When is the best time to release a new book?

I have no idea, so when scheduling a preorder date, I usually just pick a round number far enough in the future that I feel I can make the upload date without dying of stress. I have come to believe it’s impossible to schedule a preorder date too far in advance. I’m feeling time pressure for INVICTUS now and it’s only July. Two months to go! It doesn’t seem like enough time. Of course technically I only have to get INVICTUS: CAPTIVE ready to go by Sept 11th, but I will feel pretty uncomfortable if I don’t already have INVICTUS: CRISIS ready as well. I have some revision to do and then there will be as many iterations of proofing as I can fit in. My goal in life — well, no, but a nice bonus — would be someday to release a book where no one catches anything at all.

Anyway, I never know whether it might be better to schedule a new release for, say, Saturday vs Monday or anything like that. I guess if I thought about it, I would think it might be best to drop a new book on the Friday before a long holiday weekend, but the kind of weekend that isn’t too much about family and therefore leaves people looking for something to do. I doubt I will ever put THAT much thought into this, but here is a post at Writers Helping Writers that is about that: When is the Best Time to Release a New Book?

Oh, no, it isn’t about that. Or not only that. It’s mostly about the best time of YEAR to release a new book:

The first quarter of the year is the perfect time of year for business, self-improvement, health, and writing craft books, as people are eager to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Genre fiction also does well in the first quarter. For many of us, the first quarter means terrible weather (I’m in New England). We’re looking for new books to pass the time while stuck indoors. Also, many readers received new tablets, e-readers, or gift cards for gifts. Shiny, new books become irresistible. Peak reading and buying season are very much tied to the weather. February and March are generally good times to release a novel because the weather’s not great. Snow and ice forces readers to browse the web for their next adventure.

I find January and February are months where royalties drop significantly. I haven’t ever managed to schedule a new release for those months — it just hasn’t worked out that way. I have been musing upon the likelihood that I will be able to schedule something to drop maybe the end of January 2024, when people might have recovered from spending a lot during the leadup to Christmas. Not sure, but that seems fairly plausible. If SILVER CIRCLE looks iffy for a December release this year, then maybe January 2024 will be ideal.

Oh, I see this post is saying that December is a terrible time to release a new book. Hmm. Seems like that can’t be true. Look at the Christmas-themed mysteries that come out in December. I often buy one because I like Christmas-themed mysteries. Theresa Romaine has several. I like her novels. They’re generally sexier than I would really prefer, but I like them anyway. I see she has a Christmas mystery I haven’t read. Fine, I’ll pick it up now and hopefully remember it’s there next December, which is a fine time to buy books in my opinion. Anyway, maybe December is a bad time to release some books, or most books. Could be! Maybe January would be good for SILVER CIRCLE even if I think it could be ready by December. We’ll see.

Here’s something mildly funny:

October is a terrific month for horror, thrillers, and mysteries—these genres dominate the marketplace, the darker the better. A cozy mystery or HEA romance may not do well in October. Historical fiction, depending on the subject matter, or dark romance might be all right. Really think about your genre and when you tend to buy books. It will help you understand the best time of year to release your book.

Okay, how about that advice? Think about when YOU tend to buy books! That will help you understand when you should release your book! Is everybody laughing? When is the last time the month mattered to YOU when you bought a book? I mean, seriously? I may not have a lot of time to read right now, but that doesn’t do a thing to stop me from buying books (and, to be fair, downloading samples). Time of year makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever. I buy books when —

–Someone here recommends a book

–An author I love drops a new book

–Someone emails me to recommend a book

–I happen to be on Twitter and someone recommends a book in exactly the right way to catch my eye

It would do no one any good at all to look at MY book buying habits. But fine, moving on. How about day of the week? Looks like the linked post thinks that early in the week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — work better than later in the week! I had no idea. Oh, that seems to matter only if you’re trying to hit bestseller lists. Never mind, I don’t care. Ah, early in the month for the same reason. Fine, maybe I will try to shift to earlier in the month eventually.

