How to Market Your Book with 13 Pre-Order Strategies

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Amazon Updates & Marketing Tips, Book Marketing Basics

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Working pre-order campaigns into your author marketing plan can definitely help you build buzz.

Plus they are an excellent excuse to engage fans and draw in new ones.

And pre-orders can be really lucrative for sales, when done right.

If you’ve never done a pre-order campaign, or your last one wasn’t successful, it’s time to address some new options that Amazon has rolled out – as well as some overall industry changes related to preorders to ensure that when it comes time to market your book you’ll sell more the next time around.

The issue with selling on Amazon has always been that you don’t know who bought your book, so within some of these strategies you’ll need to get a proof of purchase, something as simple as an email copy of the Amazon receipt in exchange for the offer or prize. Because not only do you get to verify who’s really buying, you get the added bonus of building your mailing list. A mailing list (and subsequently, your newsletter) is author marketing gold when it comes to opening doors to sell more books.

So let’s go through the list of how to market your book with my favorite pre-order strategies:

Update Your Back Matter

Effective author marketing requires you to stay current. And that means keeping your already published titles updated as well.

In prep for a new release, you’ll want to update the eBook files for any of your already published titles in the same genre. Why? To ensure they’re directing people to the new book, with a link to the product page.

You should already have your current titles in regular marketing rotations. So the effort you’re already putting in should benefit your upcoming book as well, right?

Plan Special Pre-Order Pricing to Pull in More Buyers

Lots of authors ask me how to market a book and still make money on each sale. And that is literally one of the toughest things to answer because of all the factors involved. But the reality is, everyone loves a deal. One of the most effective ways to sell more books during a pre-order promotion is to discount the book. I know it, just trust me. The key is constantly reminding people through all your other efforts that the book goes back to full price on the release date! And the discount doesn’t have to be huge, it could be $2 off for a limited time. The idea is to get folks buying!

Offer Cool Swag Packs for a Lasting Effective

People love free stuff! If you want to sell more books, there’s a good chance you’ll see a better return if you get a little more generous with your brand swag. And you could offer this free swag with proof of purchase – and build your mailing list, too! Swag doesn’t have to be expensive. We have different things we offer: canvas tote bags and “Ask Me About My Book” stickers are two popular ones. You can design a lot of this with Canva, which we use for everything!

Swag is a good author marketing investment in general. Once you have it on hand, you’ll be amazed at how many ways you come up to use it, which will enhance your marketing efforts on multiple levels.

author swag

How to Market Your Book by Offering Cool Digital Swag

If you don’t have the budget to mail out physical swag, you can do something fun with digital material too, don’t stress.

Poster quality art downloads, excerpts, deleted scenes, etc. There are so many options and this is a great way to strengthen your brand as well.

How to Sell More Books with 13 Pre-Order Strategies |

Create a Teaser Excerpt to Build Excitement

A great way to build excitement for an upcoming release is by sharing an excerpt. And don’t be stingy. If you’re having them buy the book on pre-order, then give them the first few chapters to really get them excited!

Don’t Waste Anything and Collect Some Deleted Scenes

This is more for authors who write series, or write in a very defined genre, but readers love insider info. And deleted scenes from previous titles can be fun ways to reward established fans for pre-ordering. The parts that you cut end up living a new life and supporting your brand loyalty!

Do a Cover Reveal to Get People Excited

Another great way to milk a pre-order campaign and potentially sell more books is with a cover reveal. Covers can make or break a book. And they also create such a strong psychological connection to your brand.

Discount and Cross-Promote with Other Titles

Another question I get asked a lot is how to market your book without leaving your previous titles in the dust. My response is always along the lines of, if you really want to ramp up to sell more books during a pre-order campaign, consider discounting other titles. if you do this, don’t discount the new title, too. It’s an either/or situation. And you don’t want to look like you’re just giving it all away. But limited-time discount promotions will help you get those books in more hands to spread the word.

Update Your Social Images

When you truly get down to business for how to market your book you’ll realize images can make or break you. Be sure you’re updating your website and social media headers to represent the new book, promote the cover, the pre-order dates, and especially pre-order pricing.

Set Up a Countdown to Build Last Minute Buzz

This is a super simple strategy that doubles as a social media marketing strategy as well. Plan out (schedule) posts that push the pre-order and remind people when the pre-order ends. This strategy is particularly effective for selling more books when combined with a special pre-order discount price.

Run a Branded Contest

Sometimes selling more books isn’t about selling more books. Let me explain. Sometimes when you consider how to market your book you have to keep your current fans front and center. Show your followers that you truly appreciate their loyalty, no strings attached, give them something just because. But this doesn’t mean you can’t still get some immediate benefits.

Author Leigh Bardugo did a contest (image below) and simply asked people to follow her blog and comment on the post with the “rules” to be entered. And, of course, she reminded people about the pre-order.

You can ask people to follow you on social and share a post of your book release announcement. There are lots of ways to benefit from reader engagement aside from just asking them to buy the book directly.

