Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The power of the pre-order

Dear readers, I am going to tell you something you may not know.

Apparently, Ewoks speak Tibetan

What a surprise, right? (Ewoks might be my favorite thing about Star Wars, just FYI).

All right, so maybe I'm going to tell you two things you may not know. Are you ready for the second thing?

Pre-ordering a book is one of the very best things you can do for an author whose work you enjoy.

What does pre-ordering mean, exactly? It means ordering the book before its official release date. I'm pretty sure the most common way people pre-order a book is to buy it through an on-line retailer, but did you know you can also pre-order a book from your favorite independent bookstore? What's great about this is that it lets a local brick-and-mortar store know there is interest in this particular book. If they weren't going to carry it before, or were undecided, a pre-order (or two or three) may help them see the error of their ways.

Some independent bookstores have an on-line ordering system, and as soon as the book is up on their site, you can pre-order it. But you can also call the bookstore and pre-order it that way. I'm pretty certain that whatever works for you will work for them! They want to sell you the books you are excited about, trust me.

So why is the pre-order important? Because it makes the publisher happy to see pre-orders. And if the publisher is happy, good things might happen for the author. For example:

Pre-orders are crucial in helping a bookstore decide whether or not to carry a book. Yes, even the chain stores, because believe it or not, some books are NEVER picked up by the chains. Trust me, this is one of the worst things that can happen to an author. With solid pre-order numbers, the sales rep has a much easier time convincing stores to carry the book.

If another book the author has written is being considered by that publisher, pre-orders might help the publisher say yes to the next project.

If this book has a strong start, the author might get more publisher support/marketing dollars for the next book.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the NYT bestseller list. If a book is getting a lot of buzz and great reviews and there's a chance it could hit the list, pre-orders are vital in this situation, because pre-orders all count toward the first week's sales.

In short, pre-ordering a book is pretty much better than ordering a dozen cupcakes from Sprinkles Bakery and having them delivered to the author's home.

Better than cupcakes, people!! You know I don't say that lightly.

Okay, okay, so you really don't want to pre-order, for whatever reason. Maybe you don't have a credit card and are saving up your hard-earned babysitting money so you can buy the book when it comes out. (Anyone who buys books with their babysitting money is TOTALLY AWESOME, by the way). The next best thing you can do is buy the book in the first week or two that it's out. And then read it, and if you like it, tell all your friends about the book, too. I say this all the time - the best thing you can do for a book you love is to tell people about it. Tweet about it, talk about it, instagram it, whatever.

It's true that any time you buy a book, you are supporting the author, bookstores, the publishing industry, etc. and that is a *VERY* good thing.

But pre-orders? Better than cupcakes.

So there you go. A little Ewok trivia AND some things you may not have known about why pre-orders matter so much.


  1. It certainly makes sense that pre-orders are such a big deal. I have done a few pre-orders and always wish I could do more, but that dang credit card limit... ;) Also, one thing I love about pre-orders is that I then forget about then and voila! A lovely new book shows up in the mail!

    1. Ha - you are so right! It's really fun to get that surprise book in the mail. :)