Many writers I work with have a recurring concern. When I ask them, when do you think you want to publish this latest by, they usually say they want to get published the same year, or in the next few months or sometimes as soon as possible.
However, what they fail to tell me is why should it be published as soon as possible or even what will happen if it wasn't out by their desired publication month?
The next thing I do is to encourage them to think about the topicality of the book. 'Do you imagine the media waiting to hear about your book?' Is it that relevant? If so, will they continue to talk about it for weeks since the release or months? If not, how will you compel the publisher and the media to review your book amongst several hundred competing ideas? Most authors realize the job to talk about their book, i.e., marketing rests on them, hence the question. If you are thinking, it is the job of the X or Y to convince, you are likely underestimating your job. It is your copy, especially the book proposal that does the convincing and that's not on anyone but you.
In fact, you can take charge of your book, by answering a simple question. When is the best time to publish my title?
Each book is different and hence, the answer varies as per the needs of the book and author. A book about personal experiences has little topical relevance, so you can publish it anytime. If you have a personal anniversary in mind, by all means, target it accordingly. Naturally, this approach cannot work for fiction, especially genre fiction and also serious nonfiction.
Let's take two specific examples. Imagine two authors. The first has written a book on the sustainable lifestyle of nomadic tribe in a desert state in Rajasthan and the other has written a futuristic romance drama. Both want to publish their book asap. You will agree that readers are not dying to read their book or any book, unless of course they literally are, in which case, it is likely it is a very successful book. You get the point, right?
How should they decide when is the best time to publish their title? That depends on when are the target readers hoping and expecting to read a title like yours.
Imagine you are the author of the futurist romance, ask yourself if readers of this genre or related genres spend more time reading in a particular month? Could you do a survey among a group online? You can also find out on the basis of the books released in this genre in the last few weeks. A simple online research of the market of your genre and subgenre is the most useful but often ignored step to understand what's the best time to launch your book.
Once you understand the need and/or desire your book fulfills in the market, you are better placed to answer the best time to publish it. It is possible that you are happy getting published and the sales are not connected to your income or even reputation, then you can get it published anytime. In such a case, you can make your life easier by prioritizing other things as opposed to the date or month of publication.
If you are the author of the said non-fiction book, imagine that there is an event that can be the talking point for the book. Will that help you get a few media outlets to cover the book? If the event happens at the end of every year, will you publish it accordingly? How will visibility and sales get affected if you published it way too early or later? When is your target reader most likely to want to read and/or talk about the said topic and event? The questions you ask, hence, should help find out what's the best for your book.
5 things to know if you are getting published traditionally
Modern human beings are used to quick results. Authors are not any different. If you want the pride and prestige that comes with the reputation of a big publishing house, then you must understand that there are rules and processes to be followed.
· In the case your book has been accepted, the publisher can take up to 18 months to publish the book. The number of months is usually stipulated in the contract.
· If you have an agent, this can be discussed and negotiated but the latter is rare.
· As mentioned before, if your book is topical or solves a problem that is urgent, then your desire to get published sooner is more likely to be met within reasonable limits.
· For the majority of authors, getting published with the biggies can be a long-drawn process. Hence, it is good to know how much time it takes beforehand because a huge part of making art is waiting. While some of it is necessary, often it can get extremely taxing.
· You must have clear communication skills with the publisher’s editor and/or the agent who is representing you to understand the time and the reason it takes the same. After all, the stakeholders want only what’s best for the book, including agents, publishers and editors.