Author Topic: Ideally, how far in advance would you publish and promote "seasonal" books?  (Read 315 times)  

Offline Liadan

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
First, many thanks to everyone here; I've been lurking for about six months and have been greatly helped by your willingness to share what you've learned.

I'm finishing up a couple of nonfiction books that I think could be usefully promoted as graduation / beginning of school purchases.  From your experience both as authors and purchasers of books, how far in advance of a particular "season" do you think it makes sense to begin promoting items? 

Also, is there any drawback you can see to publishing the books before that point, and simply waiting to invest in advertising once the appropriate time of year approaches?

I'd be glad to hear any advice on how you would approach this for fiction as well: for example, if you've done Halloween-specific books or are planning Christmas ones?  I'm just getting started in fiction, but would value knowing as I plan for future years.  Thanks!


Offline ThomasDiehl

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
  • Gender: Male
  • MGladbach, Germany
    • View Profile
I am answering more as a reader. I have not done a book connected to a specific event except for the Jurassic Park title that was published the day before Jurassic World started in US cinemas and even then, that was because I could not include Jurassic World itself before I had seen it myself (thank the powers that be for timezones and movies starting a day early in europe).
But yeah, sometimes circumstances force a very specific timeline.

In general, I think there are such and such events.
Major holidays like Christmas, Halloween, to a lesser extend Thanksgiving and Easter tend to get stretched into a season starting about a month before the holiday itself comes around. In those cases I'd say promote about a month early to cover all of the season. Also, do not wait for the holiday itself to publish, people might grow impatient or even tired of the month-long holiday.
Books for graduation/beginning of school, for vacations and any other event that tends to involve a lot of planning should go here imho.

Then there are holidays that only encompass the day they happen. New Year, important birthdays and most national holidays (Fourth of July for the US) go here. I do think, teasing the book a few weeks before works well, but the main event is the book launch tying in to the day in question.
In general, days hardly anybody notices unless they happen to be the then-current or next day should go here.
New Year's Eve could look a little out of place here, but it happens a mere week after Christmas, rendering a month-long promo and publication pointless because anything non-Christmassy overlapping the Christmas season is likely to be ignored.
All Hail the King series: 4%

How the Rain Gets In: 21%
English Blog | German Blog

Offline Liadan

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Thanks, Thomas!  The categories you suggested are helpful for thinking about this, especially the idea of looking at whether the book is tied to an event that tends to involve a lot of advance planning.  Graduation and heading to university would definitely fit that category.

For nonfiction / self-help, New Year's Day would be the only "one day" holiday you mentioned that could also tie into advance promotion, I think.  I'm not sure if it's just a United States tradition, but here some people make New Year's resolutions involving plans for self-improvement (which most of us break by early February  :)

Offline ThomasDiehl

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
  • Gender: Male
  • MGladbach, Germany
    • View Profile
For nonfiction / self-help, New Year's Day would be the only "one day" holiday you mentioned that could also tie into advance promotion, I think.  I'm not sure if it's just a United States tradition, but here some people make New Year's resolutions involving plans for self-improvement (which most of us break by early February  :) )
At least in Germany, we do that too, and as far as I know, so does the UK.
However, I am in awe by anybody who manages to keep their resolutions all January ;-)
All Hail the King series: 4%

How the Rain Gets In: 21%
English Blog | German Blog