Let's talk about our relationship: why do authors push readers for preorders?

August 31, 2018

I got to thinking that maybe some people might be interested in what goes on behind-the-scenes in writing a book. And marketing it. Because writing a book, or a series, is a whole heck of a lot of work, but taking the product onto the market and getting it into the hands of the right people? That's a business. And if a writer isn't in this for the business, then I have to stick myself out on a limb and say, "it's just a hobby."


And it can be an expensive one at that.


So, as I was getting the launch stuff ready for BOLZANO, I started asking myself: do my 1200 newsletter subscribers actually understand WHY I want them to preorder. Maybe not.


Here's the explanation:

 Sales are accounted for not on the day that you, the reader, pre-order, but on the day of release. Which means if you preorder a book today, the sale does not count until release day.


What does that do? Well, the more sales I have for the book on that day, the higher the book climbs up the charts and anyone on THAT day, looking for new historical fiction titles, is more likely to stumble not only on the new title, but on the ALSO BOUGHTS (all the other titles in the series). Naturally, any author's hope is to get all their titles into the hands of potential new fans. So, we hope for a pretty good wave of purchases on release day AND days after.


Here's the challenge: My place in the charts may not last even an hour if it's a big release day for other titles, which nobody can really anticipate.


For example, let's say on September 6th, not only does my book release, but so does a new book by Ken Follett. Ever heard of him? I have to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure I stay in the ranks. Let's say it's not just Ken Follett on September 6th, let's say it's also Libbie Hawker, or Janet E. Morris, or ... get it? So, the more preorders I have, the higher up the charts I go but if someone "outsells" I start sliding downhill.


The second strategy is to release on a good buying streak. My hope is that there are people shopping on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for books in my genre. How likely is that? Well, when are you more likely to shop for anything, especially on a rainy weekend? 😀


So, with preorders, you're helping authors to get seen on their big launch day. With purchases made ON the day or the day after or even a day after that, you're helping them to stay on top.

That's why all the fuss. Did you find this interesting? I'm happy to share any other insights into the process. Just ask away!



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