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How to Set up A Preorder Event for Your Book

A preorder event is a great way to not only generate buzz for your book, but also to pull in some early sales. Seth Harwood, author of Jack Wakes Up and Young Junius, offers up several strategies on how to have a successful preorder event. by Seth Harwood with Alison Janssen

Online preorder events can be an incredible success. My fellow podcasting authors Scott Sigler, JC Hutchins and Mur Lafferty have all made huge runs up the Amazon charts thanks to this kind of marketing. If you're dedicated to building an online presence, a preorder event could be a great strategy to try. Here's how to do it.

1. Affiliate Programs
Instead of asking bloggers and podcasters to post about your book out of kindness, offer them an affiliate code. Their readers can use it to get a discount when they buy your book, and you can give a few dollars back to the affiliate for each referral. Everyone wins!

2. Podcast Marketing
If your books are on Podiobooks.com, you can use dynamic insertion to automatically add short promos to the beginning of your online catalog of content. Since people are always going out and listening to my recorded books (I’ve used podcasting—turning my work into audio files [MP3s]—that I distribute FOR FREE via my blog, iTunes and Podiobooks.com to get my novels out and build an audience) now I can get fresh promotional content to them within these files.

Also, there are a lot of great podcasters who’ll be happy to run a promo or two for you or even have you on for an interview. (See #1 above.) I’ve even lined up live interview shows!

3. Fan Evangelism
Use Twitter and Facebook. Even if you’d rather not maintain a Facebook page or Twitter profile of your own, realize that your readers likely do participate in social media. Ask them to change their profile picture during the week of your online event. Provide easily downloadable avatars for them to use—each time a fan using your avatar sends a tweet, their tweet serves as a reminder of your online event. (For an example of how to offer free avatars, click here.)

4. Point of Sale
Make it as easy and intuitive as possible. Readers are becoming more and more confident with purchasing online, but it’s important that your point of sale works properly, and will keep buyer’s credit card information safe. PayPal is a top choice for online vending, but there are other options. If you’re not confident in your web abilities, ask around. It’s worth the investment in professional help if your point of sale is smooth and appealing.

5. Package Deals
Do you have previously published books? Would your book cover look good on a t-shirt? Don’t be shy about offering package deals as a part of your online presales event.

To read more about Seth Harwood’s presales process and how he published his book without the typical upfront cost, click here.


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