Pre-sales are a hot-button topic in the book publishing world. You likely haven’t thought much about pre-sales, so let me break down a few of the most common pros and cons so you can decide what’s best for your book.
First, though, let’s define a pre-sale so we’re all on the same page. (See what I did there?) A pre-sale is, essentially, making your book available for purchase by setting up an advanced listing on a selling platform (e.g., Amazon or your website). When readers “buy,” they are simply reserving a copy, which will be shipped (if a print book) or released (if an ebook) on launch day, and at that time their payment will be processed.
The more people who read your book and can offer a review, the better. Gathering reviews pre-launch means you’ll have more reviews to use in your marketing and promotional efforts. More reviews generally mean more sales.
If you’re counting on most of your sales to come through Amazon, pre-orders won’t count toward your total launch day sales. (Lots of self-publishing authors like that initial sales-a-palooza on launch day to try to achieve best-seller status.)
Without a compelling offer, many readers don’t mind waiting until a book is officially released to receive/pay for it. Some authors offer freebies with promo materials like bookmarks or postcards, or digital freebies like a Q&A with the author. Others have made the book pre-order link available when they revealed the cover to their email list. (On the flip side, you could offer a discounted price during the pre-sale. Customers of all sorts, readers included, love a bargain!)
Here’s the bottom line: There is no one right way to publish a book, so weigh the pros and cons, and then make an informed decision. Once you’ve made it, don’t look back. Happy book sales!