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This morning, a client e-mailed to ask me for the best publishing dates. He’s planning a book launch for 2015 and asked what I recommend for his book launch dates.
It’s such an important question and one that has some simple answers as well as more intricacies.
Many of my clients write self-help and how-to books, books about healthy living and healing. One of the best times to publish a self-help book or self-improvement book is in January when people are thinking about “turning over a new leaf” and adopting healthy habits for the new year. Another good time for such a book, particularly one about learning new skills is September, when people are in back to school mode. If your book is experiential and designed like a mini-course, Fall can be an especially good fit. Fall can also be a good fit for a book that deals with back-to-school issues.
If you can tie your book into a holiday, this may trump the usual publishing timing. You may want to launch your book about mothers and daughters just before Mothers Day (although you can certainly launch sooner and just be sure to include a PR campaign around that holiday). A book about a specific health issue might coincide with Healthy Heart Month in February, National Autism Awareness Month in April or Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Of course, you’ll want to get press releases and review copies to the media months before that.
The best publishing date for a dating book or marriage/relationship book might be in February to coincide with Valentines Day. And, one of the most successful times to launch a book is during the holiday season when people are shopping for gifts. Books that lend themselves to Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or other December celebrations should have a release date in October or November, and can ship even earlier.
Of course, you don’t need to wait for the holiday or special month for your launch–you can send press releases out during those times. However, it’s always good to launch during the time you expect to get the most press. Consider how much of a boost the particular event or celebration will give to your particular book.
Note that if you are self-publishing, you will need to plan for your book to ship to stores four weeks before the official publication date (called “pub date” in the publishing industry).
Now, you may not be a fan (or even believer) of astrology, but I would also suggest considering mercury direct as an auspicious time for a book launch and mercury retrograde as dates to avoid. My friend and mentor in such matters, Julia Griffin taught me that Mercury retrograde is considered a time when communication and technology tend abide by Murphy’s Law. When mercury is retrograde, it’s better not to start something new (and although a book launch may seem like wrap up to an author who has spent months or years writing and putting together a book, the book launch is the beginning of a whole new phase of launching the book out into the world).
Julia Griffin says, “Mercury retrograde is not the right time for contacting agents, making plans with agents, or moving ahead. It’s a time of review and completion, not moving forward. Actions initiated during Mercury retrograde tend to go awry. It’s best to wait until Mercury moves direct.”
My own experience with a mercury retrograde publishing date is that things went so wrong, we finally convinced our publisher to reissue the book under a new title and ISBN number with a new cover and different dimensions. So, plan ahead and look up mercury retrograde dates.