When is the best time to publish a horror novel? [Peak Sales Method]

Bella Rose Emmorey
book editor, rogue behaviorist, digital marketer, writer, brand builder, plant aunt, and cheese enthusiast.
When you choose to publish your books is completely up to you. Many writers just finish the darn thing and publish it ASAP, and that's a $ strong book-selling strategy$ .
But if you’re wondering about the best time to publish a horror novel, we have strategic methods you can use to generate the most buzz—and therefore buys—for your book.

The Best Times to Publish a Horror Novel

Horror can be enjoyed any time of year, but if you’re an author and you want to boost your sales from the start, here’s when you can publish your horror novel:

1. In the fall

Spooky season is the obvious best time to publish horror novels. The weather has cooled, the days are darker, and everyone is gearing up for Halloween!
During this time, readers like to get into the mood of the season by sinking their teeth into something spooky.
The flip-side to publishing your horror novel during this time is that most authors know this.

Well one of us has to change - 9GAG
With so many authors planning to release their books in the fall, you might have more competition.
But that’s not always a good reason to avoid it! So if you’re dead set on publishing during this time, stick with it! Amazon will boost the spooky categories during this time, especially if your book contains Halloween within the setting and plot.

2. Peak storm seasons

Think about the environment people like to read horror stories in. If it’s storming outside, those who want to be extra scared will pop open the Amazon app and do some pursuing for their next horror read.
Thunderstorms are perfect because it’s dark, rainy, and there are unpredictable surges of thunder and lightning that only add to the reading experience.
Now, storm season changes depending on where in the world your readers are from, so it’s not a precise method for figuring out when to publish a horror novel. It still works, though.
According to, in the United States, the peak storm and unpredictable weather season is in the spring from March until May. However, hurricane season can impact much of the country, and that season ranges from August to October.
You might strategize targeted ad runs for certain regions.

3. Summer

If you write new adult, young adult, or even middle grade horror, consider publishing your novel during the summer months. Think about how often kids are huddled around a fire, talking and sharing tales with one another.
Having time off from school usually increases a reader’s time spent consuming books they actually want to read versus ones assigned for school. That, combined with the opportunity for late night bonfires, means a horror novel could be their best choice.
Bonus points if your horror novel takes place during the summer break from school!

4. Holidays that you feature

Horror genre enthusiasts will read horror novels any time of year. It can actually be advantageous to release your horror novel on or around a featured holiday.
Valentine’s Day horror, anyone?
Oh, I know! Write a horror novel featuring the presidential election. You might even be able to categorize it as "nonfiction" and "horror" when you publish. Especially if you set it during the 2016 election.
In all seriousness (not that that wasn’t serious!), releasing any book that features a holiday around that time of year will do you favors. The algorithm will seek out those types of keywords and boost those categories during the holidays because the people who wrote the Amazon algorithm are smart, and they know that during Christmas, people buy Christmas themed stuff—including books.
This is also a great long-term strategy for $ creating a book publishing schedule,$  if your goal is to go full-time with books.

Tips for When to Publish a Horror Novel

Even with these tips, the truth is that you can publish a horror novel whenever you want.
But here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make the most out of when you publish a horror novel:
1. Think of the setting: Where and when does your story take place? Avid readers often choose what they read based on their surroundings and environment. I know I do! My partner is still getting on me to read Name of the Wind, but it’s August right now and that is clearly a fall or winter cozy read. If your setting involves a specific season or event (like the summer break example above) that can play into the best time to publish your horror novel.
2. Consider the plot: What’s happening in the story? Is there a romance involved? Does your story have to do with the horrors of carnival culture? What about a circus? The plot can dictate when to publish your horror novel because different activities can fall during different times of the year. Even if you’re not featuring Valentine’s Day, a horror novel that has a $ romantic subplot$  can do well during this time of year when people are focused on romance. Something that includes an amusement park or carnival would do better when published during the summer when those places are active.
3. Tone & vibes: The vibes matter. It’s similar to the setting and readers wanting the right environment, but it can extend beyond that. Some books just have a cooler, darker undertone that would be best read in the winter, while others might have a lighter or uplifting (yes, even for horror) tone that could indicate spring for the best time to publish. If you had to answer the question, "When is the best time of year for someone to read this book?" what would you say? Publish during that time!
4. Movie / TV show releases: Every time a Bridgerton series is released on Netflix, books in the "regency romance" genre get a big boost in buys. You can see that proof also reflected in the Google search trends for "Books like Bridgerton" below. During each release period for the series, there’s a prominent uptick in searches for books of a similar nature. Which means they’ll be searching these books on Amazon, which will boost that entire category (regency romance).

"Books like bridgerton" search spikes directly after the seasons release
Again, publish your books whenever you want! But if you want to capitalize on sales, be strategic. Part of that strategy is when you publish. Launch when there will already be momentum toward the buying of books like your horror novel.
If you don't have a horror book to publish yet, check out $ this guide for writing a spooky opener$ .
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