I think alot about choosing the right publication date for a book.
As I keep saying, Bard Press only publishes one book a year, so that gives us the luxury of the entire calendar from which to choose.
First, I consider whether there is a time of year where people are thinking more about the subject I want to publish. The traditionally strong launch months for business books are September and January. At the start of fall, people are coming off summer break, the new school year invokes new starts, and many are heading into strategic planning. Decisions during that planning can often lead to bulk purchases in the next year.
At the start of the New Year, readers have often taken stock in their year-end reflections and come into January thinking about everything they personally want to accomplish and new resolutions they want to keep. So, I always think of the big picture / organization in the fall and individual / personal in the New Year.
There are specific subjects that can get more thought-space during certain times of the year. March is the biggest month for personal finance just ahead of the tax deadline in the US, followed by January and all the new goals people set. Real estate home buying tends to get lots of attention in late spring to early summer and can drive purchases on associated titles. I did some work on a book a couple years ago that was about improving conversations in relationships and the only 2023 publication date from my standpoint was Tuesday February 14, 2023.
On a smaller scale, I always ask authors if there is an industry event that might create a good window for their book launch. This normally creates speaking opportunities for the author and puts them in front of the large group of people who are looking for inspiration and new ideas. For my partner and client Keller-Williams, we time book launches around their Family Reunion event in January or Mega Agent Camp in August. When I worked with Gene Kim and IT Revolution, we either previewed or launched books at our DevOps Enterprise events in May and October.
The final thing I think about is the bestseller lists. I am going to write another post about bestsellers this month, but for this topic of publication date, I am looking to see if there are windows of time where you might launch a book with less competition to make the Wall Street Journal or New York Times bestseller lists. First, if there is a window that can work well for your book, you can take some of the uncertainty out of whether the book will make the list. Second, and even more important, if you can find windows of lower book sales, you are naturally competing with less titles for audience attention, retail display space, and media coverage. I will also say that there are title launches where timing is more important than anything else and we’ll put a book out to capture the highest reader attention.
When Everyone Leads in an interesting case. We originally planned to launch the book in September 2022. We felt, as a leadership title, it was a good book for the fall season. Like many books last year, we ended up being affected by paper shortages and constrained capacity at book printers. Shortly after placing our order, we got word that the delivery date would push to November.
That left us the question of when to establish the new publication date for When Everyone Leads. The authors and their organization, the Kansas Leadership Center, start training programs in February and they wanted the book to be available to all of their 2023 attendees. That eliminated moving it further out into 2023. I looked at January and saw upcoming titles and historically strong selling weeks during those opening weeks of the year, with a growing trend of big launches happening later into January and early February.
Our final decision was to move to Tuesday, January 31st. Tuesday is the traditional day that new books are launched in book publishing and when stores add new titles to their shelves. For almost everyone in retail and distribution, they consider this a February release. Our promotion with airport retailer Hudson Bookseller is for February, March and April. When Everyone Leads will have a launch week of January 30, 2023 and most bestseller lists are weekly, but some are monthly and we’ll have an entire month of sales to report into those outlets.
There is so much energy that goes into the launch of a book. Make sure to give careful thought to how a particular date might provide even more energy to the launch.