Promoting A Pre-order

This is not an exhaustive list on things you can do to promote your pre-order, should you choose to do one.  These are a couple of ideas I’m using.  If you have any ideas you can add, please share them in the comments.  The more ideas we have, the better. 🙂

pre-order promotion blog post
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Make a Page For the Pre-Order Book

This can be through a Book Launch page or a page on your blog or website.  The idea is to have the cover image, the description, and links where someone can buy the pre-order.  If you can add something unique or fun to the page, even better.  This page can be the central hub to direct people to your upcoming book.

Here’s an example of one of mine if you want to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Like I said, you can do this on your blog or website just as easily.  If, however, you would like to sign up for a book launch account, here’s the link.  (I love this tool a lot because it simplifies all the information I need to post about my book.  Plus, it will allow for a video and an email sign up if you want to use those features.  I don’t do those, but some people do.)

Use the Back Matter of Your Already Published Book to Advertise the Pre-Ordered One

This is especially powerful in a series.  If you have Book 1 out, you can do a link to the pre-order for Book 2 at the end of the Book 1.  There are several ways you can do this.  One, you can link to your book launch page (or a page on your blog or website) where you have the book info, cover, and links to pre-order the book.  Or you can do a direct link right there to each of the places the book is on pre-order.

The reason I like to direct people to the book launch page is because I have the characters chime in on that page to say what they did or didn’t like about doing the pre-ordered book.  So even if the reader decides not to click the pre-order button, they might still enjoy looking at the page.

But you do what’s in your style.  We all have our own unique approach to how we can make something interesting.  Maybe you want to do a video talking about your book or a special scene to give them a preview of the book.  Get creative and see what works best for you.  Even if they don’t pre-order the book, maybe they’ll remember it and pass along the information to someone else.

As a quick side note, when I was at a writer’s conference, a couple of readers told me they love seeing a book cover for the book that is next in the series.  There is something about seeing the cover that makes them want to click the link to check it out.  So when you’re linking to the pre-order, I suggest having the book cover image with it, if you know how to put one in.  If not, then your link will take them to it anyway.

When On Social Media, Use Fun Posts to Talk About the Upcoming Book

My favorite form of social media is blogging.  I asked my readers half a year ago what kind of posts they enjoyed, and a lot of them enjoyed updates on what I’m working on.  I thought for sure this bored them, but some actually like it.  So once in a while, go ahead and mention how your current work in progress is coming along.  Then, while you’re doing that, add the link to the pre-order page or give the direct link they can pre-order the book.  I like to do this will the book cover to stamp the visual cue in their mind.  So when they see the cover, they’ll automatically know, “Oh yeah, that’s the book with Character X in it … or That’s the book where X happens.” This is why I like to have the book cover before I even start writing it.  Because then when I mention it on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, I can attach the cover with it.  (Don’t worry.  You can always update a cover.  Nothing has to be set in stone.  Just let people know it’s a new cover reveal.  I have yet to have anyone jump on me about this.)

Other fun things you can do to promote your pre-order books are….

  1.  Letting Your Characters Tell The Reader What They Think of the Book They’re In (This is my example if you care to check it out  Note I use the book cover image with the caption under it to let people know if they click the link, they can go to the pre-order page.)  This is where a character can write a letter to you or the reader.
  2. Character Interviews.  This is an off-shoot of the above, but it will be a place to get your characters to reveal something fun and interesting about the book that the reader might not otherwise know about.  In this one, you can also use multiple characters and let them banter back and forth between each other.  It’s always fun when characters don’t get along.
  3. Inspiration for the Book.  This is where you share how you got the story idea, came up with character names, how you decided on setting, etc.  It can be anything you want.
  4. What you Learned While Writing the Book.  Maybe your audience really enjoys something specific about history, and you want to share some new tidbit of information you found while researching it.
  5. Video Where You Share Something Special about the Book.  You can always do a video and upload it to You Tube and share it on all the social media places you belong to.  It can be inspiration for the story or something you learned while writing it.  Or, if you’re inclined, you can dress up as the character and tell the reader what you’re thinking of the author or the story or the other characters you’re stuck with.
  6. Share some pictures of what the characters look like, where they live, or some object that is important to the story.  I could see this being big on places like Pinterest or Instagram.

Ideas 1-6 can be done on any social media platform.  I like to make the blog post and link that to Facebook and Twitter so it goes out to all my main social media platforms.  You can do it this way or link it directly to the social media platform of your choice.

Only Bluntly Come Out with your Pre-Order Announcement Once In Awhile

Don’t spam with the pre-order info.  Yes, I do think when you first get the pre-order up, you should announce it.  Maybe do it a couple of times in case someone missed it at first, but space this out so it’s not coming up all the time.

After a while, though, it’ll be ineffective and people will block it out.  I suggest using the pre-order link that will go directly to your pre-order page or the link where the book is on pre-order at.  That’s another reason why I love the pre-order book page.  You can use multiple retailer links on those.  That means you just have to link the book cover to one place, and people can go to the retailer of their choice from there.

You can be discreet with the pre-order page by using the following techniques:

Use the book cover as a widget to the side of your blog and link that widget to the pre-order page.  (To see what I mean, you can check out my blog.  Look at the right side to see the book covers.  If you click on one, you’ll go to the book launch page I set up for it.)

When you make a blog post, have the cover of your book at the top of your post (when you are mentioning your book) and have the cover link to the pre-order page.  Use the caption under the book cover image to let people know they can click the link to find the page.  (I just used this technique in this blog post.  I also linked to this above when I posted #1 under fun things you can do to promote pre-order books.  So check the book cover image and see what I wrote under it.)

