2020 seems to have been an un-darned, stinky sock made patchwork quilt of a year – stale, yet oddly nostalgic, making people long for a normality that already seems like distant childhood…
And for the publishing community this is as true as for anywhere else.
With more hours at home we have seen a rise in indie authors this year, for better or worse, and for the kindle and self-publishing market especially, this has meant a flood of new authors vying for our attention.
But what does this mean for traditional publishing or more importantly, what does this mean for you? As an upcoming prospective author, how are you going to stand out and make sure your light shines brighter then everyone else’s? After all, there used to be times and strategies that you could put into place…and yet 2020 seems to be just a free for all.
Well, not to worry. There is still some rhyme and reason to book launches, not least of which is actually finishing your book and getting a good copy editor. The date and time you choose to publish (traditional or indie) is also a key element in the process.
For instance, those working with a traditional publisher might be familiar with the phrase ‘Super Thursday’. I personally was reminded about this time of year when I recently read an article called ‘Counting the Costs’ by Piers Blofeld (in Writing Magazine October Issue), which reminded the reader that there are several traditional times when publishers seek to better their competition and release their most endearing works of the year.
This tradition has led to certain days being popular for an authors new releases, with Super Thursday being the biggest release date of the year. This Thursday often falls in October (though there is one in March as well, usually around Mother’s Day) as publishing house vie for their author to be on the number one hot spot for Christmas sales.
And while pinpointing the exact Thursday in October isn’t always a true science, usually a quick Google search will grace you with a date, though, like everything this year, it will yield you with confusion for 2020. Given the current climate and state of things, the popular approach this year seems to be a string of ‘mini super Thursdays’ throughout September and October.
However, if your manuscript is anything but polished or you’re still gearing up to get some work done during NaNoWriMo, then don’t fear. There are still some guideline dates to help you on your way to publishing success, and if you’re not ready just yet, there is always next year.
According to Blofeld’s article January and February are still quite times for publishing. This is usually a good time to self-publish a debut novel as already established authors tend to wait it out until the autumn months in final bid for Christmas sales. The end of December and beginning of January is also a good time to publish if you write any sort of self-help book, as this is usually when people look to make a change in their lives, what with New Years Resolutions and all.
A lot of indie authors still follow the mantra of publishing on a Tuesday as this is often when traditional publishing houses will launch new books (shipping and logistics all come into it, but I won’t go into that here), whilst the weather/season can also play its part. For instance, colder months tend to see a rise in book sales, with Thrillers and Horrors being seen on the shelves more around Halloween and Chick Lit and easy reads taking up sales space prior to summer holidays and trips abroad.
However, one thing is true through out all of this and that is, you are more likely to gain better sales and repute if your book is worthy of publication prior to you hoping on KDP. As with anything worth doing, writing your book well and then focusing on your release dates and marketing, is a key to author success. Too many new authors fail to sell their debut because they worry to much about getting it done and out there that they never stop to see the common pit falls in their manuscript.
And whilst it is true that getting in done if rather more important then making it perfect (in the first round of edits that is) having a book worthy of reading is still the end result every author should bank for.
My best advice here is thus – if you are aiming for Super Thursday sales and haven’t quite made your schedule, best to re-schedule and work on your story for next year and launch then. If you finish it perfectly, you can always start on a new project and focus on building hype for your release rather then pushing something sub-par out that will meet the critics with ill-fate.
Do you know what the major pitfalls in self-publishing are? If not, would you like an article about them? Let me know in the comments below.
This article is not affiliated with any of these resources in anyway, though the author does hold stock and is a subscriber to Writing Magazine, she has received no endorsement for the creation of this post, which is for education and entertainment purposes only.