The world of traditional publishing is like a slow-moving sloth climbing a tree. Things will progress, but will take time. If you sell your book to a publishing house tomorrow, it most likely won’t see the shelves of a bookstore for 18-22 months. In the traditional publishing world, manuscripts are purchased a year or more before publication begins. While the reasons for this agonizing wait include rewrites, marketing, and publicity, the most important thing is timing.

If you are going to self-publish, you should ask yourself, “When is the right time to publish my book?” The first thing you must look at is your genre and determine how receptive buyers are to that genre throughout the calendar year.

For example, consider the Christmas holiday season. It is a hotspot for specific books hitting the market. For example, if you have a children’s book or cookbook, the best time is December through January. Buyers are much more receptive to these types of books during this season because they make great gifts. Another aspect to consider is the mood of each month. January through April are considered the hopeful, romantic, and self-motivating months. Romance, self-help, business, and culinary books work best during this calendar period.

It’s also beneficial to look at what holidays will be celebrated. Valentine’s Day is an opportune time to release the romance and relationship genres. February’s mood is love, so bookworms might be searching for a new love story to obsess over. They could also be looking for a self-help book to heal their broken heart, or to learn how to start fresh.

May through August are the adventure, fantasy, and travel months. There’s something about the warm weather that brings forth a new energy and vitality. People want to travel somewhere new, have an adventure, or read about one. These months celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day (a good time for gifts), Fourth of July, and Friendship Day (August 5th). Picking events to plan your book release around can be a very helpful tool.

September through November oversee back-to-school, Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Mull over those events and holidays and think about the accompanying themes. Academic, horror, and paranormal are genres that tend to do well when published during these months.

In addition to analyzing the calendar year, there a few more things to take note of in relation to timing. If you are self-publishing, you will need to have your books available to bookstores at least four weeks prior to the publication date. Another thing to keep in mind is the influence certain events can have over your book launch. Take note of key happenings taking place. Can they aid your launch? If so, reach out and build connections! However, events that are large or very popular could dim the shine on your book release. Remember, a wise person plans every detail of their book launch. Identifying and analyzing your market and its proceedings will help you reach your full launch potential.

Breaking down the year and how that relates to what readers want can help give you direction when picking a release date. If you know what events are happening throughout the year, it will help you widen your demographic. Ultimately, you want someone to see your book, at the right time in their life, and think, That looks/sounds really good for me right now! I need to buy it. Determining the right time to publish your book is essential to its success, so get out there and get started!