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The Self Publishing Journey: Learning about Preorders

For the past 8-ish months I’ve been on a Writing and Publishing Journey where I’ve been taking all the things I’ve seen in my time in LibraryLand, am mixing it with courses I’ve been doing on my own (like Tribe Writers from Jeff Goins) and am coming up with the unique Heather Self Publishing Experience.  Along the way I’ve been researching ISBN’s (have a nice fancy account at Bowker), technical details (I’ve got formatting down to a science), cover design (found a great company that does amazing work), editing (ditto), and the launch.

Ahhh, the launch.  The big L-A-U-N-C-H.

Where you finally get to take all this hard work and put it out into the Universe and let the praise and criticism fall wherever it will.

I’ve been working with the template laid out in the Tim Grahl Book Launch Blueprint.  He’s worked with lots of authors, ranging from indies to famous authors, and he knows how to launch a book.  A huge part of that is in the world of preorders.


I didn’t know this before.  But after reading his work and seeing how others have applied it, I am delaying the launch of my novel so that I can implement what he’s teaching.  Which is essentially: give people something unique for preordering.

The reason you want preorders is that all those sales will accumulate on your book publication day, and will drive you up in the rankings.  So say you sell 1,000 copies in a 6 week period.  When your book launches, they will all count towards that one week, and poof, up in the rankings you will go, to stellar heights, as if by magic.

But why will someone preorder your book when they can just get it later?  What’s in it for them?  Who, other than your mother, really cares?

Ahhh, that’s where the Preorder Goodies come in.  What you want to do, according to Grahl, is put together a compelling package of Preorder Goodies that will be Going Away after you launch (ie create scarcity).  For my novel, since it deals with Cambridge in the mid 16th century, I am putting together some video of places featured in the book from my last trip there with narration of the history of each spot.  I’m also recording an audio version of the book, which I will give to each person who purchases for FREE (I’ll sell it later on for actual money).  And I’m arranging interviews with people who are experts in their field, who can talk with me about what life was like for ordinary people in Cambridge in 1539.  All of this will go on a passworded site that people who preorder will be able to access.

So this week I’ve been working on my preorder sites.  The beauty of this whole thing is that you don’t need to have your manuscript completed.  I don’t – it’s still with an editor right now.  But if you have your cover art, you can start to get the ball rolling by uploading it and setting the book as a preorder.  This is fairly easy for ebooks on Amazon, but it takes a workaround for paperbacks that will use CreateSpace.  I found this video, which was great at breaking down the process into easy chunks.

If you come to this blog often, you will notice that up at the top there is now a page for my bookSideways and Backwards, a Novel of Time Travel and Self Discovery.  I am able to start taking preorders now, and then on March 15 I will release all the preorder goodies.  The book will officially launch on April 15.

I’m excited to see how this all works out, and I’ll share the results here as I am able.  I’m actually thinking about putting together a course outlining how I am doing all of this – showing people how to take a draft that is literally laying there in google docs, and turn it into an actual book on a shelf.  Would something like that interest you?  Stay tuned as I flesh that out!