Pre-selling books is a great marketing strategy to build anticipation for books and to get paid while you work rather than after the work is completed. By pre-selling, i mean two things-
- Making readers want to buy your book before it has been printed.
- Selling copies of the book before it is printed.
Authors can start selling their books as soon as they have the idea for one. While that may be extreme in some cases, many authors have done so by keeping journals or blogs on their website about the evolution of their book, ideas, drafts, stumbling blocks, all of which may interest readers and keep them coming back for more information including to find out the date the book will go on sale. For an already established author, this strategy of pre-selling as soon as the book idea originates may work very well. For other authors, it may be better to wait until you at least have a complete draft or until you are ready to send the book to be printed, since even if you are waiting for the printing, it may give you a full month or two to market your book before it is printed.
Effective marketing will pre-sell your book. If a reader says to himself, I’m going to buy that book when it comes out, then the book is as good as sold, provided you remind the reader now and then about the book. When we go to a bookstore to buy a specific book, what is self publishing not we already bought that book in our minds-is not it pre-sold then.
Besides building buzz for your book before it is printed, pre-selling can also mean collecting the money before it is printed.
Henry ford was the master of pre-selling and we can all benefit from his example. Ford wanted to mass-produce his automobiles, but first he needed to find the money to pay for the cost of building them. When ford shared his dilemma with friends, Harvey firestone suggested he pre-sell his automobiles and use the money from the pre-sales to create the first mass production assembly line, which then produced the automobiles ford delivered to the customers who had already paid for them. Today, authors can capitalize on firestone’s brilliant idea and ford’s execution of it by pre-selling their books to pay for part or all of the printing costs.
If you have the money to print your book, you might not think pre-selling is necessary, but consider that if you plan to print 500 copies and you can pre-sell several hundred, you may find you have the money to print 1,000 copies, thus reducing your cost per unit price so you can ultimately make more money off your books. You will also get some idea of how popular your book will be and how many copies you may need to print.