Have a pre-order page on your blog or website for all your pre-orders, so people can go to it if they want.  In addition to this other stuff, I do have such a page on my blog and website.

It’s okay to use multiple avenues to promote the pre-order.  I think the key is not to mention it all the time in your Twitter, Facebook, or blog post feeds.  Just as you wouldn’t want to keep saying, “I have this book for sale.  Check it out” all the time, you don’t want to do this with pre-orders.


  1. If the book launch link doesn’t work to take you to the main Book Launch site where you can check out the site in more detail, please let me know.

  2. jmpayer says:

    Just a couple quick thoughts on this important topic. As a writer I get why pre-orders are so important, but as a reader they have zero appeal because I have to wait. Why not just wait until it actually comes out? One thing I’ve seen that helps counter the lack of reader appeal is a discount or special. “Only 99 cents if you pre-order now, price will go up to 3.99 afterwards.” It offers an incentive. In fact, I think the only times I’ve actually preordered a book was when some kind of deal was offered.

    1. I think this is one of those things that people either like or don’t. I know some authors who don’t like pre-orders because if the book is ready, they want to publish it today. I like pre-orders as a reader because I don’t want to forget to get the book (or movie) when it becomes available. I don’t want to have to keep going back to remind myself the product is due out. It allows me to get it then cross it off my list. That being said, I can see why some readers would rather wait until the book comes out or, as you said, be interested in the pre-order if there was incentive.

      I hadn’t thought of the price point as a promotional tool, but it could very well be one. If someone can buy a $3.99 book for $0.99 during the pre-order period, that would be appealing.

      1. jmpayer says:

        The biggest benefit to pre-orders (as an author) is that when the book goes on sale all of those orders are filled on the first day instead of spread out. It bumps up the book’s listing on all the sites. Mark Coker has been encouraging self published authors to take advantage of them for a while now for that reason.

        1. I love that advantage as an author. I listened to a podcast recently with Mark Coker on it. I think it was the one with Joanna Penn, and he said only about 10% of Smashwords authors use the pre-order option. That took me back to the 2009-2010 timeframe when only a small percentage of authors self-published. Those who went in early had an easier time of attracting an audience because it was new. There wasn’t the high supply of books yet competing for readers.

          If the pre-order function can make you stand out a little bit (like your idea of running the $0.99 promo during that time), that gives an advantage over the book that isn’t on pre-order because the author would release it with the $3.99 price point.

          The sales boost of a pre-order is probably a lot more powerful with the big name authors who sell well anyway, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to have even a slight bump in sales. I never made it to a bestselling chart because of a pre-order. What I like most is that pre-orders help simplify my life by getting all the hard work out of the way in advance of release day. But, if you could sell more copies because you had time to fill up some orders prior to release day, it’s possible those sales could boost visibility enough where (overall) you sell much better than you would have otherwise. I think it was in the same podcast Mark Coker said books born as a pre-order sell better overall. So why not use the advantage if you can?

          1. I tracked down the link to the podcast. I thought this was very informative, especially when they discussed pre-orders: I’m still not fully convinced about the effectiveness of doing pre-orders on Amazon, but I have opted to put two up on Amazon to see how things play out. The bulk of my pre-orders, however, are not on Amazon. Amazon doesn’t add up all the pre-orders so it gives you that nice boost on release day, which is a disadvantage (in my opinion). I’m sure the big name authors who do pre-orders on Amazon benefit from it, but the only places I can see giving a boost to authors in pre-orders are non-Amazon channels.

            I hope that all makes sense. My kids are buzzing around me while I’m typing this. 🙂

          2. jmpayer says:

            Absolutely! 🙂

  3. Next time I have a book to promote, I’m using this post to help me prepare for the book launch.

    1. 😀 I hope the tips help!

  4. Thank you so much, Ruth, for all of your valuable information. My book will be coming out January, 2016 and I want to be as prepared as possible. You are an angel!

    1. Thank you, Gippy! I hope some of these tips help you gain additional exposure!

  5. P. C. Zick says:

    This came at an opportune time since I have the third in a series in pre-orders right now (release Nov. 10). I plan on putting your suggestions to work today. Thank you.

    1. I hope they work for you, P.C.! 🙂

  6. Barb says:

    Thanks. This is very helpful.

  7. theryanlanz says:

    Btw, Ruth Ann, I scheduled the post about writing with heart (that you gave me permission for) as a guest post for Nov 12th. As usual, I included credit/bio/link back to this blog.

    Would you be interested in future guests posts of a similar nature?

    1. Thank you! I’ll share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + when it comes out.

      I’d love to write future guest posts. Would you like me to email you about topics you’d like to see, or do you want to pick from the posts I write over here? Either way is fine with me.

      1. theryanlanz says:

        Great thanks. The latter works best for me. I appreciate it.

        1. Sounds good. Pick whatever you like. 🙂

          1. theryanlanz says:

            Sounds good. I’ll drop you a line whenever I schedule one of them. : )

          2. theryanlanz says:

            Also, should I stick to ones authored by you, or are you giving permission for any article on this overall website?

            1. Let me email the other authors and come back to you when I get their replies.

              1. theryanlanz says:

                Sounds great. I look forward to it. Please let them know that I’ll always issue credit (going off of the name of the name given on each article), bio for the author (if available) and your overall website, and a link.

                1. Heard back from all of them, and they said go right ahead. Take whatever post you want. 🙂

                  1. theryanlanz says:

                    Great thanks! I’ll be in touch.

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