Posted on May 22, 2020 at 9:44 AM by Guest Author
Updated May 27, 2021
Staying on top of book industry trends, especially those related to marketing and publishing, is a must for any author. Learn why and what trends to be aware of...
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Why You Should Stay up to Date on Book Industry Trends
There’s no getting around it — authors must stay up to date on the latest book industry trends.
Because it is crucial for remaining visible and relevant in the marketplace.
The world of writing, publishing, and marketing is constantly changing. And as a result, new trends pop up all the time.
If you don’t do your best to stay informed, you could miss out on the chance to take your career to the next level.
That said, you shouldn’t try to capitalize on every trend you see.
For example, if you’re a romance author who’s noticed mysteries have experienced a surge in popularity, it doesn’t mean you should abandon your genre.
But if your attempts at bringing in new readers haven’t been successful, it’s worth looking at which advertising platforms other authors have found effective recently.
Ultimately, keeping up with book industry trends should be a top priority because it allows you to gain insight into current…
Marketing best practices
Publishing dos and don’ts
...all of which you can use to your advantage.
It’s about being aware of what’s happening in the book industry as a whole so that you can discover opportunities to write, publish, and promote better!
So, if you’re not already doing so, now is the time to start paying attention to the goings-on in the industry!
9 Current Book Industry Trends to Keep in Mind
As mentioned previously, the book industry is constantly evolving, particularly when it comes to marketing and publishing.
This is due primarily to growing competition in the marketplace, changes in reader buying behavior, and advancements in technology.
The way authors achieve success today is different from what it was a decade ago.
It’s even different from what it was a year ago, as we’re now living in a COVID-19 limbo.
What does this mean for you as an author?
It means that if you want to remain on this career path, you’ll need to change up how you design, distribute, and promote your books on a regular basis.
Moreover, you’ll need to learn how to identify trends that may help grow your reader base while steering clear of those that will only drain your resources.
The good news is you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. We’re going to highlight nine current book industry trends and explain what each one means for you as an author.
Let's dive in...
1. Scam remain a major problem for authors.
We discussed this trend last year, and unfortunately, it remains a major problem for authors.
There’s no shortage of individuals and organizations that engage in questionable or outright predatory practices to rob you of your work and money.
In fact, Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware even brought to light a recent Goodreads extortion scheme.
Scams targeting authors can take many forms, which means everyone is at risk.
To avoid falling victim to a ruse, you need to be careful about what companies and individuals you partner with, including…
If you’re contacted by an unfamiliar organization, be sure to conduct extensive research before working with them.
Look at reviews from other authors online, and take advantage of author resources that help spread awareness of literary schemes.
Further, if you receive an email from someone threatening to post negative reviews about your book unless you pay, reach out to the review site directly and make them aware of the threat.
2. Authors who write and package series will see big rewards.
One of the most notable book industry trends we talked about last year was the strategic pricing of ebook series.
And according to industry experts, packaging series into low-priced ebook box sets remains a popular approach — one that will yield big rewards for authors.
Although this tactic can be used by anyone, it’s especially common among those in the science fiction, thriller, and romance genres.
Many authors have been grouping series into box sets and putting their marketing dollars toward short-term advertising campaigns.
Along with giving away the first title for free, running a sale on a box set has proven to be an effective way of encouraging readers to purchase a series.
It removes any objection they may have to purchasing multiple books because they’re getting such a great deal.
Additionally, authors whose set is exclusive to Amazon and part of Kindle Unlimited can benefit from KDP Select page read royalties. The payouts from 1,000+ page sets can be quite lucrative!
If you have a series you’re trying to sell — or one in the works — you may want to consider capitalizing on this trend.
3. Collaborative publishing is on the rise.
For a long time, there has been a clear divide between self-publishing and traditional publishing.
To put your book out into the world, you had to decide whether to partner with a publishing house (usually through an agent) or handle the process yourself.
And because there are pros and cons to both, it has always been a tough choice for new authors to make.
However, one thing we’re seeing in the book industry right now is the rise of collaborative publishing. A lot of authors are opting for a hybrid approach instead of choosing either/or.
Because it allows authors like you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
According to Izzard Ink Publishing, you can partner with professionals who have significant knowledge and experience to ensure your work stands out in the marketplace.
More importantly, you can benefit from their expertise without giving up control over your work.
4. Virtual events are here to stay.
There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the way readers not only shop for and read books but also interact with authors.
With in-person events not being an option, authors have had no other choice but to go online.
However, what we discovered over this past year is that virtual events are a great way of engaging readers — and they’re here to stay.
Although all of the book marketing trends on this list are noteworthy, this one is definitely worth following.
