right time.
Wouldn’t it be a little…well, weird if she didn’t tell anyone at all it was happening?
Wouldn’t it be far more likely that she’d be sharing snapshots of the baby’s room and first teddy bear? And her friends would probably be liking those pictures, commenting on the anticipated arrival, and buying gifts for the baby shower.
Setting up a preorder for a new book is, for an author, akin to getting the nursery ready and inviting one’s friends to the baby shower. Every preorder sale is like a baby shower gift that shows love for the author and excitement for the new arrival.
To some, the analogy might seem far-fetched. As an author, I can assure you that it’s really not.
Preorders really can make a huge difference to a new book’s start of life.
Once you’ve got the writing, editing, formatting and publication organised, you can give your book a boost by making it available for preorder and getting some advance sales.
Without going into a whole lot of technical details, there are some really good reasons to do so:
- It’s convenient. When someone preorders a book, it is delivered straight to them upon release. They don’t have to think about saving links, bookmarking sites, or following up later.
- It allows you to tap into the “I want it now” mentality that is so strong these days. Enabling people to order your book right away and satisfy their impatience is a clever marketing strategy.
- Having your book available on preorder enables you to build excitement and anticipation for your release. It’s one thing to be able to say “this is being released on Friday”, but another entirely to be able to say “Reserve your copy now! Be the first to get it as soon as it’s released! You won’t have to wait!” Remembering that tone is everything, it can’t hurt to have some excitement injected into your pre-release social media chatter.
- Those advance sales push your book further up the rankings, so that vendors show it to more people, enabling it to get even more sales. If you can achieve a spot in the “top new bestsellers” list for a day or even a week, that’s going to mean a lot more potential customers seeing your book without you having to go out and find them. If you’re lucky enough to win a “Number 1 New Release” ribbon on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, that gives you more marketing momentum and appeal.
- Strong sales in the first week help to get your book noticed by other readers. It will show up in the “customers also bought” or “based on your browsing/purchase history” lists for more readers, and again, get new eyes on your book that you don’t have to go and find on your own.
In my experience, making my books available for preorder has definitely been a good strategy.
I’ve been lucky enough to gain the “#1 New Release” ribbon for poetry twice, and obviously I’d love to do that with ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ when it releases on Friday. Although it is in the much more competitive categories of Fantasy and Fairy Tales, which is a much greater challenge, but it’s not impossible. It’s also in the category of ‘Mashup Fiction’ so it has a good chance there.
Whether my book makes a big splash or simply becomes a drop in the ocean, I will have given it my best shot. And that knowledge and confidence is something that you can’t put a price on.