Yesterday I completed another book, making it ready for publication.
Over the previous three days, I have titivated with the internal layout, put the final finickity touches to my tome, trying to ensure I have no orphaned sentences, that the images, I have several throughout the book, are set as I wish and then, once again a run-through for any grammatical, punctuation or other errors such messing about can create.
For the two days before, I worked on finalising the cover.
The book Is now filed away awaiting the right window for publication. (I’m thinking sometime around May.)
The reason, I believe this will be the BEST time for me to release this book.
But is there a best time for you to release a book?
Let’s look at how this publishing game pans out over the year, and what else might influence when you make your book available.
Publishing your book as soon as it is ready is termed ‘soft publication.’
Your ‘media date’ or ‘hard publication date’ or ‘release date’ can be whenever you think the stars are going to align with your media coverage and the success of your pre-release marketing.
It should be when you think you can sell the most books.
Traditionally, in the UK, new books are published on a Thursday, especially a Thursday between the 7th and 14th of the month.
The weeks leading up to autumn are often some of the busiest times for new releases, as publishers jockey to fill bookstore shelves ahead of the upcoming winter holidays.
If you read are a regular reader of my blog on writing, ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind’ or have any of my books on authorship, you will know I often say, “Copy what the big boys do.”
The reason I say that is, the major publishers rarely do anything by chance. They spend a fortune on strategic planning and market research to ensure they get the right books, in the right places, at the right time to maximise their sales and hence their revenue.
Regarding the release of your next book, you could follow my advice and do the same as the major publishers.
But wait a moment. Let’s think about a few things first.
Some would say, do not release your book anytime between a Tuesday and a Thursday, because doing so will put your book in direct competition with the major publishing houses’ releases.
Suggestions of when is best include weekends, a Saturday will (generally) give you five whole days before the big houses release another title.
Some industry data points to Sundays and Mondays to attract the most journalistic attention.
It may be worth choosing a date early or late in the month, (before the 7th, or after the 14th), just after or just before the ‘Monthly Payday’.
Of course, there are other considerations, particularly for books of certain genres.
Romance books do well in early February, and a couple of weeks before the summer holiday period.
Horror works well from mid-November, and through October.
Introspective works sell best during the Summer, books like ‘Go Set a Watchman‘ for instance, as do many Adventure stories.
Books described as ‘light & airy‘ do well in the Springtime.
Unsurprisingly, winter tales, snowy themes and settings, do well during the winter months.
But there’s more to consider than the seasons.
The premise of your book can be all-important at certain times too.
Check out which television series are scheduled over the next six months to a year, find which have comparable stories, settings, locations, or characters to your book.
If your book is a period tale and a new costume drama is to be released on Television in August, then that program could help boost your sales.
If the new Sci-Fi blockbuster is due out in March… go for it. Major publishers have been known to change the name of a book to align with a mainstream film title.
For example, say a film, a Sci-Fi blockbuster sequel is named ‘Beyond the Far Crescent’, the publisher may alter a book’s title from, ‘From the Planets Shadow’ to ‘The Light of the Crescent’.
Never be afraid to re-title your book to align it with the marketplace, demographics, or current trends.
Consider too Special Calendar Days.
Easter time always sees a boost in Christian related books. Martin Luther King Day, for Black origin works. International Women’s Day, for strong female characters, feminism, and women’s rights. Remembrance Day, for War Stories, or Memoirs, for instance.
In this case, my advice would be, as I so often say, “do what the big boys do. Learn from them. Use their knowledge to compete with them.” It’s a bit like literary judo, using their size and bulk against them.
I admit there are no hard and fast rules, but I do suggest seriously planning when you release your next book.
Look ahead, research, find out what influences will affect your book, and create your strategy accordingly.
To help you decide when to release, or hold an ‘official’ launch day, here’s a rough guide cobbled together from industry data.
Self-help; diet; inspirational; business.
If your book fits into this category, you’ll find the media are particularly interested at this time. Mianly because it’s what many consumers are thinking about. Consider New Year’s resolutions, business forecasting/planning.
Self-help associated with relationships; debut authors; business; fiction.
If you are a debut, or relatively new indie author, this month is (generally) not so full of new titles, and there may be more promotion, and media opportunities, as a result.
Debut authors; mysteries; fiction
Beach reads; women’s fiction; biographies; books on mountain climbing (Good month for indies)
More beach reads; women’s fiction; biographies, or nonfiction that appeal to male readers on vacation, or for Father’s Day.
Quieter month, better for debut authors; more of what you saw in June.
A suitable time for indies, as there are fewer ‘new releases to compete with.
Debut authors; education-related titles; narrative nonfiction by lesser-known writers… read indie authors. (Get in, before next month.)
Public affairs and politics; serial authors in fiction and nonfiction; cooking; highly publicised titles by debut authors with mainstream publishers.
This is the main month, traditionally the annual main release month for major publishers. It is an incredibly competitive month and not indie-friendly.
More politics; cooking; big nonfiction titles by well-known personalities and writers; higher-end photography books; art books.
Not an indie-friendly month, unless you are releasing an art or photography title, possibly a nice, glossy, hardcover ‘Coffee Table’ tome.
Photography; art; gift books; ‘big name’ authors; diaries and journals, and anything you can think of that will sell in the current budget year.
Go for a well-planned strategic, high publicity release in early November through to the last few days of October.)
A good month for lesser-known authors. A variety of books are published, including latecomers for Christmas, or titles for people who want to get a jump on the usual January offerings.
Good for indies looking to establish base sales going into the following year.
Regarding ‘Jack’s Dtis2’, the book I mentioned at the start of this post; I gave it a ‘soft release’ in March, (with a pre-order by invitation only) followed by an ongoing, promotional program targeted directly at my market segment. The book is still selling in good numbers a year later, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Feel free to browse this site, there are a plethora of posts written for writers and authors of all experiences, and abilities.
I am open to comments and am happy to answer your questions on any aspect of ‘Being Indie’.
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