This past week I read again Michael Hyatt's e-book"How to Sell a Boatload of Books." It's definitely worth your time, but for today's purposes I will only address tip #1, which is huge, "Drive Pre-orders." 

Whether you self-publish or have a contract from a traditional publisher, the bottom line is somewhere in the process you will have to write a check to purchase books. If you self-publish, you've got alot of money invested on the front end even before you have to go to print. Where is that money going to come from?  It can start with pre-orders. 

Pre-orders can help you generate orders, interest and funding before the book goes to press and you have to write a check.

It's about building early momentum.

Movie producers do it all the time. Have you seen the recent ad out, especially on Facebook, for the upcoming Christian film "War Room"?

If you haven't, you will. While they don't have a big Hollywood promotional budget, they are working hard with what they have to get the word out early and spread a grassroots campaign, word-of-mouth. 

And that's exactly what you should do with your upcoming book with the tools you have at your disposal. 

Pre-orders can start as early as six to seven months in advance as you begin to get the word out and build interest and your pre-order list. Here are five proven steps that can help you sell before the book ever rolls off press:  

1. Excerpts - well-written stand-alone short articles or excerpts are important. They can be offered for publication in a multitude of venues and used more than once. Consider daily e-zines such as or a publication that fits your storyline, your church newsletter, as a guest blogger, etc. Here is a sample of one I did for "Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage."  It was the first of four we created to build early momentum. 

2. Your Database - Let your peeps know that you have a new book about to release. Even better, engage them in the process. Let them help give feedback as you go through the cover and title process. Ask them questions about content, and then give them feedback. When they feel they have had input on shaping the book, their interest level in purchasing the final product increases greatly. 

3. Speaking Engagements - If you are out speaking just prior to your book's release, be sure to take advantage of those opportunities by promoting the book and taking orders. Don't lose orders just because you don't have a book. Ideally create a "mock-up" of your book that you can show from the stage, and have pictures available at your book table.

Consider offering a "free shipping" incentive if they pre-order the book and a discount for multiple book orders. Pre-orders, when done well, can help you determine your print run based on response and have a good portion of it paid for in advance. 

4. Christmas in July Sale - What holiday will you miss because your book won't yet be off press? Christmas? 4th of July? Easter? Obviously the former is your best opportunity for sales, but any holiday can be a way to capitalize on interest. Create a hook for your story around the holiday and then offer it as a pre-order, special sale price for those willing to send you their order in advance. 

5. Social Media Ads - these are inexpensive and if done well, can gain you orders beyond your normal platform. The good news is you don't have to invest heavily as you play with these ads to find your best audience that brings response. Try several small amount ads and find out what gets hits and then run with it. But be sure to include a call to action. 

As with the "War Room" production, you don't have to have a Hollywood budget to create interest in your new product. You just have to be creative, determine your strategy, create the appeal and get to work BEFORE your book releases. 

Need help with your strategy? Let us put one together for you.

Karen Hardin - Literary Agent and Marketing Guru
PriorityPR Group & Literary Agency