How to Sell More Books with 13 Pre-Order Strategies |

How to Market Your Book to Get Early Reviews

Similar to the contest, in regards to asking people to engage with you in some way to be eligible to win something, this is a great way to generate early reviews too.

Ask people to do something for you, share a post, sign up for your newsletter, follow your blog, etc. Then, start handing out advance copies of the book with the understanding that you really want people to get on Amazon and review it as soon as the book is officially released.

And a personalized note goes a long way to communicate the importance of reviewing, I assure you.

Run a BOGO Offer

I love running BOGO (Buy One Get One or Buy One Give One) offers because it builds exposure.

I personally prefer buy one, give one, because marketing a book is also about drawing in new potential fans. So I ask people to pre-order my book, send me the receipt, and the name and email address of a friend or colleague I can gift a digital copy to as well.

People love to share books they enjoy, and you can be a part of that while also getting introduced to new potential fans and followers.

I’ve even invited people to include a short note they’d want me to include, to take the personalization up a notch when I’m gifting.

Create a Video…or Ten

Video is becoming increasingly important for social media exposure, in regards to generating more interest and more engagement.

So make an official announcement about the pre-order. Do videos to announce discounts or to describe a giveaway or swag offer. There’s really no reason you can’t do a video to accompany any of these strategies. Plus with proper planning, you can record all these in one afternoon and release them as appropriate.

So get the camera ready and get to work!

Keep it Short 

While I love doing pre-order campaigns, I’m not a fan of long pre-orders. It can negatively impact your Amazon algorithm if you have a long pre-order that just sits there for months. Also, you don’t want to market it too early because the majority of consumers don’t like to wait for stuff. You can thank Amazon for that one with their instant, same-day and overnight shipping. We want it now and do will your readers. So don’t get caught up in doing long pre-orders – I recommend keeping it to two weeks, max one month, and pack in the marketing. Yep, that’s it.

Run Amazon Ads

I love running Amazon ads for the authors we work with – but I really love doing them for pre-orders. Why? Because a good Amazon ad strategy run during a short pre-order campaign can really help set your book up for success. It not only helps to drive early exposure to your book, but it also helps to “educate” the Amazon algorithm on where your book belongs in the Amazon ecosystem.

The Takeaway

Pre-order campaigns are about being prepared and making smart choices. Now that I’ve gone over some really strong strategies to sell more books during your pre-order campaign, you can prepare a lot of what you need in advance.

That way, when it’s time to pick a publication date and pre-order date you’ll have an arsenal of material and ideas at the ready to keep this part of your author marketing plan stress-free.

And if it seems like there’s a lot of moving parts, you’re right. There can be. So I definitely recommend downloading my free monthly book marketing planner. It will help you stay organized and keep your promotion moving so that you can sell more books.

Resources and Free Downloads

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  1. Lexia Mackin

    Thanks Penny. I’ve read a couple of your articles about author marketing and each time I think the current article is better than the previous one! They’re all wonderful. With my first book ready to be published soon (I’ve picked a date and am getting my head around marketing strategies) I’ve really benefited from your information. Thanks for helping the ‘newbies’.

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Hi Lexia,
      Thank you for your kind feedback! I’m so glad my articles are helping you and other newbies. Congrats on completing your first book…no small feat!. Hopefully, you already have a marketing plan in mind. Get in touch to find out how we might help with your launch campaign at: Best of luck to you!!

  2. Prahlad

    Very informative post. I am actually thinking of publishing a book and would definitely implement these brilliant strategies to get more sales. Thanks for sharing!

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Thanks so much for your note! Good luck with your book and please do get in touch with us if we can help in any way!

  3. Sandra Ardoin

    Very informative post, Penny. I do have a question. You said, “…something as simple as an email copy of the Amazon receipt in exchange for the offer or prize. Because not only do you get to verify who’s really buying, you get the added bonus of building your mailing list.”
    I’ve always been hesitant to add someone to my newsletter list if they don’t choose specifically to be added. How do you get around the consent with GDPR and wouldn’t it upset people to be added like that? Or do you place a statement in the post that makes it clear that sending a receipt or entering a contest means joining your mailing list?

    • Des

      I don’t know if you’ll see this, considering how old your question is… but I’ll answer in case it can help someone else.

      The easiest solution is to make joining your newslist one of the conditons. So, for instance: “for a chance to win your prize, join my newsletter and send me a receipt”.

      You can have it all set up into one form: they fill out their name, email, and have to check a box stating that they accept to subscribe and receive mails from you.

      If they don’t want to be on your NL, they don’t fill out the form. Problem solved 😉

      In other terms, you wouldn’t be adding them manually to the list, it would all be automated and thus would require their approval beforehand.

  4. Casty Faith

    I love this post. I’m in charge of promoting a Book and I find so pratical strategies here that give me more insights.
    Thank you once more

  5. Troy Hollan

    Thank you Penny for this valuable information. My book, Clucked, is due to launch in Nov, so I’m going to follow some of these strategies.

    • Penny Sansevieri

      That’s fantastic Troy, please send us a link to the book on Amazon once it releases, I’d love to check out your retail page!



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