To Pre-Order or Not – That is the Question. A Look at the Benefits of Pre-Order.

Hi SEers. John, with you today. I would like to continue the discussion that I started last time.  (you can view it HERE) As you will recall (or not), I discussed some research I did on preorders on Amazon. I came to the conclusion that preorders unless you are a famous author, pretty much work against the idea of Amazon deeming a book worthy of promotion. That is because Amazon only promotes books that show steady sales and not peaks and valleys.

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Today I would like to point out the benefits of running a preorder.

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After all, like the sign implies, not everything in life is directed to the purpose of getting recognized by Amazon. There are several benefits of pre-order, so let’s dive in and cover them.

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Benefit One – Author sanity. When you set your book up for a preorder you also receive the sell links from Amazon. This means you can go about your business of setting up your author page, your book page, and any tour information without the worry that your book is just sitting there with no support. You have to be warned, though. Amazon still counts the days that your book sits there without sales in its 30-day algorithm of successful books. It is nice, however to not to have to worry about your standings until that fateful shipping day. As an aside here. I wonder why we all even care about standings. Unless we are a best-selling author or have chosen a very obscure Amazon category, our standings are usually going to be disappointing anyway.

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Benefit Two – Author Rush. The big sales spike on the first day of shipping might move the needle on your Amazon rank. The net effect of that gets the heart pumping and the hope that the sales will continue forever. It is a great feeling. All your hard work is finally paying off. Of course, you have to remember what Newton put forth as a theory. What goes up will come down. This is especially true if you don’t have a marketing plan that carries beyond the first shipping day of a pre-order period.

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Benefit Three – Author peace. During the preorder period, you can come back and change anything in your book. This means if you have a glaring typo, you can fix it. Where the peace comes in is you don’t necessarily have to have your book 100% before the preorder period. If you want to proof, it one more time you can do that. If you want someone else to proof it you can. If you want to change that scene that has always made you cringe, you can do that too. Truth alert. You can do all these things after you publish your book, but any glaring mistakes will have been discovered by your readers. During the preorder period, all mistakes remain the exclusive knowledge of the author.

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Benefit Four – Author growth. With an active preorder period, there is a very real opportunity for attracting new readers to other books by the same author. As awareness goes up, some readers may choose to buy one of the books that is available right away. Since they cannot have the book on preorder right away, their interest may switch to another which isn’t a bad thing.

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So, there you have four good reasons to do a preorder. I guess preorder or not is all a matter of what you want to accomplish. I hope you found this “other side of the argument” useful. Tell me about your preorder experiences.

75 thoughts on “To Pre-Order or Not – That is the Question. A Look at the Benefits of Pre-Order.

  1. Decisions, decisions! Lol! I guess, in the end, it depends on your purpose. Because I haven’t hit it big (yet), I prefer hyping up the desire for the story before its release and then hoping the purchases come in on release day. I think pre-orders can work for a series as well because those already invested in that series will be eager to get their hands on the next book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to read both sides of the argument. In my situation, I think the first posting makes more sense and so I’ll not be pre-ordering any time in the near future. Of course, if things pick up and I’m optioned for big screen success based on my books, I’ll re-consider…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks John.. I don’t use pre-order for my books but I do promote books on pre-order for others and I do notice in the comments that people will pre-order certain books and with everyone having a long list of books on their TBR it might just nudge people to read it before others as it pops up on the Kindle. I think any sales technique is worth exploring… and yes… Amazon rankings mean very little to my books….lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice to see the upside, John. I know that most editors of anthologies haven’t even got all the contributions to the book when they set up the pre-order link. I’ve contributed to a number of anthologies and noticed this. The editors clearly see a benefit to the pre-ordering. I can’t do it as I’m not self published and my publisher doesn’t do this. I’m okay with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, John. I always thought I was much too obscure as a writer to bother with a pre-order, but a lot of what you said in this post makes sense. I’m definitely going to give it a try next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post on the benefits of pre-order, John. I did a little research on how authors get the best selling status. Amazon and others such as USA Today calculate the sales on pre-order differently. I know what you meant by obscure Amazon category. Someone published many books with such a category regardless of the contents, and got best seller status on the first day on all the books, such a meaningless status for his books.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just had a successful preorder experience, John, so I’m curious to see what happens as the “live” book sales drop off. I have a feeling that I’m not famous or popular enough for it to make a huge difference. It was nice to do a bit of a preorder soft launch early with a trailer, and that did take some of the pressure off. I’d do it again. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    John W. Howell has gone into the pluses of doing pre-orders over on Story Empire today. If you’ve been dithering back and forth about doing them, you definitely should check this out, and his earlier post on the downside, too. Great info, here. Please remember to pass it along so others can learn, as well, thanks. And thanks to John for another informative and helpful post! 🙂

    Like

  9. Got interrupted before I could comment, John, but I didn’t forget you! I was very interested in understanding more of the up side of doing pre-orders, and you covered it all perfectly. Still don’t think they are for me, but I can see where they would appeal to others. Thanks for such clear explanations. Super post, and sharing it (finally) with The Write Stuff!

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  10. I liked exploring both sides of this, John:) A benefit to preorder is early marketing. Having a link when you reveal your cover is one that comes to mind. It’s also stressful picking a date in the future and being stuck with it if you run into problems. I’ve never paid too much attention to the rankings, although with my poetry I did break through them once and I admit that was nice. Not sure what I’ll do with the next book. Lots to think about. I guess it comes how to how one markets.

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  11. As an indie author, I think I will skip the pre-order option. It definitely has pros and cons to it, but I’d rather just hit publish and work from there. In the past, my publisher put my books up for pre-order, but I’m not sure if that option made a difference or not. It’s good to have that option available for those who want to take advantage of it.
    Thoughtful psot, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve done it a couple of times, but didn’t see a lot of benefit. I love the way you explained those little spikes. It makes me feel good, but doesn’t really accomplish much beyond that. Nice point/counter-point advice for us all to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: To Pre-Order or Not – That is the Question. A Look at the Benefits of Pre-Order. | Story Empire | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

  14. I’ve used pre-orders since they became available for us indies. I agree that I see a one-off spike and then slump into the bottom of the valley, lols. But I do love having that purchase link available ahead of time. I’m not decided on whether or not I shall continue to use the feature. Great post and wonderful to see both sides of the question. Thanks, John 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. All good points, John. I may end up going that route with my next book. Had to smile about your comment on author standings because I thought the same thing. I won’t ever have to worry about being at the top. 🙂

    Another fine post.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Thank you for presenting the pros and cons of the pre-order choice. I’ve never listed a book for pre-order, but I’ve purchased many pre-pubs over the years. The principle downside that I’ve encountered as a reader involves pricing. (I think you may have addressed this point in your first installment.) If the price is reduced upon publication, I’m irritated. Now, at least, I understand the pros and cons from an author’s perspective. Well done, John. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Pingback: Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Battle of the Alamo | Fiction Favorites

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