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How to Sell More Books with Amazon Pre-Order Strategies

If you’re a self-published author and you haven’t started using the Amazon pre-order option for KDP authors (Kindle Direct Publishing), it can really benefit your book marketing! After all, it has really helped level the playing field.

To be clear, this is not a “click publish and they will come” opportunity. It is, however, definitely a great way to build buzz if you’re willing to put in the work.

Like many authors, you may wish to work with a book promotion company like mine to really maximize this effect of your pre-order book promotions. Regardless of whether you do it all on your own or not, it’s important to know what the benefits are and the options available to you.

With that in mind, here’s an overview of the biggest benefits of the Amazon pre-order:

First-time authors

First, congratulations! I know how exciting it is to see your book up on Amazon. If you haven’t given much thought about how you’ll promote your book, the time is now to dig in.

If you’re a first-time author with an established platform for another reason, you have several avenues available to you. So, if the book is tied to your business or area of expertise, by all means, as soon as your book is up for pre-order, start promoting it via your social media accounts, your mailing list, and of course, your website.

Here’s my list of 13 strategies you can start working on ASAP.

However, if you don’t have a platform yet, while I still encourage you to check out the 13 strategies above, stick to ones that primarily require sweat equity as opposed to money.

While promoting your book during the pre-publication phase can be lucrative, it’s tougher when you’re unknown. As a result, it’s important that you find the balance between marketing your book, and investing too much too soon.

You can also optimize your Author Central page during your pre-order, and start playing with categories and keywords to see what spikes the book and what does not, so you’ll be ready to go on launch day.

Authors with existing titles:

If you have a book out there (or several), and you’ve built a mailing list of fans, then a pre-order is a great thing to do to build excitement for your upcoming book. If you haven’t read my tips on smarter social media book marketing, take a few minutes to do so, because the pre-order time period offers great inspiration for social content!

With that said, I still recommend reserving the bulk of your book promotion budget for when the book is available for purchase on Amazon. However, the pre-publication phase is perfect for some sweat equity-based book marketing.

Maximize readers’ interest:

Regardless of your category, you probably don’t want to use the full 90 days that Amazon allows, because 90 days is a long time to keep people’s interest and wait for their copy of your book!

Beyond that, it puts a lot of pressure on you to keep your book promotion front and center for the entire time.  And because exposure and pre-order go hand in hand, you can’t start your Amazon book promotion, and then let it fizzle before the release.

It’s all or nothing.

With that in mind, for most authors, I recommend a month at most. If you’re prepared, 2 weeks is a great amount of time to go out hard and keep the momentum up. If you need to get organized, download my free book promotion planner. In addition to helping you get and stay organized, it offers some great suggestions for strategies.

The single most important thing to remember, is that you need to be able to hit whatever deadline you assign to your pre-order. So, choose wisely.

Getting ready for reviews:

When deciding on your pre-order timing, keep in mind that readers can’t post reviews for a pre-order book.

One workaround here is to limit the timeframe of your pre-order period. Again, two weeks is a reasonable. Just remember to keep your social and email list active with review reminders at regular intervals after the release.

Goodreads offers a great option for early reviews because readers can post pre-order reviews there. If you don’t yet consider yourself Goodreads savvy, you should take some time to learn the platform. Here’s a piece I wrote on how to really maximize your Goodreads participation to boost exposure and drive sales.

How to price your pre-order:

Keep your pricing low – even if you plan on raising it later.

You’re competing with millions of titles on Amazon and your book isn’t ready (yet) so the immediacy isn’t there. Lower pricing is most likely to entice an impulse buy.

I wrote this piece on pricing if this is getting overwhelming.

Work to build your Amazon list:

Putting your book up for pre-order gives you the chance to build your list.

While you don’t get access to the list of readers who follow you from your Author Central page, Amazon makes up for it by sending emails to your followers on your behalf, any time you list a book for pre-order AND when a book releases.

This is book promotion gold!

So how do you build your Follow list? Ask your current network to follow you. You can push it on your website, your email list, and on social. You can also run giveaways for products on Amazon and require entrants to follow you in exchange for an opportunity to win. To make this work you want to be sure and choose items that make a lot of sense for your target reader market.

If you haven’t done a reader profile yet, download my free brainstorm. And once that’s done, make a short list of products that are slam-dunks for those people, and set up a few giveaways.

Ready to give this strategy a try? Next time you are preparing to release a book, with just a little advanced planning, you can put it into action and take your Amazon book marketing to the next level! Just be mindful of how much of your promotional sweat equity and dollars you spend on pre-order, because, as I always say, book promotion is a marathon, not a sprint, and you’ll have to keep the momentum up long after your book is released.


Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit


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