I’m often asked by authors if it makes sense to hold a pre-sale and in most cases the answer is a resounding YES. My latest book (Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business) will be released in February, but the pre-sale went live last week–and let me tell you how fun it is to watch sales roll in immediately!
Selling your book before it is in print gives you the opportunity to begin building buzz and anticipation, plus you will have an audience of readers primed and ready to post reviews and tell their friends when your book is available. Hosting a pre-sale is also a way to get a jump start on generating revenues. Some authors use programs like Kickstarter.com to generate funding for a book project before it is even written!
How to Set Up the Pre-Sale for Your Book
1. Create a sales page on your website for the book and make sure it rocks! Include a compelling description, cover image, and testimonials if you have them.
2. Consider offing a bonus for book buyers. There are many ways you can approach this. You can reach out to others and ask them to provide reports and ebooks to offer as a bonus, or you can dig in to your own archives and find materials to give away. I personally like to use my own stuff and compiled a series of resources and templates to give away with my book.
3. Offer an exclusive ebook edition. Since my book won’t be out for another month, I decided to give a PDF version of the entire manuscript to all buyers. This gives them the benefit of being able to read it before everyone else.
4. Set reasonable expectations for shipping. The last thing you want to do is over-promise and under-deliver so let buyers know what your most realistic shipping date will be and add some extra time just in case.
5. Add a shopping cart button. It is critically important to make the buying process as easy as possible. If you ask people to call or email you to make a purchase, I can guarantee you will miss out on sales. People have short attention spans and if it takes an extra step, they will move on. All you need is a Paypal shopping cart button or something similar (1shoppingcart.com or e-junkie.com are also good options).
5. Start promoting the release to your networks! Send announcements out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Write about it in your blog. Send out an email announcement. Share the news with online groups that you belong to. If you want your readers to create buzz, you have to get it started!