Because hosting an event online gives you the opportunity to connect with and entertain readers from the comfort of home — something that’s more convenient and cost-effective for everyone involved.
It can even deepen the relationship you have with current fans who may not have the chance to see or meet you in person otherwise.
Further, the fact that people can attend virtually means you may end up reaching a much broader audience.
Consider going live on Facebook or YouTube when you want to…
Announce a sale
Host a Q&A
Do a reading
And think about planning events throughout the year that require attendees to sign up in advance.
5. The ebook market continues to experience growth.
Data has proven that ebook sales are on the rise, and this trend is expected to continue. In fact, ebooks were up 20.4% in January and February of this year over 2020.
And although this statistic refers to the big publishing houses, it’s still believed to apply to self-published authors.
Industry experts anticipate this trend continuing through the first half of the year, with a possible downturn in the latter half of the year as the world gets back to normal.
However, they believe a shift from print to digital books is likely to stick.
If you’ve made your books available in a digital format already, then this is great news for you.
If not, it’s in your best interest to capitalize on this trend by adjusting how you distribute your books.
Doing so ensures that people can read your books in their preferred format. You’ll be able to expand your reader base by removing any roadblocks they may face in purchasing your books.
Additionally, it’s worth keeping in mind that electronic devices are continuing to improve in terms of design and price.
As a result, even diehard print readers are starting to see the value of downloading ebooks and reading on a screen.
Ultimately, choosing not to make digital versions of your books means you’ll miss out on a huge opportunity — especially since ebook revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 3.18%.
6. Email is becoming a focus for authors.
Although email lists have always been useful, they’ve become even more valuable in recent years.
This is due in large part to increased competition in the paid ad space (which we’ll touch on later) and the continuing decline of organic reach.
With other marketing channels becoming difficult to control, email is more important than ever.
Because of this, authors are relying more on their own email lists and focusing on email to reach and engage readers.
Having a list of readers you can email about upcoming events, sales, new releases, and more gives you direct access to those who want what you’re offering and are more likely to take advantage.
With that in mind, it’s important to make the most of your list by…
Cleaning it regularly
Making it easy for people to sign up
Emailing subscribers regularly
(Don’t have your own email list? That’s okay! You can promote your free ebook in our newsletter to thousands of potential new fans and even include a link to collect email addresses.)
7. Audiobook popularity keeps increasing.
The popularity of audiobooks has been a growing trend for several years now.
According to IBISWorld’s recent report, the market size of the audiobook publishing industry in the United States has grown 10.6% per year on average from 2016 to now.
Sales and downloads of audiobooks in other countries have increased dramatically as well, especially over the last year.
The draw of audiobooks is that readers can consume them anywhere. In fact, according to a survey from the Audio Publishers Association...
74% of audiobook consumers listen in the car
68% of audiobook consumers listen at home
With more and more people purchasing smart speakers for at-home use, audiobooks are expected to grow even further.
Although that alone should demonstrate why it may be worth releasing an audiobook along with your ebook or print book, there’s more to keep in mind — namely, the way you can capitalize on the competition among audio platforms.
As Audible received some bad PR last year and lost many authors, others are stepping up.
This means you may be able to take advantage of newer, easier, and more affordable ways to produce audio versions of your work.
8. Paid advertising costs are experiencing a spike.
As you know, major sites such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon rely heavily on paid advertising.
Unfortunately, the costs associated with running ads on these sites to increase the visibility of your work have spiked.
You see, the past year forced individuals and businesses across various industries to go digital.
With so much demand and competition, it’s becoming even more expensive to advertise on these sites.
What does this mean for you?
For starters, it means you should re-evaluate the budget you have in place for paid advertising.
It may be in your best interest to scale back or take a break from running ads on popular platforms.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to hit pause on promoting your work altogether.
There are some third-party sites like The Fussy Librarian that are specifically geared toward authors and offer affordable options.
9. Active promotion by authors is still a must.
Of all the book industry trends on the list, this is perhaps the most important one. It was last year, and it will remain that way.
Whether you’ve partnered with a publisher or decided to publish on your own, the fact is you have a major role to play in the marketing of your books.
Whether you’ve partnered with a publisher or decided to publish on your own, you have a major role to play in the marketing of your books.
As you know, writing a book is just one part of the equation. If you want to achieve success as an author, you need to get your work in front of those who are likely to read it.
That means you need to be active on social media, build up your email list, offer giveaways, and seek every opportunity to market your books.
In reality, this is less of a trend and more of an industry staple. However, it’s something you should always strive to follow.
An important part of being an author is staying on top of book industry trends. When you know what’s going on in the world of writing, marketing, and publishing, you gain valuable insight and position yourself for greater success.
So, review this list of current trends and start thinking about which ones you could capitalize on today!
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