Your friend — and by that I mean me — has written a book. Suddenly your Facebook and Instagram feed is inundated (I really hope not) with posts about pre-ordering her book. She’s offering swag, and you’re like,
“Wait…is she giving away curtains? Isn’t that what swag is? Or is this some thug thing? Like bling? She’s not really very thuggish…”
I am not very thuggish. It’s true. Nor am I giving away curtains to encourage you to pre-order my book. Swag is usually stuff like bookmarks, bookplates, artwork, postcards, etc. We autograph some of this stuff to make it extra fancy. (If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see what I mean).
But back to the WHY. Authors (again, that’s me) want you to pre-order their books because:
- Pre-ordering can get the book on the LISTS. Now for most authors (me), that’s practically impossible. There are so many, many factors that go into getting on the NY Times Bestseller list that my little pre-order campaign is sort of like shouting into the void. I totally recognize that, and yet, it doesn’t change the fact that I want my book to be heard, seen, recognized.
- It can affect the number of books ordered. If a lot of books are pre-ordered the vendor (Amazon and Barnes & Noble, usually) can request more books from the publisher, which is always a good thing.
- It makes the book more visible. Any Kindle users out there? You know how Amazon recommends other books that you might like? Yes. They don’t suggest books that aren’t selling well. That would be really friendly of them, but this is Amazon we’re talking about. They have magical algorithms that track everyone’s buying habits. But books don’t get tracked and promoted if they don’t get bought.
- Pre-orders make publishers happy. Publishing houses pay authors an advance, hoping that they’ll make more money than what they paid their author. When they (editors and publisher, who is a person BTW) see pre-orders, they think, “Yay! This might not tank.” And then they may buy more books from the author. Which is really good for everyone in this scenario.
- We don’t want to feel like failures. There’s nothing quite as terrifying and heart-breaking as watching something that you’ve slaved and sacrificed for collapse. We want our books to do well. Sometimes that requires stepping outside our comfort zone and asking you to do something for us. I don’t really like asking for help. But I can’t (nor do I want to ) buy 10,000 copies of my own book. Seriously. Where would I put them?
So, if you can afford to pre-order a book — mine or anyone else’s — then go for it! You may not need the swag, but it is kind of cool. Also, my artwork is beautiful. Just saying.
If you DO pre-order, then please send me a pic of your receipt and your address. Swag is the best thank you card I can send because when we get down to it, swag is the only way I can show gratitude!
I’ll leave these right here:
Oh!! And here’s the picture of the swag I promised. It’s all very bookish instead of thuggish. SKYLIGHTER orders get a bookmark, a post card, and the exclusive hand-numbered artwork by Dimas Wijil Pamungkas. STORYSPINNER orders get a bookmark, post card, and bookplate map sticker.
So give me a chance to say thank you for supporting me and my book!! Love to you all!