How to Run a Preorder Gift Campaign

In my previous preorder article entitled how to run your preorder campaign, I briefly spoke about giving others a reason to preorder by creating a preorder gift campaign. This, alongside influencer marketing, helped me to achieve 300 sales BEFORE my official release date, so it's definitely worth doing! We're going to explore exactly how to run a preorder gift campaign, to what gifts you can use, to how to ship and so on. Keep reading to find out more!

How to use hashtags correctly

Decide how far in advance you want to announce your preorder gifting campaign

You want to allow your followers at least two months to preorder and claim the gifts, anything less then that and you won't be giving your campaign the time-frame to achieve results. However, be wary because the earlier you announce your campaign, the more people will take part in it - meaning your costs may be higher.

Decide if your campaign is limited to your country only or available to international users

This is really important because you want to ensure you're reaching a high number of people however you want to be careful of shipping costs. When I ran my Cloaked Shadows and Unveiled Reflections campaigns, I decided to make them both open internationally as I found that my items could fit in to an envelope and so the costs weren't too high. My advice is to look on your local postal service website and see what the costs are internationally for what weight.

Decide what gifts you're going to giveaway

I find running a gift preorder campaign is so exciting because I love to order the gifts! When I ran my preorder campaigns, I decided to go for all physical gifts. This was because physical gifts have the most value, and entice more people to preorder, however I won't lie and say that I made a profit because I didn't. One thing that I regularly encourage my patrons, is to think of the bigger picture. In order to make money in the long run, you need to get your book out there and noticed by as many people as possible, and this may mean that for the first year or so you won't earn a profit.

Fun fact: It takes the average author two years to start making a profit back on their books.

Here's a list of some gift ideas:

  • Signed bookplates

  • Bookmarks

  • Character drawings

  • Cover posters

  • Letter from the author

  • Pin badges

  • Candles

  • Jewellery

  • Stickers

  • Excerpts

  • Short stories

  • Digital phone wallpaper

  • Digital posters

  • Digital e-card

Get creative with your gifts, make them personalised or branded to match the cover of your book, or theme of your book.

Decide how you're going to package your items

As touched on above, you want to mindful of shipping costs if you're using physical items as part of your preorder campaign. If you package your items in a large box, you're going to need to pay for a courier to deliver your items which can be expensive. However, if you can package your items in a padded envelope, you can post your letters in a postbox, keeping costs low.

What information do you need to collect?

Unfortunately, most self-publishing distributors do not allow you to see who has preorder, and what their address is. So, you need to specify that in order for the user to receive the gifts, they need to message you, or send you an email, with their full name and address. Make sure you state that those who preorder but fail to do this will not receive the gifts. If you're using digital gifts, you'll need to collect emails.

Note: You can store emails for the preorder campaign, however once the gifts have been sent you must delete the email database you have collected to comply with GDPR rules and regulations. You are not able to share those emails with anyone, store those emails, or upload those emails to your newsletter system.

Here's an example of the information I collected, and how I wrote it in my captions, when running my preorder campaigns.

Create your terms and conditions

You can't run any type of giveaway or competition without having terms and conditions. This doesn't have to be a long paragraph, but rather it can be a small piece of text that clearly explains how readers can enter, what type of orders are applicable and roughly when they can expect to receive the items. The terms and conditions should be displayed on all captions announcing the campaign, alongside your website.

Here's an example of the terms and conditions I have used.

Create graphics you can share to your socials

Now that you have the campaign planned, you now need to create social graphics that you can share, that will entice readers to buy and know exactly what they're getting. Graphics can be easily created on Canva. If you need 3D images of your book, but may not have the book in-person yet, you can create them using DIY Book Design.

Here's an example of the social graphics I shared to my social media and website.

Change your social media headers and pin your posts

As well as creating your social graphics, you should create social media headers that encourage those to preorder. This shouldn't be similar to the above graphics, instead they should be more subtle and gradually tell your reader that your book is available to preorder.

Here's an example of the social media header I used.

Now it's time to share your posts! Make sure you pin your posts to the top of your social media pages (where you can), and share to your stories!