Tuesday 19 April 2016

What's the Deal with Book Pre-Orders? Part Two by Kara Isaac

A few weeks ago in Part One of What's the Deal With Book Pre-Orders I blogged about the first two reasons why pro-orders are important for an author - how they tell a publisher there is marketplace interest in the book and they tell retailers there is consumer interest in the book.

Today I thought I'd finish up with a couple of other reasons why they can be important if the first two didn't convince you :)

Pre-orders can influence whether an author receives another contract

These days in traditional publishing, the authors luxuriating in the security of a ten book deal are few and far between. Many authors have two or three book contracts. Because of the lead in time required to publish a book (anywhere from 12-24 months from the time a manuscript is turned in), for a two book contract publishers will often need to make a decision about whether to offer another contract before the second book has even been released in order to maintain the regularity of an author's release schedule. If the first book has exceeded expectations, the authors prospects are good. However, if the first book isn't on track to meet expectations then the level of interest in the second book can be a contributing factor to the decision.

I'm an author who's an example of this. I've signed a two-book contract with my publisher. Originally, the titles were going to be released 12 months apart but late last year the second book, Can't Help Falling, was brought forward so that it releases six months after my debut novel, Close To You. This is a great thing for the books because it is much easier to maintain momentum over six months than over twelve and the two stories are linked by some recurring characters (but also written to standalone). The downside is it means that there is a shorter period of time for my publisher to make the assessments they'll need to make about whether to offer me another contract if they want the option of having me release a book in 2017 given the lead time required so the first few months of sales of Close To You and pre-orders of Can't Help Falling will be a big part of what helps them to decide.

Pre-orders can catapult a book onto the bestseller lists

Have you ever noticed a book that unexpectedly leapt onto the bestseller lists its first week of sale? That's a book that has benefitted from a strong pre-order campaign. All pre-orders, regardless of when they are placed prior to the day of release, count towards a book's first week sale total. The hope is that, by having an extremely strong showing the first week, it will generate interest in the book and build momentum, keeping the book on the bestseller lists.

In my last blog post I mentioned a friend who had a novella that was part of traditionally published collection that released in March and how those authors fans made such strong pre-orders that Amazon ran out of "stock" before the title had even released. Last week the bestseller lists for March were published. The Cowboy's Bride Collection had places in the Top 10 of both the Publishers' Weekly religion list and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association) bestsellers list for the month. A rare feat for a novella collection when new collections are released every month by the publishers that specialise in them. And now all of those authors get to add the title "bestselling author" to their resume!

So there you have it. My big four reasons on why, if you're of a mind (and budget!) too, you should support all your favourite authors by pre-ordering their next book :) (and a big thank you to all of you out there who have pre-ordered mine!!)

Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, is about a disillusioned academic-turned-tour-guide and an entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien who fall in love on a Tolkien themed tour of New Zealand. It will release next week (argh!) from Howard Books. When she's not working her day job as a public servant, chasing around a ninja preschooler and his feisty toddler sister, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. You can sign up for her newsletter on her website or connect with her on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer 

Since you made it this far she should mention that if you pre-order Close To You by April 26 (at all the usual retailers including AmazonBook DepositoryBarnes & Noble and you can go in the draw to win 1 of 15 advance copies of Can't Help Falling. See for details :) 


  1. Kara … well it's not long now until release day. Yay. Amazon sent me a note confirming the shipment date for my pre-order so I should get it in May. Fab news about the 2nd novel. Yes, only 6 months apart is tremendous for maintaining the rage so to speak.

    Thanks for sharing your posts about pre-order. I hadn't thought about the 1st one above.

    1. I know, Ian. One week to go! Thanks so much for your support :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience and the reason pre-orders help so much. I try and sign up for pre-orders when my friends are going to publish. It gives me even more encouragement to do so. I'll look out for your books now as well!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Elaine. Appreciate it!

  3. Pre-orders are invaluable for visibility and I can't thank people enough for pre-ordering my books and getting them to the top seller lists on release day. I hope your books soar too Kara xxx

    1. I'm so thrilled by how well yours are going, Nicki! They are on my TBR list now that I've just turned in copy edits for Can't Help Falling :)

  4. After seeing how pre-orders have postively affected Nicki's books' visibility, I'm now a diligent pre-orderer! Great post, Kara. Something many of us wouldn't have realised, I'm sure.


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