We used to suggest Preorder Campaigns on Amazon to our clients – not anymore.
It used to be that when you pre-ordered with Amazon, they would count all of your orders as sales on the release day. Your orders stacked up so that on the day it released, they counted all of these orders at once, and you could make bestseller lists. It was awesome! Unfortunately, that's not how it works anymore.
Now, on Amazon, pre-orders count in the sales numbers as they come in.
If you set your book up for pre-order, and only get a few orders a week, then Amazon’s computer thinks no one wants that book. It starts dropping down in the pile in the search engines and gets harder to find. It’s no longer a good strategy for most authors to orchestrate a launch to do a preorder campaign on Amazon.
However, there are a few exceptions….
If you know that you can hit about 8,000-10,000 copies sold for preorder, that’s a smart move… IF you get them all ordered in 30 days or less.
If you're doing a blog tour, and you want to get your book up for preorder because the blog tour starts three days before your actual launch date, you can either launch a little bit earlier or you can do a preorder for limited three day period. It’s not advisable to do it for a longer period of time, unless you're trying to do preorders on Ingram because you know that bookstores will order it in advance.
Does my book need to be ready to publish to start a preorder campaign on Amazon?
If I decide to put the book up for preorder months in advance anyway, can I just put my book cover up on Amazon and pre-sell my book while I complete it, or does the full book need to be up before the pre-release date?
A lot of people do put their book on pre-sale months and months ahead of time, and it makes you wonder if they’ve really finished it yet. Most of the time, they haven’t.
If it’s a book published by a big publishing house, sometimes the book has been finished way in advance because they are sending it out for reviews. The truth is, however, that a lot of people will put a book up on Amazon for pre-sale, and all they’re using is the front cover, especially if it’s an eBook. They upload the cover, or a working cover, and Amazon doesn’t know what files they’re using.
You can use dummy files, or ARC files, and upload them in place of the manuscript itself. You just have to make sure to change them out with the correct files before your book goes live.
But remember, if you want to do this, Amazon is going to think your book is “live” when it comes to sales and if you don’t get regular orders, it’s going to be pushed to the bottom of searches.
The bottom line is this, it’s not like it used to be.
You used to be able to put your book up on Amazon and work for your preorders. On your release day, your preorders would hit, and you’d get a big splash. Amazon caught on to this, and they didn’t like that. So, they changed their policies and New shelves has changed our preorder recommendations.
Our best advice is skip the preorder campaigns on Amazon. Rather, create a launch week/month campaign for Amazon and hit everyone that way.
Put the book up on a particular date and announce the pub date for 3 days later. Then start marketing!