Publishing Plans and Release Schedules

By Cecilia Lewis

illustration-of-books-pvOne of the benefits of self-publishing is that you, the author, have the ability to schedule the book’s release yourself. Unlike traditional publishing, where it typically takes 18 months for a book to be published, indie authors can release books much faster. But is there such a thing as releasing too fast? How quickly should you put your novel up for sale? Should you put it up immediately, or delay the release? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option:

  1. Release immediately

One advantage of releasing your book immediately seems obvious: the sooner you put it up for sale, the sooner you can start earning money from it. If this is a priority for you, then releasing as soon as possible may also be important.

But there are other benefits, too. If readers are eagerly anticipating the next book, a quick release schedule for each book will keep them happy. Plus, releasing more books in a shorter period ensures that readers don’t forget about you. Seeing new releases from you frequently will keep your books at the forefront of readers’ minds.

However, releasing multiple books quickly might also overwhelm your readers, who can’t keep up with multiple books in one year. Also, publishing quickly means you don’t have as much time for promotion. Many authors spend six months or more on publicity and promotion before the release. You might want that time to launch marketing campaigns and build anticipation for the book.

  1. Delaying release

Delaying the release of your book(s) has several advantages. Having a coordinated release schedule can be very helpful, especially for series. For example, if you’ve just released a prequel novella earlier in the month, you might want to wait to release the next novel, even if it’s ready to go. Delaying release ensures that you have enough time to adequately promote both books and build up readers’ anticipation. It also prevents your readers from feeling overwhelmed by the number of releases.

Also, if you’re writing a series, it might be helpful to delay release of the first book in order to give you more lead time on the next books in the series. If you know it takes a year and half to prepare each book, but you want to release them a year apart, then you’ll need to delay the publication of Book 1 until you’ve had a head start writing Book 2.

However, delaying release also has disadvantages. An author who only releases one book every five years runs the risk that readers will have moved on. This is especially a problem for children’s authors; the eleven-year-olds reading your middle grade series right now may be moving on to young adult books in two years, and might not be interested in reading a younger series anymore.

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Obviously, there are no right answers here. The best path for each indie author will depend on their personal goals and priorities. If you’re just planning to release one book, or you need to start earning money right away, then an immediate release might be best for you. But if you’re investing in a long-term series and are willing to wait for proceeds, then delaying publication may work best for you. What’s right for one author may not work for another. Understanding the pros and cons of each option can help you make the best decision for your career.

What do you think? Do you prefer to release right away, or delay publication? What are the pros and cons I missed? Do you prefer authors to release books frequently or infrequently? Let me know in the comments!

Interested in professional editorial services for your manuscript? Check out my Services page for more information about what I offer.

This post is part of my Self-Publishing Series. For more information about self-publishing, check out the other posts in the series here, and follow the blog to see future posts!

Related Links:

-Email Newsletters for Authors: 7 Tips for Getting Started

-7 Tips for Ebook Marketing

-Comparing Book Giveaway Promotions

-7 Marketing Tips for Self-Published Authors

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