It’s insane to think we’re already well into a new year. And, of course, that means publishing industry experts have presented their take on what we’ll be up against. So during the past weeks I’ve read a ton of articles discussing what the pros believe authors will experience over the next few months, and I’ve picked a few to share. Here goes!
Amazon Select and KU will change
Well, that’s not going out on a limb. I think it’s safe to expect that throughout 2016 Amazon will continue to introduce changes to author-centric programs, which will both benefit and detract from self-publishers’ bottom lines. Kindle Unlimited alone evolved significantly last year, and whether the impact of those changes was good or bad depends on your perspective.
Agent Laurie McLean goes so far as to predict (on Anne R. Allen’s blog) that KU will provide an even larger slice of the self publishers’ income pie, which I find interesting, given that other trends indicate it might be time to wave bye-bye to Select.
Takeaway: What do I know?
Competition will ramp up
No surprise here. A ramp-up in competition – meaning millions of new authors and titles entering the arena – has been happening steadily since the Gold Rush days of 2011, so don’t expect that to change now. Yes, as Mark Coker said, some authors will get tired of the gig and go away, sure, but thousands are preparing to take their place. Takeaway? Don’t count on a huge dash to the doors. Cinch your belt and keep writing.
Mobile reading will increase
The biggest growth trend among readers worldwide appears to be reading on mobile phones. Lots of people are talking about this, including Jane Friedman on Joanna Penn’s blog, where Jane and Joanna say that iBooks may be poised to lead the pack now that the app comes pre-installed on every new iPhone.
Takeaways? 1) Another compelling reason to leave Select and “go wide,” and 2) with more readers moving to mobile, will this trend support authors of shorter books – as opposed to 100k wordy ones? We’ll have to wait and see, but according to literary agent Chip MacGregor, “I think the rise (I’d say return is a better word, since novellas got dissed by KU moving to KENP) of the 40k-to-45k novel is upon us.” Takeaway? What novellas lost to KENP may be reversed. Food for thought.
Global markets are the place to be
… and not just for translations. Mark Williams over at The International Indie Author has been saying this for a long time, and if you join his Facebook group you won’t believe how generous he is with his knowledge and information about how, where, and why to get your titles available all over the world. Takeaway? Going global might be another reason to leave Select, since Amazon doesn’t have a huge presence in all worldwide English-speaking markets.
Print and audio are strong
… and, like translations for global markets, these formats provide a way to make more moolah off a single completed project. I’m heading into print and audio territory myself in 2016, after hanging back all this time.
Joanna and Jane also talk about the fact that Twitter is getting left behind, but Facebook is bigger than ever. I agree, Twitter is a wasteland compared to how much fun it was back in, say, 2011. It’s still super relevant for news and quick sharing of same, but from an author-marketing aspect, NOT.
Might that be partly due to the fact that so many new authors jumped onboard and started sending direct tweets ad-infinitum to other authors (and everybody else) to buy their books? I wonder. Or maybe I’m just jaded. In case you haven’t gotten the word, it’s a turn-off, people. (Don’t believe me? Read #2 on Wendig’s latest.)
Keep an eye on Overdrive
Agent Laurie McLean also noted that the “ebook lending side of the library business is booming.” In 2015, Kobo’s parent company purchased Overdrive, a service that can give indies access to library cataloges. And, of course, lending libraries are a great way for authors to be discovered. The potential question is, of course, will Kobo allow authors exclusive to Amazon into their system? (I wouldn’t.) Right now the only access I know of is through Self-e and a few distributors like Smashwords. Another reason to leave Select? We’ll see.
Publishing will continue to change
By now we all have to know this is true. The Midlist sold out to HarperCollins and closed its doors to self-pubbers, which was a drag, but even WORSE! Ms. Friedman raises the specter that BookBub could also be acquired this year. Acccccck! Jane, wash your mouth out with soap. The takeaway for every author with eyes on this page? BUILD YOUR OWN LIST, because today’s go-to promo site might be unavailable – to indies, anyway – tomorrow.
Authors, what trends are you seeing in your own business, books and sales? Leave a comment and share!
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