When Pre-Ordering Makes Sense
Authors may find pre-ordering beneficial in certain situations. Here are four specific contexts to consider:
1. Gaining Bestseller Status
Many authors strive to land on prestigious bestseller lists. However, it’s important to understand that these lists may not accurately reflect a book’s actual sales. They are often curated by a select group or based on limited sales data from specific outlets. Moreover, self-published books are typically excluded.
Instead of fixating on bestseller lists, it’s more effective to focus on your target audience and their needs. However, if your goal is to make the list, pre-order campaigns can significantly boost your chances. Major bestseller lists, like the New York Times, include pre-order sales in your first-week sales figures. To achieve this, you would typically need to generate over 10,000 pre-orders, which is no small feat compared to the average book’s lifetime sales.
Remember, though, that book sales are just one measure of success. Keep in mind that the Amazon bestseller list operates differently, as its ranking system counts sales on the day they occur.
2. Collaboration with Traditional Publishers and Bookstores
If you’re working with a traditional publisher or aiming to have your book stocked in brick-and-mortar bookstores, pre-order data can prove useful. It demonstrates your book’s potential market appeal, impresses your publisher, and may lead to increased promotional efforts and better bookstore placement.
For self-published authors, however, there are considerable risks associated with physical bookstores. The financial returns are often minimal, even with decent sales. Conversely, if sales are poor, you could face significant financial losses. Therefore, it’s essential to acknowledge that the future of publishing lies outside traditional bookstores. Instead, focus on leveraging your book to achieve business-related goals, such as attracting clients, gaining speaking engagements, and establishing credibility in your field.
Ultimately, your book serves as a tool to promote yourself and your business, rather than relying solely on book sales or pre-orders.
3. Managing Print Runs
When it comes to printing books, authors have two main options: print-on-demand (PoD) and offset printing.
Print-on-demand ensures that books are printed only when someone places an order. This eliminates the risk of having excess copies and allows you to avoid paying for unsold books.
Offset printing involves printing a larger quantity of books in advance. This method offers a lower per-copy price for larger print runs, making it a cost-effective choice if you anticipate high demand. Additionally, offset printing produces higher quality hardcover books.
However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between realistic print quantities and avoiding excessive inventory. If you’re uncertain about the number of books to print, pre-orders can help gauge demand and reduce risks associated with offset printing.
4. Unique Incentives and Special Circumstances
Some authors entice readers to pre-order their books by offering special incentives, such as exclusive event tickets. While this strategy can be effective for authors with an established audience aiming for bestseller lists, it may not be the most suitable approach for most authors.
Instead, consider focusing on building your email list and creating buzz through alternative means. Later, we’ll delve into effective strategies for achieving these goals.
For more insights and advice on book pre-order campaigns, visit Ratingperson.