I wrote previously about my trials and tribulations with preorders, so I thought it was only fair to post again with the results of a much more successful preorder experiment. I decided to put the second book in my Wolf Rampant series up for preorder because the first book had gained so much attention, selling 4,000 copies since March in addition to giving away thousands more over two free runs. Both in reviews and in emails, I kept hearing from readers who wanted book two. So I was confident that at least a short-term preorder would make sense.
I didn’t want to get in trouble with Amazon if delays occurred during the holiday season, so I set the preorder release date to January 15 on December 4…even though the book just needed to pass through my copy editor’s computer and then enjoy one more read-through of my own. I emailed my list and immediately sold nine preorder copies, then managed to move about one copy per day over the next few days just by having the book available on Amazon.
At that point, my copy editor got back to me much sooner than expected and I had a final copy of the book ready to go, so I moved the launch date back to today (December 15) on December 12. When I did so, I noticed that I’d sold enough copies of Pack Princess that the also-bought section of the book page had populated, which meant my book began showing up on other titles’ pages (although not within the first six, so readers would have to hit the scroll buttons to see my title). This combination of factors (without any extra shout-out on my part), meant that my preorder sales increased to about two per day (a 21% sell-through rate from Shiftless, the first book in the series).
A kind fan let me take part in a facebook giveaway this past weekend, which sold a few extra preorder books and helped move the book up the charts. As a result, even without any reviews in place yet, the preorder book went into its launch period already ranking in the top 100 in its two smallest categories (Women’s Fiction Fantasy and Women’s Adventure).
What’s my takeaway? If you have a popular series, you’re losing money by not setting up a preorder (which you can do up to 90 days before the book’s launch date). In fact, I noticed that Shiftless saw a moderate uptick in sales after the preorder page for Pack Princess appeared, suggesting that the second book was serving as an advertisement for the first. My goal at the moment is to have book three ready to publish in June, which would mean a preorder in March — stay tuned for more updates on this further experiment in the months to come!