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Guest Column: “$ell Your Book in 2013” by Randy Kuckuck

$ell Your Book in 2013

by Randy Kuckuck

While it may seem ridiculous to be preparing for Christmas 2013 in March 2013, if you intend to publish a book this year, that is exactly what you should be doing. The Christmas season is the best time of year for retail sales, and that includes books. If you want your book in a prime position to take advantage of that market, here’s how to get it there.

Let’s start from the goal and work our way backward: Getting your book published just before Christmas doesn’t help much. Except for a few husbands, everyone is finished shopping by then. You really want to get your book out at the start of the Christmas buying season, which begins in mid-October. So let’s say your Publication Date is October 15.

You need to get some good media attention before the book comes out.  If no one knows about it, how will they know to buy it? So you need to send out galley copies for reviews, and reviewers want to have the book three months before publication. Your review copies should go out by July 15. (They should go earlier if you want to include those review blurbs on the cover.) These galley copies will be printed via a digital short-run or Print-on-Demand (POD) process, so you should allow at least a month for printing. The galley files should go to the printer by June 15.

If you have printed a small number of galley copies as an initial run, you are anticipating some good publicity and higher sales. That means you want a larger number for the actual print run, which means offset printing. In that case, your final book files (including any endorsement or review blurbs on the cover) need to go to the printer by August 15 to allow time for proofing, printing, shipping, and any hang-ups in that process. This means your books will be through the distribution chain and in stores before October 15. Digital short-run and Print-on-Demand production allow a much smaller margin here, but even then, you want to send your files as early as possible, just in case.

If your book is going to the printer on August 15 and to galleys by June 15, it really needs to be in the layout process by May 1. If it requires a lot of design work, make that earlier. The final round of copyedits should be completed by April 15, as soon as your taxes are done. Depending on how much editorial work your book needs, the final editing process could start by February 15 or even earlier. Remember, the editor will always think it needs more work than you do.

Today is March 1st. That means you should be polishing your final draft and have found a copyeditor or in the process of finding one. In addition, you should think about what route to take to accomplish the rest of the steps toward your goal. On top of that, you need to start building your platform so that your book will have a larger audience anticipating that October 15 release. Suddenly, those nine months until Christmas don’t seem like such a long time.

Don’t worry, though. You have friends who have done this before. If you are looking for solutions, we’re here to help.


Randy Kuckuck has over 25 years of experience in the book industry. Early in his career he founded Scarborough House. Randy has extensive experience in book printing as well as online media information. In 2010 Randy returned to book publishing and founded PublishNext to provide high quality publishing services to serious authors and independent publishers. For more information on PublishNext, please visit