One of the challenges a self-publisher faces is the question, “When is the best day/month to actually publish/launch my book?” The short answer is… on a Tuesday, on the first day of the month, but not in December.
Simple? The truth is, there’s no perfect day to launch your book. There are, however, better times to publish. Publishing at the right time of year and, perhaps on the right day of the week, can help your initial sales. Here is some information to help you nail down when exactly you might want to get your book out there!
Best day of the week or month:
If you’re in a rush, the answer is probably Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
If you have some time, this is why:
The Traditional Publishers (the big ones… not the self-publishers), typically publish on a Tuesday. Movies usually come out on DVD on that day as well. It seems to be a well accepted day to get new material out and into the hands of people. This day is actually called, “Super Tuesday”. There’s not an awful lot actually super about it. If you want to learn a bit more about why Tuesday is the popular day, I would check out this blog at dearauthor.com.
With that said, there are several things to keep in mind.
First, a lot of self-published authors strongly feel that the best day to get your book out is the moment your book is ready. This makes sense as it means your book is actually out there. Until it’s available for pre-orders or for sale, you can’t actually sell your book (I know… that was profound).
Second, I mentioned Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. For the most part, these are all good days to publish. While Tuesday may be a little more traditional, remember that you are self-publishing and… well… you’re not doing this whole thing the traditional way, are you? One author mentioned they had published on both Monday and Wednesday and had not noticed any difference in sales. Pick your day and go for it!
Third, if you’re wanting to think outside the box, go for it! I just would not recommend you publish on a weekend. Typically the weekend is too busy of a time and your book can get lost in the shuffle of everything going on. One author I read liked publishing on a Sunday night. Perhaps that would work well, but why not wait till Monday morning?
Fourth, some prefer to publish not on a specific day of the week, but on a specific day of the month. Specifically, you might publish on the 1st of the month. Part of the argument for this is that people have just been paid and have more money to spend (and therefore willing to spend it). I don’t know how much that affects sales, but here is a point to consider. If you’re aiming for the 1st of the month, try to line it up with a month that has the 1st on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. 🙂
Best time of the year:
If you’re in a rush, the answer is probably January-February or June to July.
If you have some time, this is why:
August is not ideal for two reasons. First, people are often away and things are quiet. This can actually work to your advantage as people travelling will often want books to read, but you might want to back up your launch to July. The other problem with August is that media outlets are sometimes a little slower in their reponses. This is a problem if you are hoping to advertise or have them review your book.
If you’re thinking of December, Christmas time is a terrible time for a self-publisher to release a book. Christmas is a big time for sales in general, but not ideal for your first book launch. It’s a time when people are focused on Christmas and were just focused on Thanksgiving (in the US). They are not focused on you and your book.
Consider this: when was the last time you bought a fiction book for someone as a gift for Christmas? What was the book? It was likely by an author either you already read or by an author you know they read, right? If you are a new author who is not established and do not yet have a following of people who buy every book you write (other than your mom), your book will not likely sell well at Christmas time. Perhaps try to publish a few books first before hitting that time of year.
Now, there are some books which will do well at Christmas (in addition to bestsellers by already famous authors). If your book is Christmas related, that will certainly help, but publish it prior to December 1. There is also a demand for cooking books, certain self-help books and quizzes/novelty books at Christmas time (again, publish before December 1).
Ultimately, December is the realm of the traditional publishers. They have books they are promoting in a big way to people and those books sell like crazy. It’s not impossible to launch in December, it just may not be the best time for a self-publisher.
One more thing to consider about Christmas time. Remember that not only is it a typically busy time for you, but it is also likely a busy time for everyone else–including all your support. You may need some help with Createspace and you may find them a little more sluggish in their responses. You may need some help with marketing, but those you are relying on are busy not only with work, but also with family commitments. Keep this in mind. Christmas is not a good time to get stuff done.
Okay, so there are two months when you shouldn’t publish. There are also some months which are likely neither good or bad to publish. So, when is the best time to publish?
January to February:
The winter is a good time because in colder climates (I’m in Canada), people may spend more time inside reading during January and February. Many people may also have received new tablets or e-readers or Amazon gift cards and might be looking for a new book to read. Not a bad time for book sales! January is often considered the best time for self-publishers to launch their new book.
February is also a good time as people have settled from Christmas and, hopefully, paid off some or all of their Christmas credit card bills. People are looking for something new and exciting. If you are more south, it may be getting warmer. If you are more north, people are growing stir-crazy with the cold and snow. Why not buy a book by an awesome new self-publisher?
June to July:
The other time to consider is summer. In one sense, this seems odd. Why would people buy books in summer? Summer is actually one of the biggest times of the year for book sales! A lot of people vacation in the summer months and that’s the perfect time to get some reading in!
Here’s what I’m looking at for publishing next year and you’ll see that I’m paying some attention to the information in this blog and ignoring some as well. They are my books, I can publish when I want. 🙂 These dates are tentative and may change. I’m not yet releasing the names of the books as I have not settled on the subtitle of the books:
Book One – April 2, 2018 (Monday)
Book Two – June 4, 2018 (Monday)
Book Three – November 5 or 12, 2018 (Mondays)
I have some reasons for publishing on these dates. Part of this has to do with the Book Launch teams I want to run and the timing that requires. Part of this has to do with the fact that I want them all published in 2018. There are some other reasons as well. If you look below, you’ll notice that book two actually falls neatly in the best time of year to publish an adventure book (while books 1 & 3 simply do not).
In terms of times of the year for publishing specific genres, here is some info taken from selfpublishingadvice.org and blog.bookbaby.com (the recommendations from these two sites were almost identical):
January – April: Romance, Self-help, Business, Cooking, Design
May – August: Adventure, Fantasy, Travel
September – November: Academic, Horror, Paranormal
December – January: Children, Cookery, Illustrated, Quiz, Dictionaries, Novelty and quirky fun books.
Two more matters
First, if you’re working through all this information and still can’t figure out the best time to publish, consider this: books are available for sale all around the world, 24 hours a day. This means if you publish at a bad time for the Western world, it may not be a bad time for, say, India which has many English readers. Remember that the Western World is only a part of this planet. So what if you publish at a bad time for, say, the US, but sales go wild in Asia and take a couple days or a number of weeks to catch up in the US. You will still have sold a lot of books. For example, India has a LOT of readers and many read in English. Check out this article at business-standard.com for more information.
Second, keep in mind that the specific day you publish isn’t really important if you haven’t promoted your book. If you’ve promoted your book well and people can’t wait to buy it… I’m not sure it matters what day you launch it. Promotion is, by far, the key here. The day of the week/month and the time of the year is simply something that will enhance your sales.
At a later date, I hope to post about doing pre-orders for your books, but until then, happy publishing!
Comment below with your thoughts and ideas about all this!