Sunday, August 5, 2012

When's the Best Time of Year to Release a Book?

I had a recent conversation with a fellow author about the best time of year to release a book. Years ago, I remember thinking in terms of specific times of year, but stopped focusing on that and simply went along with the dates that my publishers had set. But because I'm re-releasing titles and debuting a few ebook novellas, lately I have found this conversation to be very interesting.

I was told that the summer months are not as good for sales, as a lot of people are going on vacation, attending weddings and family reunions, putting kids in summer camp - thus there are tighter reins on finances during the summer months. Also, December can be a concern because readers are spending money on Christmas, though there is a tendency for readers to buy books as gifts, so it's a toss up.

An editor told me that the best times of year are fall and spring. Also, specifically February and March work well. Plus if the weather is bad, more readers tend to shut-in with a good book,whatever month that might end up being.

I suppose it just depends on the title and how bad a reader wants to buy it. I have author friends whose books came out this summer, and are doing very well, and some who always have January releases that do well, too. I have titles pubbing in December 2012, February 2013, and May 2013. In the ten years that I've contracted with various mainstream publishers, none of them have ever scheduled my book releases in the summer months (perhaps just a coincidence). Publishers do try and stick with a specific release month for each author, and readers seem to make note of that particular month when it comes to their favorite writers.

Do you consider the time of year as it relates to your book releases? Which time of year works best for you as far as sales, or does it not seem to matter one bit? Right now with ebooks, I think a lot of self-pubbed authors are posting their titles as soon as the books are done.

I know that publishers put a lot of thought into the subject, though I'm not certain the time of year matters as much as a reader's burning desire for the title. Interesting though!

Write on!


Charles Gramlich said...

Since my regular job keeps me pretty busy during the school year, only the summer is really available for me to promote my work. Whether it is released then or not.

Anonymous said...

Interesting read. I'll certainly consider the advice because I plan to release my novel this year.

William Doonan said...

You got me thinking, Marissa. To be honest, I've never given much thought to finding a best time to release a book. Like Charles, I'm busier during the school year so I get more done in the summer.

But I do wonder if it really matters. In any case, it's definitely something I'll be thinking about as I plan the releases of my next two novels: 'The Vampires of Arbor Day,' and 'Daylight Savings Time/Daylight Dying Time.'

Sunny Frazier said...

This idea of the best time to release a book was driven by Big Publishing. Their staff takes time off in the summer to get away from New York City heat. With publishers spread out over the country, it doesn't play a part anymore. Also, an author can't control when the house puts out a book. That is something that happens at whatever pace the publisher is working.

While readers may shop for summer reads, the time to promote is 24/7 and at every opportunity.

Liane Spicer said...

I've read that fall is prime time to release, but like someone upstream said, that was all very much tied in with the mainstream publishing model.

Would love to see some statistics on this, but there are so many variables at play now it must be difficult to figure out the impact of the release date alone on sales figures.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Charles, WIlliam, Sunny, Liane and anonymous - it is something to think about. Anything that'll help sales. I didn't know some publishers who shut down for the summer. Mine shuts down from mid-Dec. until early Jan. Thanks all for your comments. Write on!

bettye griffin said...

Marissa, when I was traditionally published I always thought I was relegated to the less prime months of the year...usually November, December, January, and March. My third book was scheduled for February (always a good month for romance because of Valentine's Day), my fifth for August (my only summertime release), and my tenth and last book for them in May. All the others were in dreary cold winter months. I used to feel a little like I hadn't been invited to the party, LOL! But now that I'm indie published, it doesn't matter when my book comes out.

I just released a book, my first summer release since book #3, but it has serious file problems via Amazon U.S. in that the price suddenly disappeared and now it's just sitting there with a prodct page unable to be ordered because there is no price...and now I'm wondering if summer releases for me are jinxed...

Eugenia O'Neal said...

Bettye - I had that problem, too. The price just disappeared but when I contacted Amazon they said they could see it and a friend in the US said he could see it, too. The problem had to be for my location since books are priced differently for non-US buyers apparently.