How to use Kindle pre-orders to pre-sell your self-published book

How to use Kindle pre-orders to pre-sell your self-published book

I was excited that Kindle finally set up a pre-order option on KDP, which means self-publishing authors can finally compete with mainstream books by selling pre-orders. Pre-orders are great because you can build buzz and start talking about/selling your book before it’s really all polished up and ready to go. In addition (I believe) all the sales count on the first day the book is actually available, which means you can spike into the bestseller lists much easier.

All you need to do is Select Your Book Release Option and choose “I’m ready to publish now” or “make my book available for pre-order.”

I was about ready to upload my first, 100 common publishing questions answered, when I got an email from KDP saying I’d been banned from pre-selling books for one year because I hadn’t uploaded a final file by the appropriate deadline.

Dear Derek Murphy,

Thank you for making your book 100 common publishing questions answered available for pre-order.

You have not yet submitted the final version of the book file, which is now past due. You were required to provide the final version of your book file by 08/23/2014 . Maintaining a positive customer experience is important, and part of that experience is releasing books on schedule.

If you do not upload the final version of your book at least three days before its release date, then your pre-order will be cancelled, and customers will be notified that you did not publish your book.

Also, you have now lost pre-order access for one year since we did not receive the final version at least 10 days before the book’s release date.

Pre-order title: 100 common publishing questions answered

Final version of book file due: 08/23/2014 (past due)

Last date when you can upload book file: 08/30/2014

Release date: 09/02/2014


Upload the final version of your book file here. Please remember to click on “Submit for pre-order” after uploading your book file.

For more details about pre-orders, check out this page.

Thanks again for choosing KDP to publish your work.

Best Regards,

Kindle Direct Publishing Team


That was a bit of a shock, since I’d double checked the book page on KDP and it told me the deadline was August 29th.



Here’s my reply letter.

Dear KDP – I’d already changed the publishing date and double checked to make sure when I was required to upload a final file: my KDP page for the book still says,

“Please submit the final version of your book by Friday, August 29, 2014, 12:00 AM US East Coast Time to ensure customers receive your book on time and to maintain your pre-order eligibility.”

I apologize if I’ve made an error but it seems your system is inconsistent. Losing pre-order access for one year seems especially harsh, since pre-orders a new feature that neither of us have much experience with. I trust you’ll give me another chance, and correct the issue with the KDP page apparently giving a false ‘final deadline’ date.

Derek Murphy


But I just received this email (finally recognizing my change of date?)

Dear Derek Murphy,

Based on your recent update, the pre-order release date for 100 common publishing questions answered has been delayed to 09/08/2014. Customers who pre-ordered the book have been notified of the delay. Also, you have lost pre-order access for one year.

For more details about pre-orders, check out this page.

Best Regards,

Kindle Direct Publishing Team


Seems I may have accidentally burned my one and only chance at pre-selling books, because there’s no indication that I can’t just reset the publication date (no warning, for example, when I changed the date, only minutes after setting up the first one).

Make sure you upload a final version of your book at least 10 days (2 weeks to be safe) before the publishing date, since the consequences appear to be dire.


  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Posted

    Eek! Sorry you got bitten. You’d think they would at least let you get to the end of the day when you made your publication date setup, wouldn’t you?

    Thank you for blogging about it – it should keep some other people from getting bitten – but I’m sorry you learned this the way you did.

    And, I must say, your even tone in this blog post is commendable – some people would be out with pitchforks pointed at Z already.

    • Derek Murphy Posted

      We’ll see how it plays out. I had put 5 books up on pre-order and now I’m banned for a year… I’ll still release them all in time but I hadn’t wanted to experiment with pre-order manipulations to get #1 in my categories faster…

  • Sunghee Lee Posted

    I’m sorry to hear that! Yes, pre-order is pretty glitchy. I submitted the night before the deadline but I couldn’t add another book for pre-order. Luckily the fixed it for me.
    But then they published a draft version of our book, not the final version for Look Inside and book sample! Well, they’re fixing it but it kind of made me scared to try again for the next book. Hope things get smoother soon.

  • Randy Posted

    Useful post. Thanks!

    Any idea if there is a penalty for publishing the book earlier than the original date? Seems to me that readers would be thrilled to get things earlier but the Amazon Gods may take offense.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *