(October 2018 update)
Wondering when to publish a book? Read our update on this post about the best time for your book launch! It’s filled with great info not just on when to launch your book, but how to get started marketing it.
This spring, let’s go back to basics and focus on Publishing, more specifically, how you can Get Published Today. This week, Penny will give us the basics on how to determine the best time to publish your book!
The plotting and planning of your book will include a good many things. Often, the launch date is just determined by one simple factor: the book is finally done. But the launch of a book is perhaps the most important aspect to the life of your tome. Giving your book a solid start date and start plan is important.
Before you can determine your start date, you need to figure out when would be the best time to release your book. If you want to avoid the majority of the competition, try releasing your book during an off-season. For example, publishers typically release in three seasons: January to June, Summer season, and the Fall. Fall is the biggest publishing season because it often encompasses titles released with an eye to the New Year as well, such as diet, life goals, and finances. It’s not that you can’t release a book around this time, but know that you will likely be competing with many major titles. This however, might not always be the case and that’s where some additional sleuthing comes in.
While there are a variety of ways to track what publishers will be releasing, there is one resource that I find most current: publishersmarketplace.com. This site also serves up a daily newsletter called Publishers Lunch, and a weekly newsletter called Deal Lunch (where they share all the deals signed the previous week). I would recommend joining this site as soon as you can so you can track who is doing what, who’s buying, and what’s being released. The service is free, but for $20 a month you can get access to a bunch of back end data such as Editorial Staff, all the deals for the past twelve months (or more; it’s a treasure trove of publishing data), and anything else related to publishing, and book releases. Even if New York publishers aren’t of interest to you, you still play in the same sandbox, so information is power. Arm yourself well.
The next piece of your pre-launch plan is what I recommend that you do on an ongoing basis: monitor the competition. Who else is in your market and what are they doing? Are you on their mailing lists? If you’re not, you should be. Keep an eye on what other authors in your market are doing, especially the leaders in your industry. This will also give you some idea as to what else is happening in your market. You should never operate in a vacuum if you plan on being successful.
The final piece to this is news items. Are you staying on top of everything related to your industry? This will not only benefit you as you determine the best publishing season for your book, but it will also help you understand new trends in your industry (and possibly incorporate them into your book). It will also give you the opportunity to start a discussion (yes, now) on market trends and hot industry topics.
Marketing, even in its pre-book phase, is all about joining the conversation. And to be successful in that conversation, you must keep an eye on the road to know what’s happening. Tracking is pretty easy these days with sites like Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts). Just plug in your desired keywords and voila! Results will start appearing in your inbox shortly. Also, if you’re already “out there,” be sure and get an alert service on yourself too. That way you can make sure you know who’s saying what and where you are appearing.
Don’t miss earlier posts in the series! Click on the links for Back to Basics 1: Facts about Trade Publishing, Back to Basics 2: Defining your publishing goals, and Back to Basics 3: How Do You Know Your Book is Ready to be Published?.