Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Book Releases—What’s the Right Interval?

Nancy J. Cohen

There’s a reason why publishers like book releases from authors to be months, if not years, apart. They need time to pass the manuscript from the developmental editor to the copy editor, from the page proof typesetter to the person who creates review copies. They need to consult with the marketing and art departments and notify their sales reps of upcoming works. Then the sales reps need time to present the new books to their accounts. Reviews are sought and advance orders acquired. All of this builds buzz for the new title.

For an author, it gives us time to plan ahead. We might want to produce a book trailer, arrange signings and blog tours, order swag, do giveaways with advance reading copies, set a launch party date. All of this takes time and planning. My new book, Peril by Ponytail (Bad Hair Day Mystery #12) arrives on September 16. But my blog tour begins on September 14. You can follow the schedule on my website. I also have a contest running this entire month at Fresh Fiction with a fabulous prize. And I’ll be away off and on for signings and conference appearances during the coming months.

Peril by Ponytail

What does this mean? It means time away from the next book that I should be writing. But never fear. That’s #14 in my series, and #13 is already in production. Marketing is essential to every business, so we have to program time for these activities into our schedules. And we have to give publishers time to process our work properly. Rapid back-to-back releases work for some publishing houses and many authors as well, but not for others.

The length of time between books will vary greatly from publisher to publisher and author to author. Two books a year is ideal with time for other projects in between. These don’t have to be from the same publisher. But more than a year between books in a series is a lot. This is often beyond our control when the pub date is a publisher decision. Indie authors can set their own schedule but shouldn’t rush the process.

As a reader, how far apart do you like new releases from a favorite author? Do you get annoyed if the releases are too frequent, and you’re constantly bombarded with promo messages? Or does it bother you if books in a series have too long of a gap? What’s the ideal interval for you?

Comments

  1. Marcia Berbeza says

    If it is a favorite series, they can’t come fast enough. I prefer listening to my books on audible, I love finding a series that I haven’t heard of before and just plowing through the entire thing, one after another. I was incredibly disappointed the other day to listen to a really great book, number one in a series. I went to get the next one only to find it hasn’t been written yet. It was such a letdown! One of my favorite authors takes approximately 4 years or longer in between each book. It drives me nuts! The minute I finish, I’m ready for the next book in the series!

  2. I would have to say it depends on how long the book is and if from the say series or different series. If less than 200 pages and same series I would have to say 2-4 months apart. If more than 200 and series than I would have to say 3-6 months. If different series and less than 200 I would have to say around 6 months or so and if different series and more than 200 about 6-8 months. Now I feel that I will reserve the right to change my answer if the book is a cliffhanger than I want the next book right away cause I hate to wait. LOL.

    • While you might want the books more often, it may be a publisher decision to set the schedule. It’s unfortunate when the wait is too long despite the book being ready. That’s the advantage of indie publishing. Authors can choose their own release dates.

  3. As a reader, I tend to glom onto favorite authors and want to be able to keep reading. But as an author, I know there’s that other factor–they have to write them first! And I do want quality. Right now, I’ve had a book by a favorite author on pre-order for almost a year, but he did inform his readers that there were going to be delays. Of course, now, after waiting so long, I want that book to be perfect.
    And, as an author, I do want to provide quality. I’m working on a novella to fill the gap between novel releases, and although the timing puts the book close to Halloween, I know that if I crank through it just to release it for the holiday, it won’t be my best work.

    • I, too, am willing to wait for a favorite author as I know the book will be worth it. Another topic is how long do we want favorite series to keep going on? I love the worlds my favorite authors create but understand they might need to spread their wings and try something new.

  4. As a reader, I’m greedy. I want to have a new book by my fav author every month. That doesn’t happen. She always has a new one every year and often puts out two a year.

    As an author, I respect that book writing takes time to get it right. Some books boil out of you, some come out at a simmer. But I totally agree with Nancy. Just because you write the first draft fast doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ready to go. I spend about four-six months writing a book and often another two to three months, depending on the time of year, fixing it.

    I hope authors keep writing. I love to read!

    Maggie

  5. Terry Ambrose says

    There is a very difficult balance to maintain between quality and quantity. Many authors simply can’t write more than one book a year. Ultimately, though, I think readers determine whether a writer is producing “quality” content. I know one author who produces a novella every six weeks and her fans love it.

  6. Cynthia E. Blain says

    I have a good amount of “favorite” authors that I just have to read, and so if their books are out more than two a year, I may not have time to get to read every one of them. I am also in a book club that doesn’t normally like to read my favorite genres of mystery/cozy mysteries, suspense/romance and some women’s fiction. Book club is more or less non fiction reading and that means one (not so enjoyable) book a month for that reading. So, one book every six months to a year is fine, although I long for more in my series that I like so much, but also know how involved it is and you surely confirmed that in this wonderful and informative article, Nancy. This was such a great piece. I will share it with my friends.

    Take care,
    Cynthia Blain

  7. I always worry that “too many” books will reduce the quality of books by my favorite authors, so time between is largely due to how well they maintain quality. One of my favorite authors has been putting out close to six per year, and yet I have loved every one of them. Then other have put out three and that’s too many. My ideal gap would be three months between, but I wouldn’t fuss over six months between if it means a better read.

    • You’re right in that quality matters more than quantity. I wish my favorite authors would write faster but then I’d have to buy more books and find time to read them all!