Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

December Doldrums
by Nancy J Cohen

While retail stores escalate their sales and advertisements during the December holiday rush, other businesses seem to slow down. Between Christmas and New Year holidays, forget getting many things done including house repairs. This applies to the publishing business as well. December has always been a bad month to submit a proposal to a major publisher.

In terms of new releases, we are competing against major authors who might have a new release at this time along with other holiday books and gifts. While I might not have chosen this month, my Bad Hair Day mysteries released in December every year for the nine books I published with Kensington.

Now once again, I face the conundrum of a December release. I’ll receive reversion of rights on four more backlist titles as of December 31st. This means those books will be taken down from sale around that time, and my readers will find a gap in the series. Do I hustle to get new covers, format these books, and upload them as soon as the fireworks explode to herald the new year? Or can it wait a few weeks until things calm down? Could I even get the cover artist and formatter to work on my projects during this busy time?

In January, people who have received new eReaders or tablets as gifts will be looking to load books into their devices. That’s a better month to tout a new release or to launch reissued backlist titles. What do you say? Should I hustle to get these books done now and ready to go the minute the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, or should I wait a few weeks into January until things settle down?

When do you do your book buying at this season—before the holidays as gifts for friends, during the holidays as a gift to yourself, or in January after all the hoopla is over and we settle into the winter months?

Comment below and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a signed print copy of Permed to Death, #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

Also, our Booklover’s Bench December 1-18 book giveaway is open for entries now. Click over and enter the contest.

Comments

  1. Fiona is the winner of Permed to Death. I will contact you privately. Thank you to everyone for visiting.

  2. Martha Lawson says

    I buy books all year long! If I see it and want it, I either buy it then (if finances allow) or put it on my wish list..

  3. maggietoussaint says

    I have found some months to be tougher for sales launches, but there are also authors out there who hustle up signings and promo and do well in the tough months. I think publishing is a hard business for most authors. As for book buying I have authors I auto-buy when they have new releases. I also binge buy for trips, and I look at newsletters, friend recommendations, and amazon best seller lists in certain genres. It doesn’t matter to me which month it is. Sometimes I need a book for myself as a reward for holiday shopping or celebrating.

    • I like that idea of rewarding yourself! I add books to my Amazon wish list and then go on a buying spree at some point. Before a trip, I’ll treat myself to a favorite author’s new release.

  4. I like to “gift” my readers on Black Friday with a couple of freebies. I issue a Stacey / Nicholas Densmore thriller story in December. I hope this whets my reader’s appetite for my novel in January… as for buying books, I gift them all year long, (not necessarily mine lol 😉) and I’m a collector as well. There’s nothing I love more than discovering a series I love and acquiring the print books (I’m so Old School).

    • I love discovering new authors too, and have found quite a few through The Fussy Librarian and BookBub. Then I go on to buy the entire series. I like your strategy of a free gift for the season. I’ll have more leeway once I get all my backlist titles under control.

  5. At Sleuthfest, Neil noted January and August are good launch months because the rush of big names dropped for Christmas and summer reads is over. I vote for January

  6. I buy books year round, both for myself and to give as gifts. Just depends what I’m looking for and who I’m buying for. Spreading it amongst the year gives me time to read a stack before buying the next batch.

  7. I work in retail so I don’t have time to think around Christmas. In the new year when it’s all over I have time to look at books again.
    As I love to read anytime except December, I like to discover new authors and am over the moon when my favourite ones bring out new books in a series I love.

    • So December is a lost month to you in terms of reading lists. However, it sounds as though by January you are ready to replenish your TBR pile.

  8. It would be nice to be included in the new e-reader rush rather than vying to be heard among the holiday frenzy. If given a choice, I like April and September, but in reality, when it is ready is the best time.

  9. I always like my releases to be “pre-” something…pre-Christmas/Hanukkah, pre-Spring Break, pre-summer vacation, and so on, but hopefully not the same week as a major NYT author has a release. 🙂 As a book buyer, ANY time of the year is fine by me.

    • Yes, I buy books year round, too. Re launching a title, it helps if the book comes out before a holiday but isn’t competing with major author releases. Then you can do cute memes with holiday themes. Then again, every day is a “National” holiday of some sort.

  10. Nancy, I’d book slots with the formatter and cover artist for right after the holidays. If they’ve taken time off during the holidays, they’re going to be very busy in Jan., and you want to get on their schedules as soon as possible. Good luck!

    • This is good advice, although I’m going to have to put those four Five Star titles aside to get my next original mystery ready. And even that will be cutting it close to the release date. I’m usually very happy when normalcy returns in January.