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8 Steps To A Killer Pre-Order Book Campaign: What You Need To Know To Succeed

You've got your book written and are well on your way down the publishing road. Now it's time to switch gears from the technical steps of formatting and turning your manuscript into a physical book, to creating a marketing strategy that will help you succeed in selling your book.

The first thing to consider is a pre-order campaign. For those who are new to the process or not familiar with it, a pre-order campaign is essentially a "pre-sale" where you allow your book to be available for purchase for a discounted price before the actual launch of your book occurs. This allows the author to showcase and advertise their novel before it is released to public. It's a great way to generate excitement, boost your overall sales, and to gain some media that will help get the word out about the launch of your book.

Today we'll be sharing 8 steps for setting up a killer pre-order campaign that will be sure to set the stage for an amazing book launch.


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Send A Thank You Gift:

It seems like such a small and simple thing to do, but sending a thank you gift to those who participate in your pre-order campaign can have a big impact. It can encourage goodwill and prompt readers to take part in your next novel's campaign. It can leave a lasting impression that can help boost your review rate and in general it can help facilitate a good author reputation. While sending a thank you gift via mail can be expensive (and sometimes not feasible), a great alternative is to create a digital bundle.

Things to include in your thank you package can vary but here are some options:

  • A signed note from the author

  • Author merchandise/signed swag such as posters, bookmarks, t-shirts, and character art.

  • Exclusive content such as short stories, flash fiction, or poetry relating to the series

  • Behind-the-scenes information such as author commentary, the writing process, how the book's concept was created, etc.

  • Deleted scenes from the book.

  • Links to any downloadable content.

Offer Free Incentive:

We all LOVE free stuff. It's no surprise that your readership will too. This strategy works well for a pre-order campaign because it gives readers an extra reason to participate. Most of us like to have that "instant gratification" feeling. Since we're able to have almost anything with a couple clicks of a mouse, it can be useful to provide an incentive in this stage because readers won't have a physical copy of your book to hold until much later. To avoid scammers, have your readers email a copy, screenshot, or image of their order receipt to receive their free swag. You can use anything as a free incentive, but some ideas could be a signed copy of one of your other books, author merchandise, or even a bundle of books curated from authors within same genre (this can be especially fruitful if the authors you bundle with are also running pre-order or book sale campaigns of their own). Here the incentive must be of a higher value so that the reader feels it is worthwhile to join in. If your incentive is too low in value, there's a chance that your readers won't bite.


Namesake (Fable Book 2)


Following the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick Fable, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, a captivating conclusion to the duology, filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing.

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

Click the image to order your copy!


Send Pre-Order Alerts

Communication throughout the pre-order process is crucial in order for it to be successful. Pre-order alerts refers to emails that announce that a pre-order is taking place and all the relevant information about it that comes thereafter. You want to notify readers and potential readers of your pre-order before, during, and as your campaign is ending. You'll want to keep people updated of any changes to pricing and incentives. You should also let them know that the campaign is ending so that they don't miss out. There are many places where you should be sending these notification alerts: Your mailing list, any places where your book is being advertised such as Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads, social media, etc. Some of these websites even offer internal ways to notify those who follow you. While these internal ways may cost money it will be worth the highly targeted audience that comes with the price tag.

Run Pre-Order Ads

In addition to sending out pre-order notifications, the power of pre-order ads can be a powerful tool. Utilizing the internal advertisement tools through places like Amazon, Facebook, BookBub, etc. can make a huge difference in the number of sales you gain during your pre-order period. The major benefit for running ad campaigns is visibility. Your ads will reach millions of people that you may not have had access to in any other way. While ads can add up to high expense costs, this can be regulated and set to certain amounts so that you only spend within your allotted budget.

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Link Your Pre-Order in your Previous Books' Back Matter

Don't forget to link your pre-order in your previous books' back matter. It may take some updating, but doing so allows your already dedicated readers to immediately purchase the next book in your series right after they finish the last one. This keeps loyal readers hooked and makes it easier for them to buy then having to remember to look you up on their own. By providing a teaser excerpt from your next book you add to the allure. It doesn't have to be edited or perfect. Readers know that these teasers are in the early developmental stages and subject to change. You can also include links to your mailing list where they can learn more about your pre-order sale, any incentives you're offering, and access to your author newsletter.

Get Popular Media Involved

There are so many writing blogs, websites, literary blogs, online magazines, and Influencers that can help spread the word about your book. A quick email requesting a partnership can open doors to millions of new readers and a large platform to help promote yourself as an author. Just like traditional word of mouth, this is a form of advertising that is still underrated and often overlooked by authors new to marketing their work. A simple google search can provide the top rated sites and places you can pitch your book to. Searching on social media for Influencers (such as highly active Bookstagrammers on Instagram) can lead to long-term impact. Not only do places like these already have established reputations, but they also have an established audience, which as a new or indie author you may not yet have. Facebook author and reader groups can also be useful. Tap into this network, but remember that you're building relationships, not just trying to gain sales.

Are you a Megan Markle fan? Learn more about Harry and Megan's journey by clicking the image.

Share Teasers

Generate buzz for your campaign by slowly releasing teasers before the sale pitch. This is not only fun but effective. Share your book's title, a teaser of the cover, a character art piece in development, your books blurb- pretty much anything you want that will entice readers to learn more. Then host a virtual pre-order launch party to reveal the full cover of the book. You can tell those who attend a little bit about your book, read a chapter or two, host a few book related games or a raffle with prizes and then reveal the cover. Creating an element of whimsy and entertainment can help attract attention but also allows for people to get to know you, the author. Chances are if they have a good time, they'll continue to follow along on your journey and support you through other ventures.

Make Books Available For Pre-Order

Lastly, make your books available for pre-order! It sounds like obvious advice, but if you're not willing to run a pre-order campaign, you can't expect drastic changes in your book launch sales. Yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, it's time consuming and can have costs that add up. But the overall impact of a pre-order campaign is worth it. As an author, especially an Indie one, the amount of time, effort, and money you put into your book marketing can make the difference between a fledgling author dream and a successful author business.

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