How to Choose a Date to Release a Book
Four questions to ask yourself before you set your book’s release date. Includes summary of IngramSpark and KDP timelines for proofing and a list of 6 issues that require advanced planning.
How to Choose a Date to Release a Book

How to Choose a Date to Release a Book

Release date, launch date, and publication date all mean the same thing: the date your book may be purchased by the public. Prior to this date, your book will be in one of three states:

  1. Unavailable and not publicized anywhere.
  2. Available for pre-order. The public can place orders, but the book will not be delivered until on or shortly after the release date.
  3. Promoted online on websites and social media as coming soon or available on the release date.

Why thoughtfully choosing your book’s release date is important

The period of time before a book is released is usually the most valuable marketing period. Once the book is released, it gradually becomes “old news.” Book marketing before the release date is called pre-release marketing.

Generally speaking, 30–90 days is an ideal amount of time you should schedule for pre-release marketing. Too much time, and the public tires of the marketing or forgets the news. Too little time, and with the amount of work that can be done, the author becomes exhausted, trying to accomplish all they want to do.

Four questions to ask before you set your book’s release date

All four of these have to do with the production phase of your book and how this relates to your pre-release marketing efforts. The key message here is slow down. Unlike adjusting a marketing tactic, changing your book after it is published can be expensive, and in some cases, impossible.

1. What elements of your book depend on other people?

Are you planning to include a foreword or index? A foreword is written by someone other than the author, and your foreword writer needs time to read your book. If you know the person well, they may be able to review a summary or early draft. If you don’t, you’ll want to make sure your manuscript is as perfect as it can be—edited, formatted for easy reading, proofed, and so on.

Again depending on the person you are approaching, writing a foreword might take a week or it might take months, and that’s after they have agreed to consider writing it. Start this as soon as you have a completed manuscript.

Creating indexes and compiling information for an appendix adds additional time. Indexes are especially tricky because your indexer needs to see a perfectly paginated book in order to add those page numbers to the index terms. Once they create the index, it might be expensive to make further changes to the text.

And like a foreword writer, your preferred indexer might not be immediately available.

2. Are blurbs (testimonials) important to marketing your book?

We all want paragraphs of praise for the back of our book, the online sales page, and inside the front cover. But like soliciting a foreword writer, obtaining these blurbs takes time and requires a solid draft of your book. You can skip adding them to the book itself, but we don’t recommend it. Add two to eight weeks for this process, depending on your relationship with the person or people you are asking to endorse your book.

3. How much time do you need to review proofs?

If you are producing a printed proof using KDP Print, this process can add three to seven days to your schedule, depending on shipping speed.

If you are producing a proof using IngramSpark, it takes much longer.

  • File check. Before you can consider printing a proof, IngramSpark does an automated file check upon submission of files. After submitting, the process can take from hours to more than a week before you are notified that an e-proof is ready.
  • Printing time. Paperbacks are currently taking one week to print and hardcovers two weeks (as of March 2022). IngramSpark used to offer rush and express printing speeds but removed those options during the COVID pandemic.
  • Mailing time. IngramSpark has four shipping speeds, from basic to one-day. In our experience, basic is unreliable plus IngramSpark does not guarantee delivery. By the way, shipping by IngramSpark is much more expensive than shipping by Amazon.

(View current business updates from IngramSpark.)

Proofs are rarely final and often need corrections, so repeat the proofing process as often as needed until you are satisfied.

Once the book is final, you can create the eBook. Depending on the design of the print book, programming the eBook could take from a few days to a few weeks.

4. How complete is your book before you begin the publishing process?

This was intentionally left for last because it is so general. It’s added here because it encompasses a bunch of other issues easily overlooked by authors busy with numbers one through three above, or even busy with the actual writing of the book. Here is a sampling of what we mean:

  • Who is the publisher? If you are using something other than your name (and you should) you may need a d/b/a.
  • Are you referencing your website in your book? Do you have the domain reserved? Is the website built?
  • How are you handling the ISBN? Are you buying an ISBN or using a free one? (See our articles here and here.)
  • Are you including acknowledgments or a dedication? Are they written and has your copyeditor reviewed them?
  • If you are printing images, are they high-resolution images? And do you have the rights? See the next bullet . . .
  • Do you need a legal review? Don’t wait until the last minute to have a competent attorney review your book, especially if you are using someone’s trademarks, excerpts, song lyrics, or copyrighted materials.

As you can see, there are a lot of details in producing a book! Suffice it to say that the production process is often much longer than you might think. It also comes down to how much time you are able to invest, who is managing the process, the type of book, and how many of these steps you can do concurrent with writing the book.

How AuthorImprints helps

We manage most of these details and the process on your behalf. This may include, but is not limited to cover design, book design, copyediting, proofreading, indexing, eBook conversion, printing (POD or offset), distribution, and sometimes release marketing.

It is an interrelated process that has a lasting impact on the potential for your book’s success. We call it this the Countdown to Book Launch.

Don’t make it up as you go!

Contact us today.

photo credit: brizzle born and bred via photopin cc

2 thoughts on “How to Choose a Date to Release a Book”

  1. This is a very helpful article. I have a couple of questions on things it didn’t address. First, are there certain times of year that one should avoid launching a book? Should one avoid July and August? Also, what day of the week is best to launch a book, or does it not matter?
    Thank you very much!

  2. It depends on the book. Most publicists say to avoid Monday and Friday. Annually, certain books do better during certain times of the year. Watch news and event cycles. Holiday books in Nov/Dec and summer reads, well, before summer. Anniversary of The Godfather? Good time for a book on that topic.

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