Why I Plan to Offer Pre-Orders on Future Publications

If you’re looking for a way to jump start sales of your next indie published book, you need to consider preorders.

It’s no secret that I recommend Smashwords wholeheartedly. Smashwords made publishing my first art instruction books possible. And easy.

But mere publication isn’t all there is to the bookselling process.

One of the coolest, most exciting marketing tools available to indie publishers is something known as the pre-order.

What is Pre-Ordering?

Basically, offering pre-ordering makes your book available for sale before its official release date. Traditional publishers have been doing preorders for years. While preordering new releases is especially noticeable for big name authors, it’s pretty much standard for any author publishing through the traditional publication route. Fans and potential readers can order their copy before the official release date and be assured of delivery on the release date for eBooks, and shortly thereafter for print books.

A Personal Example

I have a new art book in the final stages of writing and editing right now. I plan to release it on March 31, 2014.

If I don’t offer pre-orders, I can talk about that new book all I want, but readers and potential readers can’t buy it until the release date. I have to count on them to remember to come back to one of my blogs or to my Smashwords author page on March 31 in order to buy the book. Some will, but most of them will probably forget. I would. I can talk the book up all I want in the days and weeks leading up to release, but I put the responsibility of remembering to order on my readers.

If, on the other hand, I offer readers the ability to pre-order the book, then every time someone reads about the book before its release, they can order it with a click or two. They lock in their copy of the book. Best of all, they aren’t charged for it until it’s delivered.

Other Reasons to Offer Pre-orders

Authors benefit in several ways, only the first of which is getting sales before the book releases. Here are just a few:

  • Pre-Orders are available throughout the Smashwords distribution network. Smashwords distributes to dozens of booksellers including Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Scrib’d.
  • Authors generate sales before the official release date
  • Same day availability at all distribution locations
  • Special discounts and promotions can be linked to the pre-order process that invites/encourages readers to spread the word


To my way of thinking, this is a win-win for authors and their fans. I like being able to make new books available for pre-order for a week or two (or even four) before they go on sale officially. I also like giving my readers the opportunity to buy new books through pre-ordering.

If you’d like to learn more, Smashwords founder, Mark Coker put together the following slideshare presentation. The presentation details the pre-order process and its many benefits. Click on the play button below to watch.

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