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Is There a ‘Best Time’ to Start a Book Publicity Campaign?

by Dan Smith

If you ask ten book marketing experts “when is the best time to start my book publicity campaign” or “what’s the optimal time to promote my book,”you’ll likely get at least five variations of answers to these questions.

We routinely hear from clients in November who have a book ready to go, but don't know when to release it. Is publishing and promoting a book in November a bad idea? Will a book get lost in the holidays?

I believe the impact of the holiday season (starting mid November through the New Year) can often be overblown as it relates to a book launch and publicity. Keep this in mind: Just like launching a new product, it’s always prudent to find a time when the competition is reduced.

Because fewer books are released in early December, this might be a good time to launch yours. Remember that the media world doesn't disappear around the holidays. Business magazines are still covering business topics; book reviewers are still reviewing books; producers of radio and TV shows still need guests, etc.

So, launching your book and book marketing campaign before the holidays might be something to consider. Minimally, think about getting a campaign up and running and the book in the hands of some media before the holiday week, take a short break during the Christmas to New Year’s holiday week, and then keep things rolling along after New Year’s.

The same principle applies to summer. This season is often considered taboo for releasing a book or starting a book publicity campaign.

Well, again, think about it.  Does your local newspaper cease publication in the summer? Does your favorite talk radio station go on hiatus? Do all TV shows disappear for a few months in the summer? Obviously, the answer to these questions is a resounding "no!" 

With the exception of most of the national daytime talk TV shows, virtually every other form of media still has airtime or column inches to fill around the holidays. Often, producers or editors are scrambling to find fodder for interviews or articles.  At Smith Publicity, we routinely secure some of our biggest media "hits" for clients during the holiday season and in summer.

The topic or genre of your book cancome into play when making the decision to publish and promote. I recently received a call from an author with a very interesting book about baseball, and he said “I want to release and have you guys promote my booknow!” I advised him to absolutely wait until after the new year, release his book in late January, and do a run-up publicity campaign to coincide with the start of baseball spring training.

So, if you're nearing completion or are ready to publish and stressing over when to start your publicity campaign ... don't.  If you're ready for a mid November or early December release, go for it. If it makes sense to wait, then wait.

Just do your due diligence, assess whether your specific book is better suited for a certain time of year to be released, and if it isn’t, fire away when ready!

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