Published on

How to accept pre-orders for your self-published book


IndiePaper enables self-published authors like you to write, edit, format, typeset, publish and sell your books all on a single integrated platform. This post explains how you can set up pre-orders for your self-published book, so you can earn money while you're writing your book.

Writing a book is hard, way harder when you're an Indie Author working alone. Most books are abandoned because authors lose motivation mid-way. We can't blame them either, it might take months or years for the book to see the light of day. All that time, you write behind closed doors, hoping readers will find your book interesting enough to buy it while having no direct financial support from your book. This long feedback loop causes authors to lose motivation and worse make a book no one wants to read.

This story is eerily familiar in the startup community where founders work on their product in the dark, with no revenue, no customers and no market. It's hard to sustain yourself this way, especially when you're doing this all alone. When you're building or writing, the sooner you can launch your book or your product in the real world, the sooner you can start making money, and better, you can listen to feedback and improve, so you will have a compelling book when you launch.

Rather than waiting for a finished book, why not start accepting pre-orders for what you have today? Pre-orders help you financially sustain yourself when you're writing the book, by bringing in revenue from your initial set of readers. Your readers get access to your books early and have a say in shaping the book. You get an audience that loves and cares about your book, and a community by the time you launch your book. Win-win for everyone.

How to publish your book for pre-orders?

Putting your book up for pre-orders is no easy task. You can start with a simple landing page, but if you're not providing anything of value from day one, you'll need to do a lot of marketing for it. This is why most crowdfunding campaigns fail. You need to provide value for the readers from the moment they pre-order their book.

Even though you're only publishing a subset of the book, you'll need to do everything you do on a finished book. You'll need to format it, typeset it, upload it for sale, send notifications, handle cancellations and refunds. You'll need to repeat this process for every update and chapter you publish. You have to also make sure your readers have easy access to all your books.

Rather than cobbling together a bunch of tools and manual processes into a complex unmanageable setup, use IndiePaper to self-publish your book and put it up for pre-orders. You can start writing and put your book up for sale with a single chapter. Once you publish, we'll generate a listing page that you can share with your readers. Your readers can purchase the book, and start reading your book. They can access your book in their library and will get notified every time you publish an update. You can gather feedback from your initial readers, adapt your draft and publish again, improving the book every time. Once you have completed the book, you can put it up as a finished book on IndiePaper itself and your initial readers will still have access to it.

Publishing your pre-order book on IndiePaper

Publishing your pre-order book on IndiePaper is easy. It takes roughly 5 mins to set up and get your book ready for pre-orders.


Goto, and create an account. It's as easy as it sounds ;).

Create a new book

Navigate to and create a new book. Remember to set the type to 'Pre-order' so you can publish chapter by chapter.

Create a pre-order book

Write your initial chapter

Write your chapter in our integrated online word processor. You can also import from your word document.

Write your chapter

Publish your Chapter

After you have finished writing the chapter, hit publish. You can either publish the chapter for free or be accessible only to readers who have bought the pre-order.

Publish your chapter

Share with Readers

A Stripe integrated listing page like this will be automatically generated for you. Share it with your readers. Your profits will be deposited in your connected bank account every Friday. They can access your books in their library.

Listing View


Your book will show up in your reader's library once they buy your pre-order book. When you publish a new chapter, they will be notified both via the platform and email.

Reader View


Your profits will be deposited every week on Friday. Keep writing and publishing more chapters. When you're finished with the book, you can publish the book fully, and make it available like any other book.

Some Thoughts

Even though pre-orders are a great way to finance your book as you're writing it, It's best to keep these guidelines in mind.

  • Discounted price - Sell the books at a reduced price. Remember you haven't finished your book yet, and it's only right to give your early readers an advantage. You can change pricing whenever you want. But keep this in mind only as a general recommendation, you are ultimately the judge of what your books should be priced at.

  • Be consistent - Your readers trust you, that's why they bought your book even before you finished it. Always be consistent in your schedule. If you are publishing a draft chapter every week make sure you are adhering to that schedule, a mishap may slowly erode trust with your readers.

  • Listen to feedback and engage with your community - Listening to feedback can help you shape your book. Feedback this early in your writing can be extremely valuable as you can find out what sticks with readers, increasing the chance that your book will be well received on launch.

Putting your book up for pre-orders is not for everyone. You might be in a place where you can or want to write your book fully before releasing it. In that case more power to you. But if you want to get into the minds of your readers, get funding for your book, putting your book up for pre-orders can be a really valuable tool. You can use this to gauge interest and as an alternative to crowdfunding.

If you're ready to put your book up for pre-orders, head on to IndiePaper and start writing. We are all here to help you out.