As an author, the success of your book is not just in the writing, but also in how you introduce it to the world.
A well-planned pre order campaign can be a game-changer, setting the stage for your book’s success even before its official release.
To help our authors crush their next pre order launch, the Booklinker team spoke to Lynda Hammes, the co-founder of Tertulia.com, a new co-op bookstore and discovery platform.
She has several decades of experience in book and magazine publishing, but one of her favorite jobs was selling books in storied indie bookstore Shakespeare & Company in New York in college.
Without further ado, let’s jump into our four best tips on how to boost your books pre order sales.
Pros of Allowing Pre Orders For Your Book
Pre Order Sales Count as First Week Sales
The most immediate benefit of pre order campaigns is their contribution to first-week sales. These early sales are vital, often influencing bestseller list placements, both regionally and nationally.
By combining significant pre order volumes with first-week sales, you can launch your book onto these influential lists. From there, the best seller list placement can lead to increased organic sales, giving authors a massive edge.
Promoting your book early on can significantly impact its market trajectory. Publishers and booksellers are more likely to invest in titles that show early signs of success.
Tertulia leverages this by crafting pre order campaigns that drive awareness, offering a unique advantage in today’s competitive market. Tertulia’s Author Pre-order Campaign Program extends a unique opportunity for authors and publishers to boost pre order sales by offering the best price online during the crucial pre-publication period.
Authors have the opportunity to promote their books on Tertulia for up to 50% off! Tertulia reports directly to the New York Times Best Sellers list as an independent seller, which the Times looks to when determining how expansive a book’s reach really is.
Cons of Pre Order Campaigns
Unlike Tertulia’s pre-order campaigns — where the discounts are funded by the book retailer and the author/publisher get the full price of the book — discounted bulk campaigns underwritten by the publisher are potentially less valuable as they may lead to potential revenue loss.
However, each author must balance these cons with the long-term benefits of building momentum through pre orders. Organic promotion and earned media are a great boon to authors during the pre order period, as are discounted promotion campaigns funded by retailers like the ones we offer at Tertulia.
Some authors may be hesitant to invest a lot of their marketing budget in pre order sales as they believe that readers are unlikely to buy a book before publication, and thus, their marketing dollars may convert at a lower rate.
However, it’s crucial that authors build buzz continuously in the run-up to publication, and they understand that early sales can create a snowball effect for sales down the road.
How Far Ahead Should an Author Open Pre Orders?
For optimal impact, open pre orders as soon as your book is listed, typically around nine months before its publication. This early start can influence your publisher and retailers to allocate more resources to your book’s marketing.
Focus your book marketing efforts three months before publication, with a strong push in the final 30 days.
4 Ways to Boost Pre Order Book Sales
1. Leverage Your Marketing Channels
Authors should post on a regular basis to their social media feeds not just with promotions of their book, but with relevant, entertaining and social-optimized posts that will keep their audience engaged.
Their bio line should incorporate the book title, retail links and early praise. Considering most social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok only allow traffic to leave the platform via a bio link, using a Booklinker link here can make a lot of sense.
Social media header images should incorporate the book’s cover image in order to start creating a visual impression of the book.
Authors who have an email newsletter should set up a series of informational and promotional emails about the book that incorporate praise, salient passages or excerpts from the book, giveaways and encouragements to help you get the word out about the book.
We’ve seen at Tertulia that when authors remind their audience just how important word-of-mouth marketing and pre order sales are, their fans and followers are activated to be supportive of the book’s launch.
By inviting fans to be part of a community of readers, the author creates a memorable emotional connection with his/her readers.
The author can help build suspense through special announcements, sneak previews, and should definitely brag about the early reviews and blurbs that will help make an impression on readers.
2. Coordinate with Influencers and Promotion Tools
There are so many ways to tap into the communities of interest who will find your book compelling. Reaching out to podcasts, Substack newsletters and social media influencers can be an infinite process, so you’ll want to identify targets based on audience size and the specificity of the content that they cover.
One easy step is to do a comparative analysis of who has covered books similar to yours and approach those individuals who have an affinity for your subject matter. Being able to offer your time (for interviews), copies of the book (for giveaways), sneak previews (excerpts or cover reveals) will help you to offer an opportunity for podcasters, independent media and influencers to create high quality content.
Don’t underestimate the power of your own personal network. Being featured in your school alumni publication, or your local writing and book club are simple ways to generate additional awareness opportunities.
3. Use Discounted Pre order Pricing
The value of pre-orders is twofold: it’s a mechanism to drive sales and awareness for your book. In the best case scenario, an author can team up with a publisher, distributor or retailer who is willing to invest or co-invest in pre order discounting.
While Amazon can be unpredictable with pricing, working directly with a retailer like Tertulia affords authors the opportunity to time their own promotion with favorable pricing to their audience.
Depending on the author’s goals, stimulating sales early on (even if it leads to little profit or breakeven on sales) will benefit the author down the road. Finding a supportive retailer who sees a price promotion as an opportunity to stimulate the author’s fans as a new audience is a great way to collaborate toward mutually beneficial outcomes of book sales conversions.
4. Do Giveaways & Give Away ARC Copies
Giveaways, whether digital or physical, can generate excitement and anticipation. Consider unique items related to your book or signed copies to create a sense of exclusivity. ARC copies not only build loyalty but also help in gathering early reviews and feedback.
You can consider some kind of giveaway that is unique and scarce, whether that’s a gift basket approach with items related to the book or a signed and inscribed copy.
In conclusion, a well-orchestrated pre order campaign is more than just an early sales strategy; it’s a comprehensive approach to market your book effectively.
By understanding and implementing these tactics, you can significantly boost your book’s visibility and success.
Remember, the journey of your book in the readers’ world begins long before its official release – it starts with a powerful pre order campaign.