When is the best time to release your business book?
I’m often asked by prospective authors, ‘When is the best time to release my business book?’
IngramSpark, the online publishing platform, offers a month-by-month overview of which books to publish and when. Their advice is flawed, because it is written for northern-hemisphere markets. Australia’s back-to-school time is not September and our ‘Summer reads’ aren’t popular in August! However, we do agree that Christmas will most likely NOT be the best time of year to release your book. Why?
Almost all authors think ‘Christmas! Wouldn’t everyone want to receive my business book among their Christmas gifts?’ Well, no. According to buying habits at Christmas time, people give fiction written by popular authors, biographies about their favourite sports stars or celebrities and cookbooks for Christmas; and, of course, children’s books in an effort to get their little darlings off their screens for a few hours.
So, it is these types of books that booksellers stock on their bulging shelves from October onwards in the hope of enticing the Christmas buyers. In fact, some stores will cut down the space they allocate to business books to make space for their Christmas titles. In short, November and December are not the best months to release your business book.
End of financial year is a double-edged sword
May and June can be great months to release your business book. Many people are coming to the end of their financial year. This is a time when they review the year that was and plan for the next twelve months. They are looking for leadership books written by reputable authors on how to improve their culture, how to work better in teams, how to get that next promotion/new job. Or perhaps they need advice on their personal finances. Tax time is coming up and they need ideas on how to invest their tax refund.
Some organisations have budgets that they have to spend before the end of the financial year, so they may have the spare cash to upgrade the company library or buy books to educate their teams. Business books are often tax deductible, so readers can claim a deduction to the value of the purchase price.
On the downside, many bookstores like to stock take and reduce their stock holdings at the end of the financial year. To do this, they often reduce prices and promote books that they want to get rid of. You don’t want your new book to accidentally find itself on the remainder tables!
Father’s Day could be good
July, August and September are good months to release a business book, as they stay around for Father’s Day. A business book for Dad can be a welcome Father’s Day gift. To make the Father’s Day store catalogs you will have to have your book printed in July as the catalogs run throughout August and September.
Major Street is well known for its bestselling property books. September is a good time to release property investment books as it ties in with the Spring property market, a popular time to list properties for sale.
New year, new year
Another great time to launch your business book is the first quarter of the calendar year – not January as this is sale time, but February and March when people focus again on work and self-improvement as they set goals for the year ahead.
April has a lot of public holidays with Easter and Anzac Day and school holidays, so planning a book launch can be fraught at this time, with many people on leave. And bookstores are stocked for Mother’s Day in mid-May (think cook books and novels).
You’ve written your book, how quickly can you get it out into the marketplace?
‘I’ve finished my manuscript (in say July) and I’d like the book out by September.’ How realistic is this?
Although it is possible to edit, design, proof and print a 200-page book in around three months, this doesn’t mean we can achieve this schedule very often – if at ever! Why? Because our reps sell new releases to bookstores three-months ahead of publication. So, when your book is written in July, our reps are already selling in October new releases, which have already been in production for a few months. At Major Street we offer quite quick turnarounds (usually less than six months), but larger publishers may have their publishing schedules locked in 12 months ahead.
I hope this blog answers some questions prospective authors may have. I’m always happy to have a chat if you are considering writing a business book. Just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org