Oh, yes, I can see how that might help! I wasn’t thinking of this particularly, but you know how to get a bonus from KU? By having enough pages read in one month. I think it’s four million and change, which is way above what I’m going to see per month even this month, but I can see that dropping a book on the first of the month would certainly make that more plausible if you’ve got any chance at all. Hmm, now I’m wondering if TASMAKAT might have gotten a single-title bonus if I’d dropped it at the beginning of the month? Well, I’ll see what I can do with that in the future.

One final note from this post:

But if you’re releasing series novels and your readers are foaming at the mouth, you may want to publish as soon as they’re ready, regardless of the date.

We’ll go with that: a hope that readers are foaming at the mouth and planning to leap on your book with cries of joy the moment it drops, including the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year.

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14 thoughts on “When is the best time to release a new book?”

  1. Yes, that’s a little ridiculous to think of, for book lovers like your readers that read all the time. I do think a lot of books are released in November and also March (eg Patricia Briggs used to release a book every March). Incidentally, Beth Brower is releasing her new book Aug 29. Interestingly, she is monetizing her monthly newsletter- you pay to subscribe, and she will send you very short stories and letters a lot like what you are putting in the World Companion. Darn Apple Pay makes it too easy to subscribe! You should think about doing it too!

  2. Interesting, Alison! I think I won’t try anything like charging for the newsletter until it has a lot more subscribers — and until I’m very sure I can definitely include extras in every single newsletter.

    It sounds like she’s using it like a Patreon, which is another thing I haven’t looked at, but someday ought to.

  3. I usually receive books as gifts, so around the holidays. Buying for myself usually happens in the summer months. It’s probably pretty person (and even book)-dependent!

  4. I’ve heard it said that December is bad because most of the book buying is for gifts. For those, people want books they know already.

  5. It’s interesting that releasing a book early in the week improves its chances of hitting the bestseller lists. That explains why the fairly popular trad-published books I preorder tend to drop on Tuesdays. I had wondered about that.

    It seems like many of the Christmas romances go up in November rather than waiting for December.

    I am with you, that I grab a book whenever it catches my eye. But I have the financial privilege at this point to do that. There were certainly times when I was more likely to buy something after gift-giving occasions when someone had given me a gift card. Or in a 3-paycheck month.

  6. OtterB, I never got enough gift cards to matter, but I certainly used to just not buy books. There were exactly two authors whose books I’d buy in hardcover back in the day. One was CJ Cherryh and the other was Patricia McKillip. I couldn’t afford to buy that many books and definitely not that many hardcovers.

    Come to think of it, that may be why seeing the marketing guy announce that price doesn’t influence book purchases took me so very much aback. Dude, yes it does. I definitely spent many years not buying hardcovers and being really thoughtful about paperbacks. Now ebooks have upended all that and I’m confident many, many readers hesitate to buy anything in paper because the ebook is, or should be, a quarter the price.

  7. Kim Aippersbach

    I am most likely to spend money on new-to-me authors when I’m about to head out on a trip and need to load up my Kindle with new reading material. So if anyone wants to try predicting when I travel, go ahead!

  8. BTW, it looks like Sharon Shine is coming out with a new book in her Elemental Blessings series in November!!

  9. It’s not on her site, or amazon or her facebook – where’d you hear about it? I’m curious who the new leading lady is.

  10. Well, I was foaming for Tasmakat, if that helps. I’m about 25% through and LOVING it and you’ve got me freaking out because the emotional tension is racheting up. But you also managed to drop that on a long weekend… at least for me! Matariki; the Maori New Year, 3-day weekend, shifts around like Easter depending on when the Pleiades reappear in the sky (as opposed to the moon phase and Jewish month like I think Easter is).

  11. Heather, (a) great, thanks for letting me know, and (b) wow, I now seriously must work in some sort of holiday or event where the timing depends on when a certain constellation of stars appears in the sky. That would be entirely reasonable in the starlit lands! *Makes a note.*

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