Hi, SEers John here with you. Today I want to share some information I learned from Dave Chesson on pre-orders on Amazon. As you may know, Dave is the founder of Publisher Rocket, and he is one of the foremost experts on all things Amazon.
The question I want to answer is, do pre-orders help or hinder a book launch? Since I’m getting ready to launch Eternal Road – The last stop, I did some research on the idea of whether or not pre-orders are a good thing.
Here is what I learned. Pre-orders work like magic if you are an author with the following attributes.
- You are famous
- You have a large following
- You are a marketing genius with an iron-clad launch plan.
I don’t fit into any of those categories. So, I am subject to some of the facts of life of how Amazon views my book over time. Remember, Amazon promotes books that they believe are popular and relevant.
How does Amazon judge a book to be popular and relevant? They look at the sales of that book over time. Books that are popular and relevant sell at a general rate that does not include huge spikes preceded or followed by periods of little to no sales.
In a typical pre-order situation, there is a period of time where there are no sales. It is interesting to know that Amazon counts the days of pre-order into the total days the book is available for purchase.
After the pre-order period, all the orders accumulated go out on the first shipping day. So, pre-orders are by their nature a period of no sales followed by a huge spike. To be in Amazon’s good graces, that considerable spike needs additional sales over time. So, if you are famous, have a large following, or have set up one heck of a marketing launch, you probably will get additional sales after day one shipping, and Amazon will decide you are popular and relevant. If day one is all you get, then the opposite will be true.
My belief is I don’t have enough marketing punch to pull off getting attention from Amazon, so a pre-order period will harm my efforts to gain the perception of being popular and relevant. It will be much better for me to launch the book on the first day and try through the launch plan to have steady sales during and beyond the launch period.
Of course, my situation is unique, and I’m not attempting to draw a generalized conclusion that fits your situation. Do you have any thoughts on this subject? If so, I would love to see them in the comments.