Looking to create a successful pre-order campaign for your next book? The Books Forward team has you covered. Here are our tips for encouraging pre-orders:
Update your sales pages on all platforms
Ensure that your upcoming release (and any previous books!) have up-to-date, engaging copy on Amazon and all other sales channels. After all, if you’re going to be directing buyers to these sites, you should make sure that everything is in good shape! Here are our tips for making your sales pages pop.
Offer a pre-order discount
An easy way to encourage pre-orders is to drop the price for a limited time leading up to the release. Everyone loves a sale! Plus, you can discount your backlist books during this time as well for an extra boost. If you’re writing a series, consider a deep discount for the first book(s) in the series as a way to entice new readers.
Offer swag items and other exclusives
If you’ve never entered into a swag-based pre-order campaign, it’s simple:
- Author offers exclusive swag to fans who pre-order.
- Reader DMs their receipt of purchase along with their email and/or physical address.
- Author sends out swag items until they run out.
Here are some examples from a recent campaign:
If you’re hesitant to run a swag-based campaign because of how costly it can be, you’re not alone. While swag (especially custom products) can be pricey, there are some ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. For example, many authors offer digital swag like downloadable prints or excerpts from the book.
That said, eye-catching physical swag still tends to have the best effect, especially for sci-fi/fantasy, young adult, and romance authors. These genres allow you to be especially colorful and creative with your swag!
Update your social media pages
Make sure to update all your headers with the upcoming release date. Try using pinned tweets and IG images to ensure the latest pre-order news stays at the top of your feed!
Lean on your networks: your email list, author friends, and street team
All authors have networks of supporters–hopefully you’ve figured out who your “people” are!
If you have an email list, you’ll want to schedule an e-blast encouraging your subscribers to pre-order. We’d recommend offering them a swag item or discount not offered elsewhere to thank them for being loyal supporters!
Consider any authors you may be connected with who are releasing new books at roughly the same time as you. Offer to support each other by exchanging social media or newsletter promo posts!
You may also consider engaging a street team to help with your pre-order campaign. Ideally, this team of dedicated fans will promote your book on their social media pages in exchange for special rewards and exclusive opportunities.
Bonus: keep your social media active and fun
Throughout your pre-order campaign, you’ll want to stay active on social media, posting engaging content to keep your followers interested in the upcoming release, such as a cover reveal or a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the book. It’s important to share content that isn’t directly sales focused every now and then, so your followers don’t feel bogged down with posts to “buy, buy, buy!”
We hope these tips will lead to more pre-orders for your titles, but as our team likes to say, publicity is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember, these things take time!
Wondering what other authors think of pre-order campaigns? Check out Books Forward President Marrisa DeCuir’s article for The Writer, with input from bestselling authors like Joan He.
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.