By Lee Constantine, Head of Growth at Publishizer
Book preorders don’t have much to do with a finished product. Rather, they are about ensuring your idea has demand in the market and provide you, the authors, with an opportunity to get personal.
Here are 5 reasons why that matters:
In addition to making your book accessible to early adopter readers, preorders allow you to raise funds for production, editing and/or expand marketing efforts. In fact, it’s a common strategy that even the largest publishing houses encourage their authors to do.
Since marketing and sales typically come directly from the author, preorders are a great way to put some extra money in your pocket before the official book launch. Here are examples.
2. Publisher interest
Publishers love when authors bring their own readers to the table. That’s why you’ve probably heard the word platform before. Social media followers in the tens of thousands and email list in the hundreds of thousands are ideal for a book publishing deal.
A preorder campaign mobilizes your readers and starts engagement with a tangible product. When you can show readers who’ve already bought your book it shows potential. To publishers, this the biggest indicator of future book sales.
3. Early adopter readers
If you’ve built up a strong fan-base, particularly a mailing list, then a preorder announcement is something potential readers have to look forward to. If they are already consuming your content (blog, podcast, newsletter) then they’ll love the chance to buy your book.
A preorder campaign is about positioning your book in front of these loyal readers and making them a part of the process. When they get first access and can feel like they take part in co-creating the book, then they’re going to be more likely to make a purchase when the times comes and share it with more people.
The two most important questions authors ask themselves are, “What do my readers think of my work?” and “How can I make it better for them?” Ask your readers.
Preorders are the perfect time to engage with your readers in this way. They want to give you feedback because they want to read a good book as much as you want to write one.
Not completely sure about your book title? Need advice on the outline? Want to the know if the content resonates with the readers? Would they also like to connect with you in person or attend an even you’re hosting on the topic?
Run a survey and include them in the entire process. They’ll be the most loyal readers you’ve ever had.
Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and The Leaders’ Guide, says:
“I’m lucky to have a large and supportive community who have rallied to the cause. They are the ones who decide if a project like this should live or die. Everyone in the community knows what’s happening, how much money is raised, how close we are to the target, and (through updates) what we are working on. As an author, it’s also an incredibly rich source of feedback.”
Mark Manson (Harper Collins) wrote personal haikus for every reader who bought 3 or more of his book. Neil Patel (Rodale) gave away a free hour of SEO coaching for anyone who bought 10 copies of his book. Stu Krieger (Harvard Square Editions) offered feedback on screenplays with his book.
Preorders are the time and place to offer extra bonuses like these. They are a unique way to build a larger platform and an added incentive for more readers to buy your book.
Ries also released a limited edition field guide, along with case studies into Lean Startup principles for his book prelaunch. Every early adopter reader also became part of a community where they can exchange ideas and take part in the writing process for his next book.
It’s no wonder the secret behind bestselling books is community.
Here are some more useful resources for book preorders.
If you want to know what it’s like to publish a book in 2017, read this.