PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK AT THE PERFECT TIME
Every February in New York City, the crocuses bloom—and for years, you could also count on a new Cinematherapy book being published. My coauthor and I deliberately chose February for our book’s publication because in February, people are thinking about movies. The Golden Globe Awards have been handed out for the past year’s films, and the Academy Award nominees are about to be announced. We did a press release every February with our own spin on the best movies, and got plenty of publicity breaks with morning drive-time radio shows looking for a five minute feature that was funny, lively, and timely, and with our press release in hand, the “morning zoo” deejays had something fresh to talk about. Publishing your book at the perfect time means paying attention to what people are thinking about at a given time of year.
As you think about the potential audience for your book, think about what time of year your audience would likely be most interested in your topic–and in reading about your book online or going to a lecture or bookstore reading. Look at the publication dates and months for your comparative books, and think about why the publisher might have chosen those particular months for publishing the books. Why was one book published in March and another in May? Can you figure it out?
When it comes to picking the perfect publication date for your book, months matter. As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recently pointed out in her blog post, September is the new January, people are ready in January to start anew with a diet, a new hairstyle, or a new marriage. September is the hottest month to get married next to June. August is a very tough month to publish books, even beach reads, because people just aren’t paying attention to publicity, television shows are on hiatus, and readers often have already chosen their beach reading . Fall of a presidential year is a perfect time for publishing your book on political topics or presidential history. January is when people are thinking about changing their habits, and June’s a great time for publishing a book that a bride, a graduate, or a father would appreciate.
Also, look at lists of holidays both famous and obscure. My coauthor and I liked to write humor books about men and women, and we knew Valentine’s Day would be a great time to publish our book Frankly Scarlett, I DO Give a Damn!: Classic Romances Retold. You might want to publish a book on compliments in synch with March 1, which is Compliments Day–just one of many interesting holidays. Writing a book about health? Check out a list of national health issue awareness months.
Traditionally, publishers put out their potential bestsellers in the fall for Christmas buying. Rarely will they aim for a December publication date, since bookstore owners and salespeople are so busy selling books that taking new books out of boxes to place on shelves is not a high priority.
There might be a few different months when it would be wise to publish your book and seek the attention of potential book buyers. The parenting book I coauthored, Raising a Sensory Smart Child, was published in March but a September publication would have worked, too, because parents are often looking for books that will assist them in supporting their child who isn’t doing well at school. In fact, we chose to release the updated version of the book in September.
So ask yourself, “If I were my ideal book buyer, when would I be least distracted and most interested in reading more about my book and clicking through to purchase it?”
And if you’re looking at a date far off into the future and are feeling impatient, don’t worry. You can always spend the time between now and then building your author platform and following so that you have many more eager readers ready to buy your book when it is published. Facebook is a great way to build a following so check out my new eBook 25 Powerful Ways to Get Engagement on Facebook for help with that.
Nancy Peske is a ghostwriter, developmental editor, and book publishing consultant who has done editorial work on books including bestsellers and award-winners for over 30 years.