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Indie authors: Your Pub Date is Not As Important as You Think

11 October 2017

From Writer Unboxed:

The pub date: THE big day of an author’s life, right? All of the toiling, editing, revising and decision-making comes down to a fateful 24 hours — a speck on the calendar, but a very important speck.

Or so they say. But that’s not necessarily the case, at least, not for us indie authors.

We hear a lot about the all-important pub date as authors, but it’s important to parse whom the pub date really matters to and why. For traditionally published authors, a book’s success can largely hinge on early sales. Much attention is given to garnering pre-orders in hopes of pushing a book onto a bestseller list during release week and encouraging retailers to order more books.

For an indie pre-orders and a strong launch matter too. But an indie can and should imagine the book’s launch as one among several, long-term opportunities.

There are a number of reasons for this. First, indie authors have the advantage of focusing on one single title or set of titles: our own. Unlike publishers, who may be juggling many dozens of titles each season, we indies can put all of our energy and attention into the books we have written and published. Often, publishers place disproportionate emphasis on the pub date because with dozens of titles to manage, that date provides them with a logical point for turning their attention and resources to  the next book.

Second, our overall marketing and sales model is different. We aren’t worried about strong pre-sales enticing booksellers to buy large quantities of our books because we aren’t able to penetrate the bookstore market anyway. Instead, we have direct access to our readers and therefore can largely bypass bookstore sales in favor of online or direct sales.

. . . .

I did everything necessary to help my novel hit an Amazon bestseller list around its pub date, but that did not pan out. It was only months later, after I ran a discount promo on Amazon with a hook about Comicon, blasted it all over social media, and combined that with a few online ads that sales began really taking off and I hit the coveted best-seller ranking!

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Self-Publishing

3 Comments to “Indie authors: Your Pub Date is Not As Important as You Think”

  1. I admit, I want to release my next WWI alt-history on Nov. 11 or as close to it as possible. Because this volume includes the armistice and the next year or so. But that’s one date, with a special resonance for this specific book.

  2. I feel like some of this advice is good, but the majority of it is out of date. Blog tours were briefly a thing but they passed quickly. Setting up an online community without anything to offer them but the promise of future work? That isn’t likely to help many people (some might pull it off). Book signings at bookstores? Not likely going to happen (again, some authors do this) but the big stores don’t care about you and the little ones actively dislike you for selling ebooks. This is a mishmash of trad pub author advice with a dabble of indie advice circa 2012. Of course, some writers do hit it big months after their book comes out. Some writers even make millions. Writers can’t count on that. The majority of your money is going to come in the first three months (most likely) because that is when your book is shiny and new (especially on Amazon). Not doing everything you can to make the biggest splash possible when you have the advantage is a foolish strategy. Especially if it is your first book. As with all writing advice ymmv, but I would think long and hard before not putting everything you’ve got into a launch.

  3. You get extra visibility on Amazon during the first 30 days – Hot New Releases etc. – plus it’s a formative time in the algos’ assessment of your book’s potential, I can’t see any good argument for not really pushing the book in this period. You get extra benefits to any juice you can supply.

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