Everything in our world is competing for our attention. Where you finally give your attention is a combination of what you want to pay attention to and what caught your eye at the moment.
No matter how you publish your book, either through a traditional publishing method or through some other author-controlled method, you are competing for attention with other books, products and events.
For instance, there were new books and music albums released in stores on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. In fact, both Bob Dylan and Mariah Carey each had albums release on 9/11/01. I am certain a lot of people worked very hard on those albums and companies spent a lot of money, only to have their work swamped in a tidal wave of urgent and compelling news.
The best-laid plans …
But some people hit the news cycle perfectly with no credit due to anyone. Author Harold Kushner had the twentieth anniversary edition of his best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People release on September 4, 2001.
Unpredictability is present every day.
While marketing people understand this, very few authors or those who don’t know much about marketing seem to grasp the concept in the media and world of public attention-getting … urgency and importance win.
Like your new book launched on the same day as a dramatic historical event. Or someone else’s book released to great fanfare on the same day as yours.
Many authors who have been fortunate enough to be interviewed in the media about their books, also know what it is like to be “bumped” by someone or something else that is more urgent or important.
All media has a plan for what they communicate but know even the well-considered plan must be set aside when someone important dies or a major historical, news or weather event takes place.
And it’s not just issues of national or global importance.
About 30 years ago I participated in organizing a press conference to announce something that was important to an area in Illinois. At least we thought so.
Wouldn’t you know, a major car manufacturer picked that day and time to announce they were opening a new assembly plant nearby and would hire a few thousand people. So much for our press conference.
It’s when I learned firsthand about competing for media attention and the pain of hard work amounting to nothing.
Publishing, whether traditional or author-controlled, is a series of intentional activities, not simply uploading a file and making a product available when you want.
When and how a book is made available for promotion and purchase is not entirely a wheel-spinning, dart-throwing process. It is more often than not part of a process of planning and intentionality. And even then, nothing is final until it actually happens.
Launching a promotion for your book on the 4th of July or the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas day is simply foolish. In the same way, not checking Amazon to see what books are releasing around yours is a mistake. Use the Advance Search function and check to see what competition is present when you launch your book. The info is there for many months into the future.
Traditional publishers use Amazon and other data sources to determine the best release window for their books. Being aware of the competition is important in any business activity.
Very few authors truly grasp how much competition there is in the book-publishing world. As of this writing, there are over 1,000 products listed on Amazon to release in October 2018 under the category of “Christian Books and Bibles.”
I know this is another heavy load added to your writing rucksack; but while there’s nothing you can do about some things, you can avoid some obvious pitfalls that could diminish the effect of your new book.