How Do Amazon Pre-Orders Work?: 3 Simple Tips for Success

POSTED ON Dec 19, 2023

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Home > Blog > Learning, Marketing, Publishing > How Do Amazon Pre-Orders Work?: 3 Simple Tips for Success

Providing readers the option to pre-order on Amazon can be instrumental to a successful book launch. But how do Amazon pre-orders work?

Pre-orders are a large part of effective book marketing, and racking up those numbers is a powerful way to boost your chance of landing on bestseller lists. Whether you are thinking about writing a book, or are about to launch your newest project, now is the time to learn how Amazon pre-orders work inside and out.

In order to understand how Amazon pre-orders work, you first need to know what they are. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the pre-order system, how to set it up for your book, and tips for making your pre-ordered book an absolute HIT.


What are Amazon pre-orders?

Amazon pre-orders allow customers to reserve and purchase upcoming products before their official release. By placing an advance order, customers ensure they receive the item promptly upon availability. This feature is commonly used for highly anticipated books, movies, video games, and other products, providing convenience for both consumers and sellers.

Here is the timeframe for pre-orders on Amazon (according to Amazon KDP website) so you can understand how Amazon pre-orders work a bit better:

How Do Amazon Pre-Orders Work - The Timeline Explained

Should I offer pre-orders on Amazon?

Pre-orders can be great for most authors – but only if they understand how Amazon pre-orders work. That's because if you aren't already an established author, and your book launches with little-to-no buzz or reviews, your sales can quickly plummet.

In order to avoid this, you need to have a solid Amazon book marketing strategy in place – and we will go over our tips for this later.

You do not need to use the year-long, pre-release window Amazon offers. You want to create a buzz about your book hard and fast to launch you into book sales during its release.

But how do you do that?

Before we answer the question: “How do Amazon pre-orders work?” and give you our top tips on successfully using pre-orders, let's make sure you understand the benefits of pre-orders for you and your readers.

The benefits of pre-ordering on Amazon

Let’s set the scene: You just spent the last several months writing your book and making it the best it can be. You are eager to share it with the world and can’t wait for readers’ lives to change as a result. 

The only issue is, you created a standout marketing plan and your followers are excited to order your book…but you haven’t released it yet. Rather than let the buzz die down, this is when you choose to allow readers to pre-order on Amazon. There are two key benefits.

Readers receive a limited price

First, when you present your readers with the option of pre-ordering, you also give them a deal they will not receive on release day.

This is how Amazon pre-orders work: You offer your book at a lower price point for a limited time.

Not only does this encourage readers to order your book early, but it also helps ensure they will receive your book the day of its release. When your book arrives in their mailbox it acts as a physical reminder to get reading, and this helps keep the buzz going even after release day.

You make sales prior to release day

Second, your book sales are a crucial part of your success rate. So, how do Amazon pre-orders work to benefit your book sales?

Amazon’s popularity ranking is only updated once a day, but the sales of the past 30 days are evaluated as well. That means those pre-orders can drastically help your sales history!

In addition, you can really leverage Amazon book reviews during the pre-order period, and we will explain how below. So let's get into the information you're here for. How do Amazon pre-orders work, exactly?

How do Amazon pre-orders work?

How do Amazon pre-orders work? Honestly, it's really simple. To set up your eBook for pre-order through the Amazon self-publishing platform, simply follow the steps below:

  • Create an Amazon KDP account
  • Go to your Bookshelf
  • Click “+ Create”
  • Click “Create eBook”
  • Enter your information
  • Click “make my Kindle eBook available for pre-order”
  • Enter your chosen date of release 
  • Upload your manuscript file 
  • Finish prepping your book for release day 

Now your readers will be able to pre-order your eBook ahead of its actual release date.

When learning how Amazon pre-orders work, it's important to note that the “Look Inside” option will not be available for your book until the date of its release.

But there IS a way to get your book to your readers sooner, and this is the key to mastering how Amazon pre-orders work.

Related: 9 Essential Tips for KDP Authors

3 tips when setting up your Amazon pre-orders

We mentioned before that you don't really want to use the full year-long pre-order window on Amazon. But you also don't want to just set your book up for pre-order and let it sit. It won't do you any favors unless you are already a bestselling author with lots of buzz around your name.

So how do you use the pre-order system to your advantage? Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your pre-orders.

1. Get a big launch team

If no one knows about your book, no one is going to pre-order it or read it. So it's important to have a dedicated team set up for your book launch. And I'm not talking about your friends and family. I mean ideally 100+ people from your email list, social media accounts, and professional network.

Your launch team is a group of people who agree to read your book in advance and write a review about it.

The launch team can be given a free PDF of your book, as well as a short synopsis of your book. This makes it as frictionless as possible for your launch team members to leave a review or rating with no purchase necessary and no need to read the entire book if they don't have the time.

Note: These must be HONEST reviews and you cannot pay people to give their reviews, or you are going against Amazon guidelines.

2. Rack up reviews

If you want to learn how Amazon pre-orders work to boost your sales, you need to understand the importance of early reviews and ratings from your launch team.

There's just one problem. Readers cannot review a book on Amazon until its actual release day. But there is a way around this!

You should set your eBook to pre-order 6 weeks in advance of its actual launch. At the same time, you should immediately publish the paperback version of your book.

This will allow your launch team to leave early reviews on the paperback – but those reviews will show up for your eBook format, as well. This is how some of the big authors get 100+ reviews on day one.

This will allow you to take advantage of Amazon's algorithm twice, since each format will be considered a new product. This shift will help create a strong foundation of credibility and anticipation ahead of the official launch – and will help you to generate more sales.

3. Create two weeks of pre-order buzz

Imagine there is a movie coming out late next year and you are super excited about it. Then you hear pre-production was postponed. Then you hear casting started. Then you hear they want a new lead.

By the time the film lands in theaters, you’re still excited to see it, but your initial energy has died down.

We can apply the same idea to book marketing

Imagine telling your readers that you’re releasing your book in May of next year, but they can order it right now. In today’s world of Amazon Prime same-day deliveries, short TikToks, and brief tweets, for many, delayed gratification is not a glamorous experience. 

To make sure your readers are ready and eager to get their hands on your book as soon as possible, hold off on pre-order marketing until two weeks or so before the release date. 

During these two weeks, focus on promoting your book to your current audience and potential readers. When release day comes, you want your readers eager to read your book that very day, rather than faintly remembering you mentioned it a year back. 

Set your book up for success

Now that you understand how Amazon pre-orders work, it’s time to take action. 

It’s one thing to know what to do, why you should do it, and to read a guide on how to execute your plan. But it takes time, preparation, and commitment to follow through with your pre-order plan. 

If you need help with that process, or the book writing, editing, formatting, or marketing processes, the team at selfpublishing.com can help. Reach out for a free strategy call today so we can ensure your pre-order launch goes off without a hitch.


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