Your Book’s Pre-sale Period Explained

In this “Indie Author Minute” video, Avery Bacchues explains why driving traffic and advance sales in the weeks before publication helps guarantee your book never ends up as “temporarily out of stock.”

Your book’s pre-sale period can be confusing, so it’s worth getting a better understanding of how it works. This way, you can let the retail platforms know what kind of demand your book will generate and ensure it’s always listed as “In stock. Ships Today” and not the dreaded, “Temporarily Out of Stock.”

Rest assured, if your book is listed as “Temporarily Out of Stock,” there’s no need to panic! The retailers’ systems will adjust, and your book will be delivered. But let’s talk about how to prevent this so your book is always “In Stock.”

What is pre-sale?

When your book is edited and proofed, and your files are submitted and your sales pages are created on retail sites — that’s when your pre-sale period begins. The pre-sale period is the time during which your book is available for pre-order online on a retailer’s website, but before its official publication date — and therefore before the retailer is ready to fulfill the order and ship your book to the reader.

During this time, your readers can view your book’s page, and they can pre-order and input their credit card info, and their cards will then be charged and your book delivered upon the book’s release.

Why is there a pre-sale period?

Your book’s pre-sale period serves two important purposes:

First, it provides valuable time to market your book and generate excitement for its release.

Second, it helps retailers gauge demand for your book so they order enough printed copies to have in stock.

It’s also a requirement. The retailers in our print-on-demand distribution network require that a book be in pre-sale for a minimum of eight weeks. Why? Try to look at this from the retailers’ perspective. They don’t want hundreds of extra copies in their warehouses, and they don’t want to be out of stock on popular titles. They want to have a real-world idea of how many books they need to keep in stock to have two-weeks’ worth of inventory on hand.

How important is it to wait eight weeks to sell my book?

I know you’re excited to sell your book the second it’s proofed and uploaded. You’ve been waiting a long time to have this ready to deliver to the world! But this is an important time in your book’s marketing cycle, and it’s worth planning this into your promotional efforts. In fact, traditionally published titles typically have a pre-sale period of six to nine months.

Free guide offer for Promote Then PublishDuring the pre-sale period, retailers use complex algorithms to analyze the number of pre-orders and page views a book receives to determine what two weeks’ worth of inventory looks like for that title. For books published through BookBaby, they’ll reach out to us toward the end of the pre-sale period to request enough print copies to maintain inventory based on the calculations they’ve arrived at through the pre-sale period.

So what do I do with all this time?

Understandably, a lot of authors choose to have their book released after the minimum of eight weeks, but a longer pre-sale period can be beneficial. The longer your book is available for pre-order, the more time you have to build excitement and direct eager readers to Amazon and other stores. On some platforms, these pre-orders accumulate and all count as sales on your release date, which will help improve your book’s ranking.

So why not plan out an extended pre-order period and hold different promotions each week to build a buzz? Hold a contest, do chapter reveals, conduct giveaways, host a blog tour.

Whatever promotions you have planned for your book launch, it is best to begin them while your book is in pre-order status. That way, you can drive pre-orders and let retailers know the demand for your title is there. Make sure to include links to your book’s product page in every communication and make it simple for your customers to order your title.

You’re always in stock at BookBaby’s Bookshop!

Hopefully, this helps you understand why the pre-sale period is so important for every new book. Waiting months after your book is finished to actually deliver it to your readers requires patience, but it’s worth it to ensure your book is always listed as “In Stock” so your excited readers will receive their copies as soon as they purchase it. Of course, your title is always “In Stock” on BookBaby’s Bookshop!

See all our Indie Author Minute videos on the BookBaby YouTube channel.

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