If you’ve never done a pre-order campaign, or your last one wasn’t successful, I want to go over 13 strategies that will ensure you’ll sell more books next time around.
Working pre-order campaigns into your author marketing plan help you build buzz. Plus they are an excellent excuse to engage fans and draw in new ones. And pre-orders can really be lucrative for sales, when done right.
Keep in mind that a lot of these strategies will require you to request that people email you a copy of their Amazon receipt in exchange for the offer or prize. Not only is it a simple way to verify who’s really buying, you get the added bonus of building your mailing list. A mailing list (and subsequently, your newsletter) is author marketing gold when it comes to opening doors to sell more books.
So let’s go through the list of my favorite pre-order strategies:
Update Your Back Matter
Effective author marketing requires you to stay current. And that means keeping your already published titles updated as well.
In prep for a new release, you’ll want to update the eBook files for any of your already published titles in the same genre. Why? To ensure they’re directing people to the new book, with a link to the product page.
You should already have your current titles in regular marketing rotations. So the effort you’re already putting in should benefit your upcoming book as well, right?
Plan Special Pre-Order Pricing
Everyone loves a deal. And one of the most effective ways to sell more books during a pre-order promotion is to discount the book. Then you’ll want to constantly remind people through all your other efforts that the book goes back to full price on the release date.
Offer Cool Swag Packs
People love free stuff! If you want to sell more books, there’s a good chance you’ll see a better return if you get a little more generous with your brand swag.
Swag is a good author marketing investment in general. And it doesn’t have to be super expensive with some smart planning. Once you have it on hand, you’ll be amazed at how many ways you come up to use it, which will enhance your marketing efforts on multiple levels.
Offer Cool Digital Swag
If you don’t have the budget to mail out physical swag, you can do something fun with digital material too.
Poster quality art downloads, excerpts, deleted scenes, etc. There are so many options and this is a great way to strengthen your brand as well.
Create a Teaser Excerpt
A great way to build the excitement for an upcoming release is by sharing an excerpt. And don’t be stingy. If you’re having them buy the book on pre-order, then give them the first few chapters to really get them excited!
Collect Some Deleted Scenes
This is more for authors who write series, or write in a very defined genre, but readers love insider info. And deleted scenes from previous titles can be fun ways to reward established fans for pre-ordering.
Do a Cover Reveal
Another great way to milk a pre-order campaign and potentially sell more books is with a cover reveal. Covers can make or break a book. And they also create such a strong psychological connection to your brand.
Discount and Cross-Promote
If you really want to ramp up to sell more books during a pre-order campaign, consider discounting other titles.
You’ve already updated the back matter of your previous titles to announce the new release. So limited time discount promotions will help you get those books in more hands to spread the word.
Update Your Social Images
Be sure you’re updating your website and social media headers to represent the new book, promote the cover, the pre-order dates, and especially pre-order pricing.
Set Up a Countdown
This is a super simple strategy that doubles as your social media marketing as well. Plan out (schedule) posts that push the pre-order and remind people when the pre-order ends. This strategy is particularly effective for selling more books when combined with a special pre-order discount price.
Run a Branded Contest
Sometimes selling more books isn’t about selling more books. Let me explain. Sometimes showing your followers that you truly appreciate their loyalty, no strings attached, is by giving them something just because. But this doesn’t mean you can’t still get some immediate benefits.
Author Leigh Bardugo did a contest (image below) and simply asked people to follow her blog and comment on the post with the “rules” to be entered. And, of course, she reminded people about the pre-order.
You can ask people to follow you on social and share a post of your book release announcement. There are lots of ways to benefit from reader engagement aside from just asking them to buy the book directly.
Give out ARCs to Generate Early Reviews
Similarly to the contest, in regards to asking people to engage with you in some way to be eligible to win something, this is a great way to generate early reviews too.
Ask people to do something for you, share a post, sign up for your newsletter, follow your blog, etc. Then, start handing out advance copies of the book with the understanding that you really want people to get on Amazon and review as soon as the book is officially released.
And a personalized note goes a long way to communicate the importance of reviewing, I assure you.
Run a BOGO Offer
I love running BOGO (Buy One Get One or Buy One Give One) offers because it ensures more people are being brought into your fold than you could likely get on your own.
I like to do buy one, give one. So I ask people to pre-order my book, send me the receipt, and a name and email address of friend or colleague I can gift a digital copy to as well.
People love to share books they enjoy, and you can be a part of that while also getting introduced to new potential fans and followers.
I’ve even invited people to include a short note they’d want me to include, to take the personalization up a notch when I’m gifting.
Create a Video
Video is becoming increasingly important to social media exposure, in regards to generating more interest and more engagement.
So make an official announcement about the pre-order. Do videos to announce discounts or to describe a giveaway or swag offer. There’s really no reason you can’t do a video to accompany any of these strategies. Plus with proper planning, you can record all these in one afternoon and release them as appropriate.
So get camera ready and get to work!
Pre-order campaigns are about being prepared. Now that I’ve gone over some really strong strategies to sell more books during your pre-order campaign, you can prepare a lot of what you need in advance.
That way, when it’s time to pick a publication date and pre-order date you’ll have an arsenal of material and ideas at the ready to keep this part of your author marketing plan stress free.
And if it seems like there’s a lot of moving parts, you’re right. There can be. So I definitely recommend downloading my free monthly book marketing planner. It will help you stay organized and keep your promotion moving so that you can sell more books.