Written by A Guest Author September 23rd, 2021

How to Successfully Encourage Preorders

By Aliya Hall

Preorders are an integral part of the publishing process, whether you’re publishing traditionally or indie. That said, it can be a challenge to encourage readers to order your book early instead of waiting until after its release.

Preorder incentives are one way to not only draw more hype around your book, but also to push more traction around a preorder campaign. Authors commonly use a host of different options to pique readers’ interest, from including promotional material with each purchase, to holding preorder giveaways. Regardless of your marketing budget, there are special bonuses authors can include to successfully boost their preorder numbers.

Promotional items and merchandise

One of the most common incentives authors use to attract readers is through promotional merch, such as specialty bookmarks, enamel pins, or character art. It’s easy for authors to open a submission form where readers can provide proof of purchase and include their shipping information to receive something unique to accompany your book. Even if a reader is already interested in your book, this little treat encourages them to buy it early and makes them feel like they got an extra reward for doing it. These items are also smaller and easier to buy in bulk, which can help cut down on costs.

Giveaways and discounts

Another way to entice readers to preorder is by offering a giveaway contest specifically for readers who have bought the book. Most often these giveaways are centered around merch, but it also gives you another creative opportunity to craft specialty items to enhance your readers’ experience with the book.

Giveaways can also be more flexible. If you’re an author that has a merch shop open already, those items are easy to incorporate into a giveaway. A collection of smaller promotional items, signed book plates, or an annotated section of the book are also exciting and affordable incentives that would draw readers in.

You can also custom order specialty items like candles, notebooks, or a collector’s item inspired by your novel, and there are many micro-businesses on Instagram that specialize in custom bookish swag who you could work with if you don’t have the means to create that merch yourself.

Even offering a discount for preorders through a specific period of time could be enough for some readers to prioritize buying a copy. Offering a deal will always catch readers’ eyes and is one way to make your book more accessible to a wider audience.

Bonus content and signed book plates

If book merch isn’t of interest or is out of budget, there are still other value-added touches an author can share with a reader. Offering signed book plates is an easy and low-cost way as an author to prompt readers to preorder. That personal touch from an author is something many readers treasure, and it enhances the sentimental value of your book.

This is also an opportunity for you to provide exclusive bonus content to readers. An added short story or a scene that didn’t make the cut are all perks that you can repurpose for preorders, and it’s something that the reader can’t get anywhere else. It also establishes a deeper connection to your preorder readers and gives them more of the story they’re already invested in.

Promoting preorders doesn’t have to be a daunting task. For readers who are already interested in your book, an incentive is thanking them for the early support and commitment. For other potential readers, it motivates them to check out your book and take advantage of a great opportunity. Preorder incentives are a win-win for both readers and authors alike.

Bio: Aliya Bree Hall is a freelance journalist and writer based in Portland, Ore. She is currently editing her first novel, an adult F|F science fantasy. When she’s not writing, she’s hosting Sapphic Stories Bookclub (and Other Queer Tales) or cohosting the podcast Shit We Wrote.



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