When I listed the Kindle and Nook editions of my second novel, Race for the Flash Stone , to accept preorders, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Big-name authors routinely list their upcoming titles for preorders, and their books-in-waiting always seem to immediately pop onto the best-seller lists. But what could an unknown indie author hope to achieve by employing the same practice? The answer: Whoa, Nelly!
Of course, I hoped accepting preorders for my book would generate sales in advance of the official release, but I had no idea how many to anticipate. I set my expectations low and chastened myself to primarily treat the 60-day preorder window as an opportunity to build awareness of the upcoming release among my Facebook and blog followers. That tempered view quickly changed within days after listing the book for preorders on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s website, bn.com.
Sales quickly accumulated, and this led to a few unexpected side benefits that continue to accrue as of this writing, two months after the official release date. In short, I received 3 powerful benefits from listing my book for preorders that led to a book launch that exceeded my expectations:
1. Unsolicited buzz by Amazon and Barnes & Noble
2. Faster accumulation of reviews and ratings for the new book
3. Early read on sales level led me to boost advertising investment in first book
Before describing these benefits in more depth, it’s likely of value to provide some brief background to assist fellow newbie indie authors in determining whether my preorder insights are of value.
First, both of my novels are part of a series titled The Anlon Cully Chronicles. The first book in the series, Shadows of the Stone Benders , was released in May 2016. Race for the Flash Stone is a continuation of the story explored in Shadows of the Stone Benders , and that likely had an impact on the stronger than expected preorders, as Shadows of the Stone Benders concluded with a soft cliffhanger.
If you want to give your books the best shot of selling, you must give conscious effort to establishing your author brand.
A strong presence helps an author or any online entrepreneur in the same way branding helps companies. An author brand helps you establish a name people recognize and trust, which helps you sell more books.