Publication Date

Setting a publication date is a necessary part of planning for your book. Although you can sell copies of your book at events and on your web site as soon as it is printed, having an official publication date allows you to plan for presenting the book to the media and the audience in an organized way.

Established commercial publishers typically select publications dates a year to eighteen months in advance. The reason they do this is to help prepare the market to be anxious to buy the book.

But when you are arranging for a book to be self published, you probably want to select a date much sooner than that – and you and the author can.

There is a good reason to select a publication date three to four months after you have printed copies of the book and that is to send out advanced reader copies for industry review.

But the author can still sell what is called “pre-publication” copies of the book as soon as it is back from the printer.

Selecting a Publication Date

If you can arrange it, select a publication date that coincides with an already- planned special event or other natural way for you to get media attention. For instance, if the author had written a book on mothers, a publication date weeks before Mother’s Day is an almost certainty in grabbing media exposure, when reporters and others are looking for fresh material on that topic.

Publication Date versus Copyright Date

You would also like for the book to appear current, maintaining the current year’s copyright date as long as possible. So securing a publication date early in the calendar year can be an advantage. On the other hand, the fall season in publishing (books coming out in September through November) get the most attention each year at the national book exhibition, Book Expo America, held in late May.

It is perfectly acceptable to use a copyright date on the copyright page for the following year if your book comes out in October, November or December. This is because you have 90 days to file the copyright registration once you have a printed book.

Publication Dates and Getting Early Book Reviews

Book reviews are important to the early and perhaps ultimate success of the book. If the book is favorably reviewed by one of the major newspapers or book review services, it is more likely to be ordered by libraries and other institutions that rely on reviews as a way to choose among the many books that are published each year. Click on Book Reviews on the right under PAGES to get all the details about where and how to get early reviews.

Advanced Reading Copies and Prepublication Copies for Sale

Copies made digitally in advance of the publication date are used for promotional purposes by the author and for sale on the author’s own web site or at events.

Amazon will list books for months before the book’s publication date and take prepublication orders but they will not start selling the book until the publication date.

This is actually one of the ways review services double-check to make sure an author or publisher is not sending them an older book as if it were new – by checking the book’s status on Amazon. If the book is already available, then it is past the publication date and will not be reviewed.