You’ve just spent what seems like a huge chunk of your life writing your book, and now, at last, it’s time to hit that publish button . . . but not so fast! Is it really time to publish your book? Just because a book is finished doesn’t mean the timing is right. Your publication date is important. There are certain months that would be perfect for your book and make your pitch to retailers and media outlets easier, and some months you should avoid altogether. Below are some tips to help make sure your book doesn’t launch with bad timing.
A New Book For a New You (January)
If you are publishing some kind of self-help or project book (i.e. diet, personal growth, career, home improvement, etc), then this is your month. People are starting off the year thinking about change and they’re in the market for books to help them.
Love Is In the Pages (February)
As you think about your book release you want to think about the mood people are typically in the month it comes out. February is obviously the month when Valentine's Day falls, so love is in the air. If you are publishing a cookbook, plenty of people will be looking for ideas for that perfect Valentine dish. Romances and poetry books are also strong releases during this month. A lot of people pop the question on Valentine’s Day, so if your book is wedding-themed, then now’s the time to get it out.
Marching Into Spring (March)
Spring is in the air and so is Easter. People are starting to think about that summer garden, which makes gardening books a good release. Easter typically falls in March or early April, and people are looking for inspirational books, religious tie-ins, and picture books to put into Easter baskets.
Travelling Past Spring (April)
Spring is nearing an end, and so is school. People are starting to think about summer, and more importantly: vacation! April is a good time to publish travel books or books about exotic locales. April is also National Poetry Month, so it's a good time for poetry as well. People are starting to think about their summer reads, so if you are hoping for your book to wind up on someone’s beach blanket, make sure you are thinking about marketing—even if your book won’t be out for two or three months.
It’s Time for Mom (May)
May publishing is centered around one person: Mom. Yes, people do read and buy other things, but personal memoirs, coffee table books (such as photo books), inspirational romances—or any other book that goes perfect with a bouquet of roses—are all good releases during this month. Cinco de Mayo is also this month, so if your book falls into Chicano literature, then this is the month to release it.
Congrats to the Grads (June)
This month belongs to the grads. People are looking for that perfect inspirational or professional book to slip into the hands of that high school or college grad. If you think you’ve written something meaningful that will help that grad grow either in their professional or personal life, then this month is for you. People are also starting to travel—both on vacation or to those graduations—so if you’ve written a page-turner that people won’t be able to put down and you want to beat the summer rush of similar titles, then it could be a smart move to publish it now.
Summer Reads (July to August)
Mysteries, Sci-fis, Thrillers—anything that can be labeled “Page-Turner”—this is your time. People have more leisure time and are looking for good books to spend it with.
Back to School (September)
People are thinking about education again. This is the month for histories, biographies, political books, and anything else that could fit into the academia market. Late September is also a good time to get paranormal and horror books out.
Merry Christmas...But Not to You (October to December)
The holidays are here and it seems like the perfect time to launch a book, right? Everyone is going to want to wrap up your book and give it away as a gift, right? While it’s true that books are good gifts to put under the Christmas tree, unless you meet one of the following criteria, then it’s best to skip these months:
- My book is holiday themed
- My book is a children’s book
- My book is a horror (October only)
- I’m a New York Times bestselling author
I’m sure your friends and family would love to give that book as a gift, but how many friends and family do you have? Bookstores are focused during these months on stocking inventory from the year’s hottest releases, and it’s easy for a fresh voice to get overlooked and very difficult for someone new to get shelf space.
Does this mean if you publish a book in these months and you don’t fit into the criteria you are doomed? Of course not. These are only suggestions to help you maximize your potential with your publication date and help you answer the question, "When should I publish my book?" Just because you may want to wait to publish your book till a different month, you still want to upload it to get it into the system and set a future on sale date to make it available for pre-orders. More goes into a book launch than the release date, but a well-timed release always helps!