The 2016 Publishing Shift

In any industry, there is such a vast amount of knowledge that you should know in order to be successful in it. Knowing what’s ‘in’, what’s ‘out’, what’s ‘hot’, and what’s ‘not’ is essential. Publishing is one of those industries, for better or worse. It’s exciting to watch the publishing market evolve over time, but it can also leave you staring at your computer screen asking yourself, “Wait, when did that become a thing?” In publishing, trends happen fast and we need to be able to catch them while they are still here. Lucky for us publishing professionals and authors, we have awesome people sifting through this information for us- like the wonderful people at Written Word Media. They have read through all the most important articles (like those by Mark Coker Jane Friedman, and Joanna Penn) about the publishing industry going into 2016 for us. I wish everything was this easy. Here’s the ten most important publishing trends to keep your eye on this coming year:


  1. The indie market is still growing.

Indie authors make up 20% of the publishing industry- that’s actually a pretty big number it’s only continuing to grow each day. Indie authors have proved that consumers care about pricing. Just because your book is priced low, doesn’t mean you aren’t going to make money. Lower prices entice more readers. Indie’s have pricing flexibility that traditional publishers do not have and that has played a key role to their success.

2. Amazon is asking for better quality. 

Starting February 3rd, Amazon is taking down any books that include any reported typos, grammatical errors, or other mistakes with formatting etc. until the author fixes them. Amazon has been a great outlet for authors to get their work published. Anyone can publish anything they want, which I have always been a fan of. But, that has led to a lot of sub-par books being put out on the market for consumption and readers aren’t happy with that. Would you be happy with a new car that stalled out every couple minutes? I don’t think so. So, why should a reader be happy with a book that has an error every other sentence? It’s distracting and unattractive. To learn more about what will happen if Amazon does this to your book and how you can avoid it, check out the full article for yourself. They give some helpful tips.

3. You need to be mobile friendly.

Almost everyone searches the internet on their cell phones. Smart phone cell phone usage has risen 392% between 2010-2014 and I don’t think that number is getting any smaller any time soon. If your website is not mobile friendly, it’s going to be very hard for your fans to navigate and they are likely not going to come back then they can get their hands on an actual computer. It’s estimated that about 60% of your visitors will be using a mobile device- that’s a lot!

4. Amazon KDP is a love-hate relationship for many.

Amazon is always rolling out new programs for their authors. Some are met with enthusiasm and others… not so much. KDP Select is one of those programs that I keep hearing mixed reviews about. Many authors enrolled in the programs are seeing that burrows are taking place of actual sales, but the marketing efforts that Amazon offers authors in the program are proving to be effective. Authors are seeing that these promotions are increasing sales, as well as burrows. Authors are left to weigh what’s more important to them- the sales or the marketing. Authors who aren’t in the KDP program are left to fend for themselves on the marketing side of things. If you aren’t experienced in marketing, or just don’t have the time, you aren’t going to get as many sales on your own if you can’t put in the initial leg work.

5. Free book promotions sell series.

Offering one of your books for free can be a scary thing. But research has showed that it’s a very effective marketing tool. A Smashwords survey reported that a series (of three books or more) that has the first book free sold more copies than other series. It has also been found that 45-55% of readers who downloaded a free book have gone on to purchase other work by the author. Sometimes a little risk leads to a big reward.

6. E-mail marketing drives sales.

Both publishers and authors are investing more and more time into building their own e-mail lists. E-mail marketing is so effective because you know you are hitting a targeted group of consumers who care about what you have to say and what you have to offer- they were the ones that signed up for your newsletter in the first place.

7. Physical book sales are rising. 

It’s time to focus our attention back on print books, which is why many indie authors are now interested in finding traditional publishers. The rising print market is making it worth it for them, giving traditional publishers the advantage on this one. There really is nothing better than holding a book in your hand and sitting back for a relaxing afternoon.

8. The international market shouldn’t be ignored. 

The United States and Canada only make up 30% of readers consuming e-books. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and Italy are creeping closely behind.

9. Coloring and erotic romances for the win. 

Adult coloring books and erotica continue to flood the publishing market. Erotica romances have been hanging in there for a few years now and it doesn’t look like it’s going away for 2016 either. The coloring book trend has proved that maybe we all need to relax a little bit more. We will see more big things for the trend before it dies.

10. Being an indie author has become a choice.

Many indie authors aren’t self-publishing because they can’t get a traditional publishing deal, but rather because it makes more financial sense for them. Readers are starting to realize that and are taking more chances on indie authors. There are so many awesome books out there that aren’t getting the recognition they deserve because they are ‘indie.’ Fortunately for these authors, an important and inevitable shift is occurring. Being an indie author is something to proud of.

That’s a wrap on what’s ‘hot’ and what’s ‘not’ for 2016. Publishers have a lot to learn from the indie world, and vice versa. 2016 is going to be the start of some more major shifts in the publishing industry and I am excited to be a part of it.

Write on.

Creating Your 2016 Action Plan

The new year always brings lots of talk about goals. We often get so wrapped up in where we want to go this year that we forget that we need an action plan in order to get there. It’s great that you want your book to land on the New York Times bestseller list, but how are you going to get it there? It’s most likely not going to appear there by itself. That would just be too easy. Once you have your goals lined up, next step is to create a plan. Formulate tools that are going to help you reach those goals. A good action plan turns goals into reality.


This afternoon I came across an article on Poynter that handed out some pretty refreshing suggestions for productive writing. Sometimes the action plan seems so overwhelming that we quickly start to doubt that we will even make it past step two. That’s why I loved this article so much, it makes productivity sound easy. The article provides five doable solutions to having a productive writing year. It’s something we can all do without too much hassle. It makes our goals seem within our reach, which is half the battle. We need to believe in ourselves before others will. While creating your 2016 action plan, try incorporating some of these tools:

  1. Create a to-morrow list.

Slim down your “to-do” list every night. Make a smaller list of 3-5 things that you know you will be able to accomplish tomorrow. Often there are many pending jobs left on our ever expanding “to-do” lists that we constantly have the nagging feeling that we are doing so much but we aren’t moving anywhere. Feel your progress with shorter lists meant for success. Tomorrow never felt so good.

2. Dream Big.

This one might just be my favorite. 2016 is the year of big changes. Big changes means big goals. Take a moment to picture your wildest dream ever. Don’t be afraid to get a little crazy with it. Draw a quick picture of your ultimate success and hang it in your work space. Yes, I said it- draw. It doesn’t need to be the next Picasso, but visual reminders are often the most effective. A take a look at that drawing every day before you get to work. Use that energy to make your day the most productive it can be.

3. Build your own ladder. 

Create your action plan in chronological order. Start from the bottom and work your way up. What needs to happen before you can take the next step? Don’t get ahead of yourself. Live within the moment and savor every step of the journey.

4. Just do it

We can only plan so much before we want to rip our hair out. Sometimes we just need to sit down and write. Get all your thoughts out of paper then go back and revise, polish, revise, polish. In order to create something, you need to have a product. Get your baseline product done early so you have the most amount of time possible to make it the best version of your product out there.

5. Set a timer. 

It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed when writing, especially when nothing seems to be working out the way we had envisioned. Work in smaller spurts. Set a timer between 30 minutes to a couple hours. Work until the buzzer goes off, then take a break. If you are really feeling what you are writing, keep going. If not, it’s the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button.

Happy writing! Write On.

New Year, New Writing

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season and a very happy new year! I cannot believe it’s already 2016, where does the time go (like, for real)? The start of each year gives everyone the perfect opportunity to take a moment out of their busy schedules to reflect on what has happened over the past year, what they accomplished, what they didn’t get to do, and what they want to change for the coming year. This is a really great time for writers to sit down and think about where they want to go with their work. Are you  happy with your current success? Do you need to make any major changes to make yourself more successful? Is there something new you have always been dying to try? Do you want to write more or less? Do you want to try your hand at shorter or longer works? The new year isn’t just the perfect time to reinvent yourself, it’s also the perfect time to reinvent your writing.


If you are looking for a little new year inspiration, I came across a fun article on Business 2 Community this afternoon that gives some ideas for writer’s new year resolutions. Hopefully these suggestions will help inspire you to make your own changes. Change is the only way to continually see the results we want. If we become stagnant and comfortable, soon enough our ‘luck’ will run out.

  1. Write that ‘thing’ you have always been talking about. 

The best new year’s resolution for a writer is to stop talking and start writing. We all have that something that we have always talked about writing, but for whatever reason we haven’t picked up the pen yet. We may have even written countless other stories in the meantime, but that one project just can’t seem to make it’s way to fruitation. Think about what’s holding you back and throw that negativity out the window. 2016 is all about action and change, make it happen so you can move onto the next thing on that growing bucket list of yours.

