November 5, 2015

Self-Publishing? What’s Your Release Plan?

Stick figure at a chalkboard with text: "What's Your Release Plan?"

It’s time once again for my monthly guest post over at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. We’ve been walking through the process of making choices for what path we want for our indie publishing career.

My series about Indie Publishing Paths at Fiction University has been highlighting some of the choices we have to make and giving us a few guidelines for figuring out how to make the best decisions for us.

We started off talking about knowing our goals. There’s no end to the conflicting advice out there about self-publishing, and to add confusion, the “rules” from retailers and others change frequently. So we need to have an understanding of why we’re choosing certain paths so that we can adapt as the industry changes.

Once we know our priorities, we might make different choices about distribution, release schedules, or pricing. I’m focusing on each of those areas in the next segment of the series, calling them the where, when, and how much of our decision process.

Janice Hardy's Fiction University banner

For the last two months, we looked at the four options for the distribution—the where—of our books, such as whether we’re using a distributor or going direct with retailers. This month, we’re digging deeper into our three choices for the when of our plan—our release schedule.

A common question among those getting ready to indie publish is “Should I use pre-orders or just publish right away?”

My post this month covers the pros and cons for each of our options. We can…:

  • publish immediately,
  • delay publication, or
  • use pre-orders.

Those of you who have followed my publication journey this year might have noticed that I’ve used pre-orders, but is that always the right choice? Would I recommend that path for everyone?

*spoiler alert* No. *smile*

There are no right or wrong answers. We can make a valid case for any of those options. But maybe by understanding the pros and cons—and how those relate to our priorities—we’ll know the right choice for us and our situation.

I hope you’ll join me at Fiction University for this month’s post!

Have you seen conflicting advice about whether or not to use pre-orders? Can you think of other options beyond the three I’ve identified? Have you thought about what would make the most sense for your situation? And most importantly, have you thought about why that makes the most sense for you (so you can adjust if the industry or retailers change the rules)?

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Comments — What do you think?

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Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

Looking forward to checking out FU. And, yes, conflicting advice is driving me batty 🙂
Be over in a sec!


This series is great. Inevitably, I’ll read the pros and think, “This is obvious! Why wouldn’t anyone do this?” and then get to the cons and think, “Oh. Good point.” Well, almost inevitably… you sold me on preorders with this one!

Kristen Steele

It’s always important to have a distribution plan. If you have a strong social media following, you have less work to do than other writers. But if you’re a writer without much of a following, you’ll have to do your research to find a self-publisher who will also help market your book.

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