I've got a new book coming out in four weeks. Sins of Empire, the first book in Gods of Blood and Powder, will hit shelves on March 7th and because of that I've been a little pre-occupied with getting people to order the book ahead of the release.
A lot of people ask me if pre-orders are more important or make me more money than if, say, they waited until the book has hit the shelves and bought it then. All things being equal, they do not make me more money. They are, however, more important for a couple different reasons.
The most obvious reason are bestseller lists. Pre-orders count toward first week sales that often determine whether a book winds up on a bestselling list, a possibility that can be huge for any author.
Pre-orders also affect what happens behind the scenes. A large number of pre-orders can cause a vendor (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million) to go back to my publisher and ask for another order of books. That's before the book is even out. How cool is that? That order could be 200. It could be 2000. Doesn't matter how small it is, another order is fantastic. In addition, notes will be made about how well these books seem to be selling. My publisher can go to their other vendors and say "Hey, X just ordered another 300 copies of Y, which means you'll probably have a high demand as well. Can we send you more?"
It's a snowball effect. It can cause sales to grow before the book even hits the shelves, which gets booksellers and the publisher excited for it, and they'll turn around and push it even harder to the book-buying public.
What I'm saying is: if you plan on buying a book, head over to your favorite vendor and put your money down ahead of release. It really does make a difference.
You can pre-order Sins of Empire from the following links: