10 Publishing Trends for 2017

Another year is upon us. We all have a new “to-do” list, a new set of goals, and new adventures awaiting our arrival. Thanks to our friends at Written Word Media, they are making this year a little bit easier on us already. They have compiled a Top 10 publishing trend list for 2017 and I have to say, they are spot on. Take a look at the list below for things you should be looking out for to make this year your most successful yet.


  1. Fiction sales are driven by e-books. The large majority of adult book sales are digital, especially for fiction. So, if that’s the genre you write in you will want to focus most of your marketing power there.
  2. Indie authors and small presses will keep growing. It’s no secret that the “Big 5″‘s market share continues to drop year after year. But, it’s encouraging to know that over 50% of the market share is made up of small presses, indie authors, and Amazon imprints. The good news is that you can drive your own success this year. The bad news is that simply pricing your e-books low won’t alone garner yourself a readership. With all indie authors and small presses pricing their books low nowadays, marketing and visibility is really going to be key this year.
  3. Amazon imprints are dominating. I am getting more and more requests from my authors to submit their work to Amazon imprints. In fact, for many of them it’s the only publisher they would be willing to sign with and I don’t necessarily blame them. In 2016, 7 out of the 10 Kindle bestsellers were from Amazon imprints. If you can’t actually be published by them, Written Word makes a good suggestion- market your books with theirs since they give their own books preferential marketing spots.
  4. Kindle Unlimited will keep expanding. More and more readers are seeing the benefit of the Kindle Unlimited program and Amazon markets the program tirelessly. This will likely affect single unit e-book sales and force more authors to become a part of the program.
  5. Crowding is changing the game. One of the benefits of digital publishing and digital bookstores is that there is endless bookshelf space. Your book can sit up on that “shelf” as long as you want it to. Now, new books not only need to compete with other new books, but with older ones as well. If you have successful backlist books, don’t neglect them- redesign the covers, write new summaries/blurbs, get new reviews, and focus some new marketing dollars/strategies on them too. The more books you have available and easily accessible, the most chances you have at succeeding in a vast e-book world.
  6. Audiobooks will only get more popular. If I haven’t told you this enough already, I will say it again- the audiobook market is continually growing every year. You should always try to make your books available in as many formats as possible.
  7. Marketing will determine success. If you don’t market, then you can’t expect to succeed. The digital age is making it easier than ever for the average person to effectively market their own books. E-mail marketing has always been a popular and effective marketing tool. Also, websites such as BookBub, Freebooksy, and Bargain Booksy are excellent tools as well.
  8. Facebook ads will decline. Facebook ads have become extremely popular in 2016. Their popularity and higher demand has led to higher costs for these ads, which in turn hurts your return on investment. Don’t be afraid to try other advertisement tools this year as well, like Amazon ads.
  9. International audiences are a great place to focus for growth. A great way to expand your audience this year is to reach out to international markets as we are seeing an increased involvement in their readers year after year. International rights can be scary waters to navigate, but the potential is well worth it. There are so many readers outside the US and UK, it would be a shame to not tap into those resources.
  10. Authors will continue to help each other. There is very little in life that can done alone. We are seeing more and more authors banding together and that won’t slow down in 2017. Many authors are starting to co-write books or create box sets together. It also warms my heart to see an author blasting their own social media sites for another author friend. Work on expanding and creating an author support system for yourself this year. After all, we are all in this together.

Here’s to another crazy, but successful, year. Write on!

Book Expo America Strikes Again

Once again, my week was filled with the hustle and bustle that accompanies Book Expo America (BEA)- one of the most talked about events of the publishing industry. For publishing professionals, some hate it and some love it, but it always serves as an eye opening glimpse of the current state of the publishing and literary industry. This year, I actually found BEA quite refreshing. The panels, seminars, lectures, booths, and vendors overwhelming focused on one thing: the immense amount of changes the publishing industry is seeing. There are so many amazing and exciting changes happening that it is hard to highlight just a few, but I doubt you want to read my endless ramblings. I picked out two of the biggest and most talked about changes that I noticed this year.


First, is the rise of subscription services. Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, moderated a popular panel on the future of these subscription services at BEA this year. Many publishers have been skeptical of the subscription service model, and some are even still reluctant to join. Coker pointed out subscription services face three major challenges: (i) making sure consumers have enough content for the value they are paying and to keep them coming back, (ii) that publisher’s make enough money to want to keep them involved, and (iii) that the service is financially enticing/affordable for readers and listeners. Scribd is the biggest subscription service of this kind at the moment. It offers access to more than a million e-book and audio titles for just $8.99 a month.

Sounds like a sweet deal to me, what’s not to like? Especially as a consumer. We need to remember that these subscription services are still a pretty new concept, which is always greeted with much initial skepticism. Only three of the “big five” publishers are currently participating, so you won’t find everything available which will leave you still needing to use other outlets and spending more money elsewhere. Do you read or listen to enough books to make the monthly fee worth it? Do you prefer print books? Are you finding things you are actually interested in? These are all questions we are still trying to find the answers to, but I personally think we are headed in the right direction with models such as these.

Our beloved Amazon/Audible is already functioning on a subscription based model for its digital download audiobooks and the subscription method is certainly working for them. Two problems with Audible are that the consumer is limited to a certain amount of credits a month (unless you want to pay extra) and, it’s no secret, they dominate the market share. However, with the rise of subscription services, such as Scribd, more variety and value of products are being offered for your money and new companies seek to create a “balance in the ecosystem”- introducing more players onto the field.

I don’t blame publishers for being skeptical and slow to join these subscription companies. Change can be scary and many people fear the subscription model is “too good to last forever,” so why join? Nothing stays stagnant forever, we need to respond to what the market needs and wants in order to keep the industry thriving and I think many people are finally starting to accept that.

This leads me into the next major change the publishing industry is seeing this year- a shift in focus to the reader. This was the focus of this year’s digital book conference in which many publishing veterans spoke to the reality of this change. The rise of the digital age of publishing has brought the readers to the forefront. You may be asking yourself, weren’t publishers always concerned with what readers wanted? Yes, it’s true, but they also had many other things to consider and many different forces pushing them to make certain decisions. The ease of self-publishing has been a major factor in bringing reader’s wants, needs, and interests into the lime light. It’s so much easier for publishers to see what works, how people are responding to certain genres, and what readers criticize just by looking at the Amazon page of some self-published authors. Publishing is becoming way more transparent and I think that’s awesome. We can’t produce a successful product without input from the people buying that product. As the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) CEO pointed out, many people think of publishers as “dinosaurs” of sorts, set in their ways and unwilling to change. But this BEA has proved any of them wrong- publishers are listening, readers are speaking out, and better products are being produced with much more accessibility.

This is a very exciting time to be involved in the publishing industry, either as a professional or author. The changes are only beginning but we are off to a pretty good start. Write on.