You’ve heard of the old adage: location, location, location when planning a successful in person book launch party, but did you also think to study the calendar? There’s a reason why the publishing industry pushes out books in the spring and in the fall—that’s when consumers are ready to stock their shelves, iPads, Kindles and Nooks for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, and of course Christmas and Hanukkah.
As an author you need to develop a retail mindset by studying your readership’s buying patterns as well as your community’s calendar of events. Look outward and never schedule a book launch or book event only if it’s convenient for your schedule.
What’s the best time of year?
When I was figuring out a month to release After the Steaming Stops, my most recent poetry book, I chose April because April is National Poetry Month and I could combine my live events with poetry month events. In late April you can also advertise your book as a Mother’s Day gift. It mostly worked out well, but there are cons with choosing April to launch a book: there’s Easter, it’s tax time, and the weather is unpredictable (although I was very fortunate that for all of my 10 events, the weather was clear and mild). Tip: never, ever have an event on Good Friday.
May through July is not a good time for a book launch because you’ll be running into graduations, Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, vacations, weddings, anniversaries, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.
August is Back to School and where we live in North Carolina, the real start of hurricane season. There always seems to be a big storm the last week of August or the first week of September.
September is Labor Day, football and reunion season. October is North Carolina’s State Fair in Raleigh so for October, I plan out-of-town events (again, know your calendar). There are a lot of weddings planned in September and October here in North Carolina, too. Don’t forget the Jewish High Holidays, too!
Early November may be OK, but don’t plan anything after Nov 15th. You may be able to hone in on the holiday season. I caution against planning any kind of book launch in December because you’re competing with other events, BUT then again, you may be able to bring a lot of folks your way because they need to buy gifts for their loved ones.
So what does that leave us?
January, February and March. Specifically, January 15-March 30
I wouldn’t have a book launch before January 15th since folks don’t have any money and they are tired of partying. After the 15th they’re ready to get out, though. However, consider the weather and the early fall of darkness. Also it’s flu season, so your audience may be stuck at home tending to their sick child.
February is a good month for a book launch, but there’s also unpredictable weather and early darkness. Maybe you can use Valentine’s Day to your advantage with lots of chocolate and wine at your launch—yum!
March is probably the BEST TIME for a book launch—the weather’s better, you have Daylight Savings Time and the only thing you’re competing with is St. Patrick’s Day, pollen season, March Madness, sometimes Easter and college spring break.
What it really comes down to is that if folks want to come to your book launch, they’ll be there, but you can make it easier on them by studying your calendar for trends/holidays and your city’s calendar.
Bottom line: plan ahead, know your customers and be flexible. The calendar is full of obstacles and opportunities—use it to your advantage!
What have I missed? Please share here! Authors: when you held your book launch party, when did you hold it and what did you learn from the experience?