The Equaliser – self-published authors can now offer pre-orders on Kindle

Self-publishers have got a big boost with Amazon now allowing them to make their books available for pre-order in Kindle Stores worldwide.

You can create a pre-order page up to 90 days in advance of your book’s release date. The pre-order product page will be created within 24 hours and customers can order the book any time leading up to the release date you set when Amazon will deliver the book to them.

Other retailers have been offering pre-order facilities for self-publishers and Smashwords founder Mark Coker said recently that ‘Pre-orders are the new free’ in terms of promotional effectiveness.

Traditional publishers have been able to feature pre-orders on Amazon, although this has been a source of contention in the long-running dispute between Amazon and Hachette, with pre-orders disappearing on some of the publisher’s books. This week, it has also been reported that Amazon has stopped showing pre-orders of some DVDs in a further dispute with Disney.

Levels publishing playing field

This new move by Amazon finally puts self-publishers on much more of a level playing field with traditional publishers and gives a great opportunity for promotion and adding to discoverability.

Authors can start promoting a Kindle book pre-order page on Author Central, Goodreads, a personal website, and other places ahead of its release.

Pre-orders for Kindle will contribute toward sales rank and other Kindle Store merchandising ahead of release, which can help more readers discover your book.

The process for Kindle seems to be that pre-orders are counted towards sales rank as they are made, which is different from other retailers such as Apple’s iBooks, where pre-orders accumulate and are totalled when the book is released, which can make a big difference to initial ranking, with some books going straight to the top of the best sellers on the basis of accumulated pre-orders.

How to use the Kindle pre-order facility

The new Kindle pre-order facility can be found under Step 4 of the new listing option on an author’s KDP bookshelf, as shown above. When adding a new book, on Step 4, “Select Your Book Release Option,” choose “Make my book available for pre-order” and set a date in the future.

That’s not quite all you have to do though, as you must also upload the final version or a draft manuscript of the book file for review by Amazon, who obviously want to check that there really is a book that’s going to be released and that it doesn’t breach their guidelines.

  • Amazon says a draft manuscript would be something like a complete book that might still need copy-editing and proofreading.
  • It won’t show the version to customers but says it needs to preview the content for compliance with its policies before creating the pre-order detail page.
  • It will go through the same review process as any other KDP book.
  • Customers won’t be able to download sample content for pre-order books.
  • The final version of the book must be uploaded 10 days before the release date that has been set.
  • You can set pre-orders in all marketplaces except (India). Books will be released at midnight local time in each marketplace.
  • Only new KDP books are eligible for pre-order. Public domain books are not eligible.
  • You can list up to 10 titles for pre-order, and you can add more pre-order listings as titles are released.

Reporting and royalties

The pre-order report is updated as orders are placed, including pre-ordered units, pre-order cancellations, and net pre-order units.

Your pre-order sales data will not appear in other reports until after your book is delivered to customers on its release date. After that, you’ll see pre-order units listed in the Prior Months’ Royalties report, under the “Pre-order” transaction type.

Once your book is released and customers start getting their copies, you will receive credit for final sales and royalties will be paid around 60 days after the end of the month.

Pre-orders are the new free

Amazon Publishing pushes its pre-orders into the best-seller lists