How to Run a Preorder Campaign

Now that Cloaked Shadows is officially available for preorder, I thought it fitting to write a post about some of the techniques and strategies I've found and implemented, to not only spread the word about your book, but get you as many preorders as possible! This post covers free options, such as social media strategy, and other options which require funding. Nothing is too expensive, and I definitely would recommend setting yourself a budget for your book preorder launch and readily-available launch. Let's get to it!

How to use hashtags correctly

Time your Cover Reveal correctly

It saddens me when I see an author do a cover reveal... and that's it.

Don't waste this opportunity! A cover reveal can be used strategically to build excitement for the release of your book AND send your audience to your preorder page, whether it be on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. Your audience want to buy your book, so whilst you've hooked them in, ensure you're also securing preorders. Make sure you link directly to an online retailer where they can buy instantly, you want a good user experience otherwise you could risk the user clicking off. Hook, Line and Sink.

Whilst we're on the topic of cover reveals, make sure you've prepared your images in advance. Don't just post a picture of your cover PDF, you can use sites like Canva to put your book on to a background or sites like DIY Book Covers to create 3D versions of your book. Or, get creative and take pictures of your own book, place a cup of tea or flowers nearby, or anything that suits the theme of your book, and get snapping!

Give your audience a REASON to preorder

Preorders are great for securing early purchases of your book and gives you another launch to maximise selling activity. My most favourite and useful tip I can give is to create a preorder incentive campaign. Let's face it, your audience might need an extra push, especially if you're not a well-known author, but even established authors still do this. There are a bunch of things you can offer, from signed bookplates, to cover posters and more.

Once you've decided on what items you're going to offer, use Canva to create a social media graphic for this. See below an example of mine, and make sure you share it on the same day that you share the cover reveal. Again, build interest for your audience (hook), give them a reason to preorder (line) and send them to the direct preorder link (sink).

Involve your Launch Team

If you haven't already, build a launch team for the release of your book. You can do this by creating a sign-up form using Google Forms and sending the link to your author connections. Those in your launch team agree to spread the word about your book, in return for something of value, usually a free ARC (advanced review copy) of the book in question, or anything else you can offer.

Once you've built your launch team, send them an email either the day of preorder day, or the day before with instructions on ways they can help, which include social sharing, writing a review on Goodreads, or referring your book to their friends and family. It's also a good idea to provide them with pre-made posts they can share and images to go alongside these posts. Check in with them on the day and make sure they have everything they need to share your book.

Prioritise Influencer Marketing

You need your book to be seen by as many people as possible, more specifically the right-kind of people, and the best way to do this is by utilising influencer marketing. For the release of Cloaked Shadows, I created press boxes which included a hardcover copy of my book, alongside the preorder incentives I had included in my campaign. I then found bookstagrammers (book influencers on Instagram) who had a high-following and engagement ratio, and had a high YA Fantasy book genre readership. This way, I've made sure I've targeted the correct users who are more likely to preorder my book. I sent the influencers there boxes (make sure you ask them if they'd like to receive a box and share their address) and co-ordinated when to post and what to include in their post, such as preorder gifts, the official release date and to make sure they state that the book is available for preorder now.

Create a Books2Read URL link

You may, or may not, have heard of Boosk2Read. Book2Reads is a free site where by you can create a universal link for your book, ensuring that you can share one link and users can choose where they'd like to preorder the book from. Here's what it looks like below.

Create your press release, or hire a publicist

You don't have the hire a publicist if you don't want to, although I'd personally suggest it as they have built relationships with press contacts, but one thing you must have prepared is a press release. Treat your preorder launch as if it were the official book launch, you want press involved. Your press release should hook the reader in, what makes your book different? Who would it suit? and ensure you've included a section about yourself on why you wrote the book and who you are as an author and person. People buy in to other people. If you're likeable and you have a great story, and press release to match, then you're more likely to secure more preorders from that.

Once you've got a press release in order, start by sending it to your local newspaper and radio stations, and then branch further out to major press and stations across the country, or even in other countries if your book is available for preorder in multiple places across the globe. Attract as much attention as you can and make sure you've included a high-res PDF of the book cover, alongside a professional author photo if you have one.

Email your existing subscribers

If you've read any of my other articles on marketing for authors, you'll see that I regularly discuss building an email list. Your email list is so important and guarantees that you have a set number of emails who will see your preorder launch.

In your email, you can start by talking about your journey, why you started writing your book and how you've found the publishing process. Then, include your cover reveal image as well as your preorder incentive images. Finally, make sure you prioritise CTA's. Call to actions should be on every email you ever send, they're the links that will take your readers from your email to the preorder purchase address, so make sure you're included multiple buttons that allow them to preorder in a click. Click here to view an example of my preorder and cover reveal email for Cloaked Shadows to my subscribers.

Change your website

If you've been following along with this post, you shouldn't have revealed your cover to anyone until preorder day. So your website should also not have your cover anywhere on the site. When it gets to preorder day, ensure you've changed your site to include a banner at the top of the page that displays your book and includes your CTA's to allow them to preorder. Like this:

You can even create a specific page for your book which can include the full blurb on, alongside a FAQ page that can go into detail on why you wrote the book.

Use Goodreads and BookBub

When your book is available on an online retailer, you'll be able to add your book to your Goodreads author account. By doing this, anyone who goes on to your profile will see that you're an author and that your book is available for them to add to their 'want to read' lists, which ensures others will see and add to theirs and so on. Goodreads and Bookbub are great for advertising, if you've set aside budget I'd highly suggest using their campaigns to schedule ads for your book. BookBub have ads for preorders, new releases and general ads that ensure your book reaches a targeted number of users at a set budget.

Change your social media headers

As soon as someone clicks on your profile you want to let them know that you have a new book available for preorder. The easiest and most efficient way of doing this is by updating your social media headers with banners that you can create on Canva. See an example of my own below: