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Choosing to do a Preorder Campaign

I don’t mean to brag, but I am absolutely fantastic at second-guessing every decision I’ve ever made.

No, really. I have a knack for bringing home a piece of decor and then staring at it disapprovingly over the next week. I write a book I think I love and then a week later I’m ready to set the entire laptop on fire just to assure the narrative’s utter destruction. I’ve rewritten this paragraph six times already! Overthinking is my game!

Which is why a few months ago, when I first looked at my debut’s cover and saw my release date for next spring, I began the slow and excruciating thought process of deciding on a preorder campaign.

I’ve definitely heard both sides of the coin shout about the pros and cons of preorder swag.

“What a bunch of useless stuff!”

“What a great way to engage with readers pre-release!”

“It takes your own money to create and distribute!”

“It helps new author visibility!”

“No one preorders books anyway!”

“My grandma promised to preorder ten copies if I send her this cool keychain!”

As you can see… some pretty compelling arguments both ways.

As I pondered and fussed and contemplated how many copies of my book I could sucker my grandmother into ordering with the promise of keychains, I also began thinking about my experience with preorders as a reader.

See, before I entered the writer community and learned about the importance of preorders for authors (*cough* ESPECIALLY FOR AUTHORS OF UPCOMING SERIES *cough*), I was pretty darn unlikely to preorder anything.

Part of the reason behind this is because my friends and family know that I love receiving books as gifts, and preorders are a really hard thing to gift. I would always wait until the book was out, then politely demand someone buy it for me for my birthday, or run off to the bookstore with birthday money and buy it for myself.

As the months to my debut release kept counting down, I began to think about the possibilities of “gift giving” with “preorders.” The two don’t seem to go hand in hand beautifully, in part because a gift usually entails handing someone some sort of thing in the moment, whereas preordering is like leaning into a slow trust fall where your goods are delivered months later.

But preorder campaigns offer an interesting tether between the two.

In a preorder campaign, if the author chooses to send swag out early, they can package it to be a small gift in itself. So even if the book won’t arrive for a few months, there’s a nice gift to hand to a recipient that lets them know what’s coming their way.

And especially if you happen to have a March 2020 release date, but the holidays are right around the corner and you’re dying to see your book passed along to someone else in the spirit of giving, there might be something to be said for packaging early gifts for readers…

As you might have guessed, I eventually landed on the “yes” side of putting on a preorder campaign.

To be clear, I don’t think I’ve done enough research to justify firmly shouting about campaigns in one particular light or another. It’s true that authors don’t make a lot of money from their books alone, and preorder campaigns are largely the author investing their own dollars along with time and energy to organize and send out the goods.

That said, it’s also true that preorder campaigns are this really lovely way to thank readers for preordering and having interest in your work. Even if all those readers are your grandma. It’s not a small thing to take a trust fall into a book, and if I could thank every one of those preorder-ers in person, I would! So putting a preorder package together just made sense for me in the end.

Without further ado...


There are lots of ways to do a preorder campaign, and I’m a huge fan of combining flat packages with exciting grand prize giveaways.

For my flat package campaign, anyone who preorders THE DERBY DAREDEVILS from any retailer and sends proof of preorder to will receive a bright green, roller derby festive envelope with the following inside:

· A special letter about their preorder and some fun facts about the book!

· A signed bookplate featuring a Daredevils player!

· A dye cut sticker of the Daredevils logo!

· A super cool bookmark featuring a Daredevils player!

· An official roller derby glossary featuring a few Daredevils players!

· A blank postcard for dropping a line to friends—maybe even about an awesome upcoming roller derby series!

Anyone who requests THE DERBY DAREDEVILS at their library and sends proof of the request will receive:

· A special letter about libraries being awesome and some fun facts about the book!

· A super cool bookmark featuring a Daredevils player!

· An official roller derby glossary featuring a few Daredevils players!

· A blank postcard for dropping a line to friends—maybe even about an awesome upcoming roller derby series!

In addition to the flat swag, all preorders will be eligible to win one of two *GRAND PRIZE PACKAGES!* The grand prizes will contain items such as…

· A special annotated ARC of THE DERBY DAREDEVILS Book 1!

· An ARC of the upcoming DERBY DAREDEVILS Book 2—out in Fall 2020!

· Limited edition “Sour Birthday” popcorn from local Austin gourmet poppers.

· Stylish, cozy roller derby socks.

· A roller derby enamel pin to show off on your best denim jacket.

· A few secret items to be revealed in March 2020!

So there you have it! While not all debut authors will want to (or should feel the pressure to) engage in a preorder campaign, THE DERBY DAREDEVILS have decided we’re a go, and the team could be rolling into your own mailbox as soon as this month!

Again, all you have to do to receive the flat package and enter the grand prize giveaway raffle is email and include your mailing address and proof of preorder. Library requesters, same goes for emailing in with your request and mailing address to receive your own set of library-loving swag!

I’m offering a special holiday preorder campaign to start, wherein I’ll be sending out holiday preorder gift packages to anyone who emails with proof of preorder between 12/3/19 through 12/13/19. Note: You can absolutely preorder more than one copy and receive multiple preorder packages to gift to loved ones!

Keep in mind I’m sending these through regular USPS mail, so if mail tends to take longer to get to you on time before Hanukkah or Christmas, send in your email early! I will be popping the packages in the mailbox the same day I get the preorder email.

Once the holidays are over, I’ll be putting together the finalized grand prize packages to announce early in 2020!

Please consider THE DERBY DAREDEVILS as a gift for any fierce, funky kid in your life between the ages of 7 and 11. (Or really any age, let’s be honest.) Even if they can’t hold the book in their hands this month, you can still gift them a bright, fun package to let them know what’s on the way, as well as the chance to win a super cool bonus package in the spring.

Thank you so much for your consideration of preordering, and if you’re an author currently wondering about preorder campaigns, I hope this post helped give some clarity to your own decision!

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