Is there a perfect time to publish your a course in miracles? Most authors want their book in the hands of readers as soon as possible. However, if you want to maximize your ability to get media attention as well as to sell your book to readers, think about which month to publish into. When planning your book’s publication date, keep in mind the mood of typical readers and book buyers, as well as holidays, special events, and seasonal themes.
January. Because of New Year’s resolutions, January’s theme is a new year, a new you. It seems we all want to start a diet, stop smoking, fix our relationship, or write a book at last, starting January 1! If your book is on self-improvement or offers insights into personal growth, January might be the perfect month for publishing your book.
February. Valentine’s Day brings up thoughts of relationships, sex, and romance. My cousin and coauthor, Beverly West, and I once came up with a successful book idea by starting with the question, “What kind of $10 by-the-register Valentine’s Day book could we write?” February is also a good time to publish books about movies because of the timing of the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
February into March and April. Spring is a typical time for publishers to release midlist books (books with minimal advertising budgets that publishers expect to sell in modest numbers). This way, the smaller books don’t have to compete against huge blockbuster novels and nonfiction being released in the fall to entice Christmas shoppers. If your book is on a serious subject, or on spring cleaning or gardening, try to get your book published in the springtime.
May. Mother’s Day is a great time for gift books and books on mother/daughter or mother/son issues. Swimsuit season begins soon, so May can be a terrific time to publish books on getting in shape and losing weight.
June. Weddings, Father’s Day, and graduation make June a great time to publish gift books and books that about dads, careers, and weddings, as well as any books that would appeal to fathers, graduates, and brides to be. July and August. Unless your book is a great beach read, getting your book published in July or August when people aren’t typically thinking about serious topics and many people are on vacation may result in minimal or no publicity for your book.
September. Back to school means talk of careers and education and, of course, kids and what they need to learn. My book, Raising a Sensory Smart Child, cowritten with Lindsey Biel, was relaunched in September. Over the years, my coauthor and I found that parents, teachers, and professionals who work with kids are most likely to be seeking information on children with hidden issues such as sensory processing disorder in September when school starts. October. Thanks to Halloween, October is a fantastic month paranormal themes whether it’s ghosts, vampires, or witches. If your novel is the next Twilight, October would be a perfect publication month for you.
November. Big books for the fall-the potential blockbusters-come out in September through November, but especially in November due to television ratings “sweeps” that month. TV shows will book celebrities for November to get the best ratings, which determine ad revenue in the coming months. Ever notice that all those bestselling authors do their PBS specials in November? If yours is a smaller book, and you’re not famous, you may wish to avoid November as a publication date. The exception is if your book is on politics or policy that might be discussed around election time. If you are not a celebrity, and your book has nothing to do with politics, don’t even consider a November publication in a major election year! Media attention will be very difficult to procure.
December. Of course, people are talking about Christmas and family in December-but books rarely actually publish in December because if your book isn’t on the shelves by November, it may not make it onto one. Bookstores are so busy around the holidays that your book will probably fall between the cracks and not make it onto the shelf. These are general guidelines-there are exceptions-but it’s very wise to consider what the public’s and media’s mood will be when your book comes out. Take a look at other books that will share the shelf in the bookstore with your own and see if you can figure out their publication date.
Then too, when it comes to handing in your final manuscript, you have to work backward from your publication date. April 1 is about the last date that a publisher wants to hand over to the production department a manuscript for an October book. The publisher needs many months to produce a quality book, and the publicity department wants time to get the galleys to certain publicity outlets and to potential endorsers before the jacket and book are printed up and the book is shipped. If your heart is set on getting your book out quickly, you might want to consider self-publishing instead of going with a traditional publisher. Regardless, pay attention to what month would be best for publication and, if you do end up working with a publisher, make a case for the publication date you believe will most benefit your book.