The pre-order promotion has been highly successful so far. I received an email from Wiley after the first week, informing me that my book was among their top pre-ordered titles for the previous week. Great news! And the pace of pre-orders has maintained a steady pattern ever since.
Pre-orders are incredibly important to the success of a new book, especially one from an unproven first-time author. Although I have written two books before, I self-published them both (generally unrecognized by the national publishing houses). So as far as Wiley is concerned, I’m just a newbie.
Wiley obviously has a sales force and those people have meetings with the retail buyers (like Borders and Barnes & Noble) every quarter. During those meetings, the buyers decide which titles to stock on their store shelves. For books that have been out for weeks, months or years, the decision is easy. If the book is selling, keep in on the shelves. If not, the title disappears.
For new books, the decision is more of a gamble. They have no track record to look at. The retail buyers want to limit their financial exposure and are therefore reluctant to bring in new titles until they have proven themselves. And at that first meeting, what do they look at? You guessed it: pre-orders! If the book is being pre-ordered, it serves as an indication that it has potential.
But there’s another angle to consider …
For obvious reasons, the buyers at Barnes & Noble look at B&N pre-orders first. That means you can’t push all your pre-orders to Amazon. Yes, the Wiley sales people can tell the buyers that the book is being pre-ordered on other platforms but the buyers want to know that the author is pushing their retail channel, not just Amazon. That means you have to divide your pre-orders over all the major retailers.
When I first heard that, it scared me. What if the B&N price was higher than Amazon? It’s not fair to push my readers to pay more for a book, just to feed potential retail stocking decisions down the road. To my surprise (and delight), the B&N price was actually LOWER than Amazon – only by a few cents but still. So I have been pushing both retailers ever since.
Book promotion is a fascinating field. Of course, if the book ends up becoming popular, all the retailers will put it on their shelves to satisfy demand. But it only makes sense that books available on the shelves sell much better than ones that aren’t carried in book stores. So at the beginning, the pre-orders play a huge role. I’m thrilled my pre-order promotion has gone so well.
Thank you to all who pre-ordered the book. I truly appreciate it.
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