In today’s guest post Marika Flatt, founder of PR by the Book, shares her wisdom about choosing your pub date and planning ahead for publicity.
This blog post is for all you authors out there who are self-publishing, now or in the future! Let’s start with the big picture. There is a reason why it takes so long for the publishing process to roll out with publishing houses. It’s not unusual for there to be an 18-month window (or longer) between a publisher accepting a manuscript and the publication date. There are a myriad of reasons why this is. So much has to be done: editing, cover design, more editing, seeding the distribution pipeline, sales meetings, more editing, printing galleys (also called ARCs/ advanced review copies), etc.
The publicity department starts working on a title approximately six months prior to the pub date. The reason for this is because they want to send galleys to publications that are book review publications, industry publications (for that topic, such as education magazines) and national media outlets (such as national TV programs). This process takes time. And, for six months leading up to pub date, the publicists are pitching, pitching, pitching (and lunching with producers for national TV shows).
So, self-published authors . . . what’s the big hurry? I talk to one or two authors per week who tell me that their pub (publication) date is this month or next month and what can we do?? First of all, you don’t want your pub date to ever be in November or December (unless it’s a holiday book). Don’t get me wrong. Publicists stay busy during November and December, but not on books that are releasing those months. So, why?
The publishing industry has two big time frames for releasing books: the Fall (primarily September and October) and the Spring (primarily March and April). There are a few other months that are popular for releasing books, depending on genres/ topics: January for New Year’s resolution-oriented titles: February for relationship books and books from African-American authors since it’s Black History Month; May and June for beach reads, etc.