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creating a pre-order campaign for your book that costs you nothing

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

In the world of traditional publishing, book pre-orders are important. They show your publisher that there is demand for a book before its launch which can lead to them printing more copies, putting more marketing behind the book, and selling more books to bookstores.

Because of this a lot of authors like to run pre-order campaigns. They’ll quite often create a little pack of goodies to send to people who pre-order the book as a way of incentivising it. Some authors mail signed bookmarks, stickers, and other goodies, for example.

I love these little swag packs, but personally I don’t want to spend money on my pre-order campaign. Particularly when I live in a different country than my main audience (hello, shipping costs!).

I DO, however, want to be doing something to incentivise those pre-orders and to give me something to talk about on social media.

With this in mind, here are 4 completely FREE goodies you can include in a digital pre-order book swag pack!

1. Phone lock screens / wallpapers

Create a phone lock screen for your readers to have on their phone. If you can get hold of the layered images of your book cover from your publisher, you can get creative and stay completely on brand. If you can’t get the images from your publisher, you could also create a wallpaper related to your book's themes or your author brand.

I used Canva to make mine for Cupid’s Match. There is a template in Canva you can use – search ‘phone wallpaper’.

2. Laptop Wallpaper

Create a wallpaper for you readers to put on their laptop!

I used Canva to create my laptop wallpapers for Cupid’s Match. There is a template in Canva you can use – search 'desktop wallpaper’.

3. Chapter sample

Ask your publisher if you can include an extract from your book in in your pre-order campaign. This gives your readers chance to read part of it and get excited about reading more before it comes out.

I was allowed to send the first chapter – so I formatted it nicely in a PDF file and included it in my digital pre-order pack!

4. A printable bookmark

You might not have the funds to print and ship off a load of bookmarks. But why not send a digital version of your bookmark to your readers so they can print it themselves?

I used Canva to create mine. There is a template in Canva you can use – search ‘bookmark’.

One of the great things about a digital pre-order pack is your you can send all these via email, and your reader can get their goodies instantly.

I automated my whole pre-order campaign using a form email in gmail and a mailchimp landing page (which then automatically sent the goodies). I can write another post about this at another time!

Creating a digital pack is super easy, cost nothing, and helps incentivise those pre-orders!

Have you run a pre-order campaign? What did you do? Let me know in the comments!

Want to connect with me about writing? Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Or join my mailing list!

Looking for more marketing tips for your book launch? Check out my 5 ways to promote your book on Instagram!


LAUREN PALPHREYMAN is a writer based in London. She is best known for her supernatural teen romance series, Cupid's Match, which has accumulated over 60 million hits online and was published by Wattpad Books / Penguin Random House, October 2019. Her new book, Devils Inc. comes out Friday 13th November 2020. Find her on Instagram @LaurenPalphreyman and on Twitter @LEPalphreyman.

Get hold of her debut, Cupid's Match, here!

1 Comment

Unknown member
Sep 26, 2021

This is a fantastic idea! I was just wondering how pre-order campaigns send in bookplates, stickers and bookmarks. Just the logistics are a nightmare, let alone the cost... Thank you for this.

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