Last year, Amazon introduced the ability to set a title up for pre order. At first glance this may look like a pointless addition, however, used the right way, pre orders can help you to get a strong head start in the rankings and, more importantly, a good chart position on day one. Used correctly, pre orders can be a valuable tool in the author arsenal and give you the advantage to make your book a best seller.
The image above shows the pre order numbers for my novel, Project Apex. The pre order went live on March 18th and with a minimal amount of promotion achieved 115 pre orders by the day of release. Those numbers helped the book to achieve a strong chart position on its release.
The good news is that anyone with a KDP account on Amazon can access these tools, and if combined with the lessons included in the A to Z of self-publishing course, can give very strong sales numbers early in the shelf life of the book, which as you know, is when the most sales tend to occur for a new title.
Before I get to the details of how pre orders can work for you, there are a few things to note. Firstly, you can only set up a pre order for a specific title for a maximum of three months ahead of its release date. The flip side to this is that you can set up a pre order without having a final version of the manuscript, so you can get this all set up ahead of time as you finish the manuscript and generate sales before the book is even finished! One thing to be aware of with pre orders, is that if you set up a release then don’t upload the final version of the manuscript by the given deadline, then you will lose access to the pre order service for a full year, so be sure that you can get the finished product uploaded in time.To set up a pre order for those who have never done one, it’s as simple as choosing it during the creation of a new title on Amazon. When you are going through the creation process, on option 4 you simply select ‘make my title available for pre order.’
When you have selected your date (within the three month window) you will have to upload a manuscript of some kind to amazon to use as a placeholder file. This can either be an unfinished draft of the book you are working on or something as simple as a blank document with any random text on it. The Amazon uploader will accept anything here at this stage as it knows you will be returning at a later date to upload the final manuscript. One thing you do need to have ready at this stage is book cover and blurb. If you have this, you can then fill out the rest of your listing as if you were releasing the book there and then. When it’s done, you will have to wait for amazon to approve the pre order. Once it’s done, you will have a listing just like any other book you would release, only with a pre order link instead. This is where you can use the service to your advantage, especially if you set up with the full three month lead time. It gives you the opportunity to share the link and get guaranteed day one sales in advance. I offered a special pre order price to my readers of just .99 which would then revert to its full retail price the day of the book release which built a lot of early anticipation for the release and gave people a reason to commit to buying the book ahead of time. I also did a little bit of Facebook / Twitter promotion to advertise the limited time low pre order price. With careful planning and promotion, you can almost guarantee a solid number of pre order sales and a massive day one boost to your income, allowing you to plan ahead and get a good estimate of projected sales. If you then combine this process with the other lessons included in the A to Z of self-publishing course around marketing a new release via your mailing list etc., the impact pre orders can have can be even further increased, making them a powerful and valuable tool for you the author. I hope this short blog was useful to you, and that you get some benefit from using this tool to further boost your sales and give that much needed day one spike.
Michael Bray is a bestselling horror / thriller author of several novels. Influenced from an early age by the suspense horror of authors such as Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Shaun Hutson, James Herbert & Brian Lumley, along with TV shows like Tales from the Crypt & The Twilight Zone, his work touches on the psychological side of horror, teasing the reader’s nerves and willing them to keep turning the pages. Several of his titles are currently being translated into multiple languages and with options for movie and Television adaptations under negotiation for others.
Where to find Michael Bray online
Official website: www.michaelbrayauthor.com
Google +: www.plus.goggle.com/michaelbrayauthor
Where to find my books