how to set up pre-sale campaign for you book/ebookA strong book launch campaign can have many benefits:

  • Generate word-of-mouth
  • Rack up book reviews
  • Get the attention of industry pros (literary agents and editors), potential clients, peers, media, and anyone else you want to impress
  • Put some money in the bank
  • Bring new life to backlist titles (previous books you’ve authored will usually get a boost after a new book release)
  • Introduce readers to your other products and services
  • Give you a reason to reach out to your networks and get people engaged

One of the best ways to hold a solid book launch is to accumulate pre-orders. IngramSpark and Lightning Source both allow authors to make their print books available for preorder on Amazon weeks or even months in advance of the planned book release date. Oddly, Amazon’s KDP doesn’t currently offer this feature.

When you put your book up for pre-sale on Amazon, customers can place their orders in advance of the launch date, and their payments won’t be processed until the book is officially available. All pre-orders will count toward total book sales on launch day, so if you’re focused on reaching any of the bestseller lists previously discussed, including Amazon’s, this strategy can be helpful.

A pre-order campaign can also help generate reviews quickly since you will have built anticipation with readers and they will receive the book as soon as it’s available and be anxious to crack it open. In addition, pre-orders can help your book appear on various book category lists on Amazon, so if you keep up your marketing efforts, it’s possible you can remain on some lists for an extended period of time.

In order to set your book up for pre-orders with IngramSpark or Lightning Source, you’ll need to have your book files ready to print. They require that both your cover and interior files are loaded and print-ready. This means you’ll need to plan your pre-sale campaign into your book-publishing timeline.

You can host a pre-sale campaign for any length of time you like. We recommend no more than a few weeks, though, in order to keep your audience engaged and excited about the release.

Ebook Pre-Orders

In addition to setting up your print book for pre-sale, you can also accept pre-orders for your Kindle and ebook editions. Pre-orders for Kindle should be set up directly via We also use and recommend Smashwords for pre-orders on the other ebook platforms including Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Kobo.

Sales accumulated prior to launch day will count on the individual retailer’s bestseller lists, so you could get listed on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble as a bestseller that week—and that exposure can potentially generate even more sales.

Smashwords recommends launching your pre-order campaign at least four weeks in advance to create merchandising opportunities with retailers. For example, each week Apple promotes its top-selling pre-orders, and getting your book listed here could inspire more sales. Smashwords also recommends that for authors with previously published titles, you should update the back matter of your previous ebooks to indicate the on-sale date for your new book. This will not only help readers find your new title, but it may help retailers cross-promote your new ebook with buyers of your previous ebooks.

Note that Amazon Kindle requires that you have a fully formatted ebook file uploaded in order to participate in pre-orders. Smashwords allows authors at any stage, whether with a completed file or an “asset-less” pre-order, to schedule a pre-order campaign up to a full year in advance!

IngramSpark pre-order details:

Kindle pre-order details:

Smashwords pre-order details:

Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan Book

This article is an excerpt from The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan: The Professional Guide to Profitable Self-Publishing by Stephanie Chandler and Karl W. Palachuk. Get your copy: