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Preorder or Bestseller Campaigns for Amazon

Zoe Mackey Posted by Zoe Mackey, Director, Digital Marketing, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Zoe works with our ebook distributors to maximize visibility for our ebooks. She is leading our efforts to expand our direct to customer marketing through online methods. 

Preorder or Bestseller Campaigns for Amazon

Preorder campaigns can be an effective way to boost your title’s visibility and kickstart sales. These should take place before publication date, but after your title’s product pages are looking the way they should be. This will drive lots of traffic to your Amazon page, which will in turn increase the title’s relevance and encourage the title to show up higher in more customer’s search results.

This will also help your title will pop up as a book bought by others when they bought another book on the site, which is one of the key ways that customers discover new books. Preorder campaigns also set it up so that all the orders ship on one day (the day your book releases), and if you have enough orders, this can help increase your title’s sales rank, which in turn helps the visibility of your title. You will also get word of mouth going on your book earlier because customers will have your book as soon as it has shipped (and can write customer reviews sooner).

Bestseller campaigns can be run at any time and can also be an effective way to boost your title’s visibility or add a jolt to sales. You generally want to concentrate a major sales push into a single day in order to get your title’s sales rank within 100 bestselling books in its category (or even on the entire site). In addition to allowing you to call your book an Amazon bestseller, these campaigns are a great motivator to get you organized and let a lot of people know about your book in a concentrated period of time.

Always be sure to let us know that you are considering a preorder or campaign so we can coordinate the release dates of your title on Amazon, and match the release dates of both the print and kindle version. We will also try to ensure Amazon doesn't run out of stock. It is also very important you have considered your title’s categories and selected the ones that have the best chance for success. The general rule of thumb is that the more specific the category the better. Avoid general categories - these are too cluttered. If it looks like your title might fare better in more specific categories, let us know and we can work on changing the category designation.

There are a few strategies for encouraging orders for preorder and/or bestseller campaigns:
  1. Encourage preorders by posting the link to your Amazon page on social media, or do an email blast to your contacts and simply ask them to order the book ahead of time. In the case of a bestseller campaign, ask them to order on a particular day.
  2. Put together a package of free gifts that customers get if they buy your book from Amazon on a particular day.
  3. Team up with a charity or nonprofit you have a relationship with or that is meaningful to the content of your book and donate your royalties from that day’s or week’s sales to the organization. With this strategy, past BK authors have used different strategies to rally their networks, including getting 100 contacts to get 10 of their contacts to buy the book that day to support the charity (or doing outreach through email blasts and social media.)
  4. For a bestseller campaign: collect orders from your customers directly and run them through Amazon yourself in a single day.

It’s a good idea to consider signing up to be an Amazon Associate if you are going to be driving a lot of orders to Amazon. This will allow you to earn up to a 10% commission on sales that you refer to Amazon either through your website or through links in emails. To get more information go to: affiliate-program.amazon.com.

REMEMBER: It is critical to let your publisher know you are doing one of these campaigns as far in advance as possible, because Amazon generally keeps their stock very lean. Let your marketing team leader know at least a month in advance and provide as much detail as possible on the number of people being contacted, who they are, and when the campaign will happen.