Saturday, April 23, 2016

Self-Publishing A to Z: Release Dates

Welcome to the Trogloblog--for April, I'm participating in the epic A to Z Blogging Challenge, where Monday through Saturday, I'll be posting a letter-themed article about Self-Publishing...


Before the marketing begins, one of the last steps in actually self publishing your work is determining the release date.When can readers buy your book? Kindle Direct Publishing may arbitrarily pick this for you: once you hit "publish" on the dashboard, it could be two hours, twelve hours or even three days before your book is ready. But there's also the ability to set up a "Pre-Release Date" through KDP. 

Many an indie professes that by having a pre-release day, and a mailing list, you can increase your books ranking the first few days it's out. Basically, you send out an alert to your volunteer spamees that the book will be released on X date. They mark the day on their calendars or pre-order, and you get a rankings boost that day (because rankings are based on how many purchases/downloads you have over a period of time). By being higher-ranked, more people are likely to see your book--remember, the lower ranked you are the longer it would take a browser to find you in Amazon's vast, virtual book store. 

What if you don't have a mailing list or readers? Well, what day of the week you release on can affect your ranking. For the first thirty days after release, you'll feature in "New Release, Last 30 days". Then you drop to "Last 90 days". Most browsers are only going to browse for so long, so that "Last 30 days" sounds pretty good. Many an Indie swears by a regular release schedule--myself included (even if they don't buy this book, they may click on your name and browse your whole catalog).

As you can imagine, the higher your rank within the Last 30 days category, the better. So how can you optimize that? By picking your release day. 

Monday through Thursday has always seemed to be peak purchasing days for me (Supernatural Military Thriller subcategory). I see a huge drop off over the weekend. Many attribute this to folks wanting to go out and enjoy their weekend, rather than staying in with an ebook reader. 

Two schools of thought seem to be out there fro Fridays--first, that folks might buy a book for a weekend trip on a Friday, versus the idea that folks won't buy any books because they're going out Friday night. I suppose the demographic you're writing to really determines that. Younger folks in their twenties are more likely to be going out than 30 somethings with a houseful of kids. 

Like video and game releases, a lot of Indies seem to swear by a Tuesday release. The idea is that on Mondays, people start working and don't browse much (this flies in the face of the whole Cyber Monday sales every Fall). On Tuesday, these folks are back into the work groove and are ready to start browsing and reading. 

If you don't want to compete with bigger names on Tuesdays, you can always release on a Wednesday or Thursday. Personally, I don't see much difference in Monday through Friday sales, but your mileage may vary...

One last note: Holidays. If you are releasing a Halloween themed book, release it in the early build up to Halloween, in late September or October. Waiting until the end of the month cuts into your sales days. Doesn't matter if you are New in Last 30 days in November, as by then people may have moved on to the impending Christmas Season. With any holiday, factor in the seasonal dates when deciding when to release. 

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