You’ve likely heard of Kindle Pre-order as an option for releasing your book early. There are many reasons to take a slower route – more time to find readers, generate anticipation, and line up reviews for launch day. Who wouldn’t want those? But is Kindle Pre-order right for you?

Let’s start with the details.

What is Kindle Pre-order

Kindle Pre-order allows you to make your ebook available for pre-sale on Amazon up to 90 days before the book is released. Amazon generates a pre-order sales page for customers to pre-order your book and receive it on its release day. Customers are charged for the book the day it’s released.

The Advantages of Kindle Pre-order

Because you already have a sales page, you can advertise your book pre-release and send readers to your page instead of hoping they’ll remember when your ebook is released. If they take the time and energy to click on your sales page, give them an opportunity to act on their need.

Anticipation is a powerful driver. The lead-up to anything often generates as much excitement as the event itself. For early adopters, being first is important. It allows them to remain on the leading edge and spread influence to their followers.

Pre-orders contribute to your sales rank. According to selfpublishingadvice.com,  sales rank is affected the day it is ordered. By the time your release date arrives, you’ve already positioned yourself for better ranking and better sales.

The Disadvantages of Kindle Pre-order

To take advantage of the pre-order option, your manuscript needs to be mostly complete. That means your manuscript should just need final editing or proofreading prior to making your book available for pre-order. You’ll need to have interior formatting and cover design complete in advance, as well.

In addition, your final manuscript must be received at least 72 hours before your release date. (It was ten days prior until recently.) If not, the draft manuscript, with all its imperfections, gets released to your pre-order readers. You CAN change the date of your release or cancel it, but you won’t be able to use the pre-order feature for one year after you do.

Because your ebook isn’t finalized, there is no preview available for readers to view. Readers need to buy on faith. If you’re an established author or have a loyal following, your job is much easier.

There also isn’t currently a way to get reviews posted prior to the release date, but you can post editorial reviews through Author Central or ask your reviewers to post on release day.

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How to Use Kindle Pre-order

Register or log into your KDP account. LINK Enter your title information and other details. When you get to the Publishing Options section, click the radio button labeled Make my Kindle eBook available for Pre-order. Select a date at least ten days from the current date to release your ebook.

Kindle Pre-order

Upload the draft copy of your book and a cover. You don’t have to upload a cover, but with no preview feature, a compelling cover is your best shot at getting attention. Choose categories, pricing, and KDP Select and publish your pre-order. Make sure you upload the final version of your manuscript prior to the 72-hour deadline.

As soon as Amazon generates a pre-order page, send the link with compelling sales copy to your email list and followers on social media. Monitor pre-sales in your KDP account and play with categories if you aren’t getting the orders you expected. Email beta copies to reviewers before your release date and then encourage them to post a review on the launch day.

The bottom line is that choosing whether to use the pre-order feature is more art than science. If you know you’ll have the book ready, have a decent following, and want to make the most of your pre-release momentum, a pre-order might be the right route. If you don’t have a huge following, you aren’t sure when your book might be completely finished or don’t plan to do a marketing splash, you might do just as well without it and avoid the stress of a deadline.

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Here are more resources:

Amazon Kindle help page

How to Boost Your Book with Amazon’s Pre-Order

What You Need to Know about Amazon Pre-ordering