2. Visit the places you write about or want to write about. 

The best way to effectively write a scene, chapter, or story is to write from experience. Plan a couple vacations or day trips this year to visit those places you write about. Spend some time writing in those places as well. Visual inspiration is often just the thing we need to bring our writing to life.

3. Read a book that has had a big impact.

Pick up a book that has made a difference. Read a book that has changed history, that has left many readers talking years after it’s publication. Think about why this particular book was so successful. Become part of it’s history and use it to create your own.

4. Learn a foreign language. 

This one is certainly a daring and daunting task, but one that could change the course of your writing forever. Learning how other languages construct sentences, how they use different words, and how they express emotions can open up countless new avenues for your own writing. You don’t need to become fluent is the language, just familiarizing yourself about a particular language’s ‘rules’ will teach you a lot in itself.

5. Study your own writing. 

Look back at what you have written over the past year and learn from it. Is there a particular mistake you catch yourself making over and over again? Are there certain words you use too much? Do you find all your characters to be eerily similar? Make note of the things that have worked well too. Your biggest teacher is often yourself.

Here’s to another great [writing] year! Write on.

Closing In On 2015

It’s both exciting and exhausting to work in an industry that is constantly changing, constantly evolving. The publishing industry never disappoints to entertain. At one moment we can’t get enough vampires, at another we are begging for more Christian Greys. Sometimes we soak up the parodies and movie/television spin-offs, other times our thirst is quenching for completely new content. With the vast amount of technology out there and the easy access to information, audiences needs and wants can literally change in an instance. In order to be successful in the publishing industry either as an author, literary agent, editor, or publisher you too need to be able to change  and adapt quickly. The plus side- it never gets boring, right?

As the year is coming to a close, we all start to take a look back to see where we came from, when we currently are, how we got there, and where we are going . An article published today in The Boston Globe summarized, at least for me, everything that has changed in the publishing industry this year and what is going to be the “big thing” going into 2016. What’s ‘hot’ today, isn’t always going to be ‘hot’ tomorrow. Our ability to adapt is always going to be our saving grace.


  1. Print is making a comeback.
For the past few years, authors have become used to focusing their efforts on their digital sales. It just made sense, that was where the money was coming from. Now, authors should start to consider focusing more efforts on their print sales as well. Print sales are actually growing this year, proving that the market most certainly isn’t dead and that opportunity still exists there. In early December, Nielsen reported 571 million units were sold in the print sector compared to 559 million last year. After the holiday season, that number is only going to continue to grow. People still crave the satisfaction of products and it’s still important that we make those products available to them.
2. New ideas are making impressions.
The eruption of the adult coloring book is one of the main reasons print sales have been rapidly climbing. This concept has absolutely exploded this year and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon. People and readers are craving new ideas. For quite some time we have been bombarded with similar stories and similar characters in every book we pick up. Authors were taking advantage of the trend because well, it worked. Now, consumers are asking for something new. Something innovative, interactive, creative, and imaginative. For the first time in a few years, we are being asked to think outside the box.
3. Nonfiction readers and children prefer print.
Publishers are finding that certain genres perform better in print than others. Each year we are getting a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t. As more content becomes available, we have more data to compare it to. Nonfiction, children’s, and young adult titles are absolutely killing it in the print scene. Serious readers and young children find gratification in holding, touching, and interacting with what they are reading. A true American History buff is going to want a physical copy of this year’s hottest Civil War book. Just as a child is going to want a physical copy of the book that the movie that all his/her friends are talking about is based off of. DIARY OF A WHIMPY KID: OLD SCHOOL saw 95% print sales this year. Even romance authors are seeing an increase in their print sales this year.
4. Old flames make the biggest mark.
Harper Lee’s new book was probably the biggest news of the publishing industry this year. The comeback was historic and everyone wanted to be a part of it. People love to be a part of something, they love the feeling of being in that ‘inner circle.’
5. Digital sales are still where it’s at for fiction.
Digital is still the most accessible and most convenient way to consume books. It is still the way many authors survive. Adult fiction is seeing amazing things with their digital sales, in which they account for at least half or more of this year’s sales for them.
Write on.