The Pre-Order Rush

Ninety-percent of the time I pre-order my books from Amazon, especially if I’m reading a series. I mostly pre-order so that I have a record within Amazon for release dates and also so I don’t have to think about it or keep reminding myself. ūüôā

However, I’ve noticed that authors are advertising the pre-order more than ever…and they are incentivizing readers. (Yay!) Pretty smart, eh? Here are three recent examples of how authors are encouraging readers to take the pre-order plunge and are perhaps building even greater reader loyalty.

Never Judge A Lady By Her CoverSarah MacLean

We all know I am a huge fan of Sarah’s. She’s brilliant. Temple will forever be one of my favorite heroes (so tortured!). I deeply loved her Scoundrels series, so you can imagine my delight when she offered up a special reward¬†for those who pre-ordered the final book in the series, Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover. The prize?¬†A specially written interview between Sarah and her leading hero/heroines available ONLY to those who ordered the book before it’s release date. I received my “extra” scene via email a week or so after the book came out. I couldn’t wait to devour it. Why? Because I had just said goodbye to four amazing characters, each of whom I fell a little bit in love with, and it provided one last glimpse into the story. In fact, this pre-order prize could even be chalked up to dabbling in transmedia romance – although it didn’t move the story forward, it did provide additional insights into the characters and the writer herself.

Eloisa James Pre Order GiveawayEloisa James

After filling out the online form with a screenshot of my Amazon order number for Four Nights With The Duke, I’m officially signed up to receive a 10-page scene that was cut from the soon-to-be-released novel. This scene features the two main characters from the previous book in the series, India and Thorn (Three Weeks with Lady X). I’m really excited! Not only have I have been waiting for Four Nights for what seems Four Ever (get it? mwhaha) I’m excited to revisit some old favorites and see what they are up to. One of the great things about a series is that we can continually see and experience characters whose story already had their Happily Ever After. I think it’s pretty brilliant for Eloisa to reward pre-orders with a scene that didn’t make the final book. We hear so often that authors have to cut back on scenes or word counts or remove scenes or sub plots because they didn’t quite fit with the final story, so it’s wonderful that those scenes are being put to good use.

Stephanie Laurens Pre Order GiveawayStephanie Laurens

I’ve been reading Stephanie Laurens for a very long time. How did I¬†not know¬†that she is Australian? Having studied¬†down-under I am even more excited about her upcoming Cynster (The Next Generation) series. Just today I filled out an online form showing proof of purchase/pre-order for her latest book, The Tempting of Thomas Carrick, and I’ll be rewarded with my very own Cynster family tree poster. I’m not sure if it’s an e-family tree or an actual printed poster – but either way it’ll be fun. Personally, I’m not one that gets particularly riled up about family trees, but they have come in handy when trying to remember whom is related to whom – especially while waiting for the next book in the series to come out. I will fully admit¬†that while reading Stephanie’s Cynster Christmas story, By Winter’s Light, I got a little confused about which males were brothers and exactly whose wife was whose (that could get a bit tricky, couldn’t it?). However, it all came together in the end, but boy that family tree would have been handy!

I have to say, being someone who has almost always pre-ordered (for both print and e-book) for a very long time, it’s fun being rewarded for something I already do! However, I could see how this would also entice readers who perhaps wait for the book to come out to go ahead and secure their copy ahead of time. Additionally, for fans like me, who almost always purchase before the release date, offering the incentive only strengthens by ties to the story and the author, thus building and growing reader loyalty.

The incentive to pre-order is one of the things I love about the romance novel community for a few reasons.

1. Readers appreciate the smallest of gifts. Be it an interview with the characters, a special excerpt, a family tree, or a “deleted” scene – it is the small things that make us feel valued as readers and to immediately support and build buzz around our favorite authors and stories.

2. The incentives above are done out of love for the story, but they are also cost effective! For authors, this means that being able to offer incentives around pre-orders is feasible and well-worth the time and (little) money spent. Again, readers are just thrilled to read an extra scene, peak behind the curtain, or get deeper insight into their favorite characters.

3. The best part about these incentives is that it continues to build the story world (in most cases). I wrote recently about transmedia storytelling within the romance novel community and how this type of extended story world can benefit both readers and authors. These small incentives could easily be tied into a transmedia experience – especially to help generate excitment around a new release or keep readers loyal between books in a series.

What kind of incentives have you been offered as part of a book pre-order or order? What kind of rewards, as readers and authors, would you want to see/offer?

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