We’re going to sum everything up: the APA (Audio Publishers Association) reported the rise in audiobook sales in 2018 being 24.5%!
According to Publisher’s Weekly, this is a more accurate percentage. It’s accounting for sales receipts rather than estimated sales. Over 91% of audiobook sales are coming from a digital format…we’ve entered the digital age! Kidding, we’ve been living in it for quite some time now!
The more popular genres include general fiction, mysteries/thrillers/suspense, and sci-fi/fantasy. Nonfiction sales have risen and represent 32.7% of units sold in 2018; starting with general nonfiction, history/biography/memoir, and self-help.
The age group dominating a little over 91% of sales are adults. Young adult titles increased by double digits and audiobooks geared for children rose moderately.
Production of audio has risen 5.8% from 2017!
(This report was based on figures from 20 publishers, including all Big 5 houses.)
You can scroll through the blogs, the forums, the advice columns…but always remember, you’re different than the person posting online. Your creative experience and beyond is your experience alone. Two people will not share the exact process…similarities, sure, but not replicated.
So, take any writing or publishing experience stories as a grain of salt in the big pot of publishing stew!
We know, we know…it’s not our lastpost of the year, but it’s close to it! We figured it would be good for anyone looking into getting published to get the heads up: the results are in, publishing trends are here.
Before we get started though, we want to direct you to the source in which the general info comes from. Opinions and advice are ours! But check out this blog/publishing service.
Let’s get right into it!
First and foremost, is the decline in reading going to push writers away from publishing their work?
We vote a big fat NO. Reason being, we see the decline in reading as a way to push writers to treat their work with care (and to get into e-Pubbing, but we’ll discuss in a second.) Getting all the pre-publication shenanigans out of the way is something so many people don’t truly pay attention to – so maybe, it’s time we give our precious work some TLC and hire a few people to take a look at what we’ve got.
Print books remain #1. What does this mean for you?While everyone (or maybe it was just me) believes that eBooks are the only way to read now, we come here to confirm: this is not true. Print books remain the champion of reading (even if less people do the act of reading.) Now, before you comment and say, “getting my book printed will cost so much money” or “I can’t seal the deal with PRH or Tor or any of those big publishers!” Don’t forget about print-on-demand: the most efficient way for a self-published author to get their book in physical format! So you can still make your way into the print market without a major publishing deal (sorry, big guys.)
Audiobooks are still on the rise!
We love audiobooks here at HRM. We talk about them enough to say we’re not surprised they’ll continue to rise come the new year.
We’ve talked about it once, we’ll talk about it again: hybrid/collaborative publishing is important and will continue to rise in popularity in 2019. Why should it be important to you?Hybrid publishing and collaborative publishing are important mediums to self-published authors (or writers looking into self-publishing.) We want the quality of a major publisher (you know, the big tough editors and the fantastic printing jobs) but since deals from them are far and few between, we need an alternative. An alternative where we have creative flexibility and control over the work in question. These mediums are just that. They provide the quality care to your work as well as giving you the power over it – with consideration, of course. Major publishing houses ensure a bigger paycheck, but why not get your foot in the door to start?
Marketing is your best friend.
We talk about marketing a lot on this blog. It’s an important part of being a writer/author who wants exposure. If you’re interested in keeping up with a variety of marketing tactics, just use the search bar for this blog and we guarantee you’ll come across something.
About a year ago, we talked about how the online writing community we all know as Wattpad has its pros and cons for the published community. Maybe you want to dive in and work on some short prequels. Or possibly write a quick spin-off for your begging readers. The site has wonderful resources to both expand on your writing abilities and become a platform for you to share the little details about your world to a new generation.
But it doesn’t stop there. Wattpad has had more than one success story.
There are authors who have signed traditional book deals for their works on Wattpad’s shelves. But just this past weekend, Publisher’s Weekly wrote up a great article discussing the most recent optioned pieces. You read that correctly: OPTIONED.
Hollywood has decided that maybe the comic book movies and remakes are not cutting it for the box office. It’s now very possible to be recognized by studios and producers who are trying to find the next big thing! All they have to do is refresh their page and see what everyone is reading!
So upload everything you can onto Wattpad. You’re (hopefully) going to Hollywood, baby!
It’s December 1st, meaning there’s only a month left of 2017. Looking forward to the new year, I have been browsing the prediction of publishing trends for 2018. If you’re stuck on what moves to make next in your publishing career, keep reading this post to see what publishing professionals are expecting to see for 2018!
With the rise of the use of technology, many dedicated readers are taking a step away from their Nooks, their Amazon Fires, or their Kindle apps on their phone to dive back into the good ol’ days of traditional publishing, specifically paperbacks. Since 2016, e-book sales have dropped 35.9% and Nook earnings have dropped 26%. If you’re a reader taking a break from your cell phone or tablet screen and picking up a good book, I applaud you! If you’re a writer and wondering what to do with your fresh manuscript, looking into traditional publishing might be your New Year’s resolution.
The Rise of Indie & Hybrid PublishingIndie publishing has taken over the publishing scene, but so is hybrid publishing right there next to it! From what it looks like, hybrid publishing may be bumping indie style out of the way to take the crown. Authors want to work with professionals who are familiar with the craft of publishing and hybrid publishing provides the professionals from the bigger companies to help the indie publishers make their mark in the world. Just keep in mind the market shares for self-published books is 42%, which is greater than the shares for big publishers at 34%.
Longer E-Book Shelf Life = Increased CompetitionE-books enter a digital cloud and it’s pretty hard to delete them from the internet once exposed. With there being millions of books on the Amazon Kindle app, as well as on other platforms, it’s very easy to get lost in the mix. As a published author, if you’re seeing your sales decline/stagnant, revisit your titles and see what you can do. Maybe a new cover? Book description? Or even utilize some marketing resources to revitalize the title of your book. Or if you don’t see any improvement from there, publish more books! The more books you have available to readers, the better chance you have to get readers to buy.
More Books, Stagnating Readership
Although 73% of Americans read at least a book a year, there are so many books! “Discoverability” should become your best friend as a writer to help gain more exposure with your titles.
Audiobooks are GROWINGI saved the best for last! In 2013, 20,000 audiobooks were released. In 2014, 36,000 audiobooks were released. In 2015, valued at $2.8 billion, 43,000 audiobooks were released for the growing community of audiobook lovers! Kindle Unlimited is on the rise, as well, with access to 2,500 audiobooks for a great price!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Children and Young Adult literature is one of the toughest genres to write, and most importantly, succeed in. The interests quickly change, the audience is smaller and more direct, and the ideas/concepts addressed really need to be engaging (I’m talking out-of-the-box extraordinary here) for it to catch the eye of a young reader. With the technology available to children today, a book really needs to scream “PICK ME UP!” for children to put all other things aside and choose to read on their own free time.
Children publishers certainly know this too. Selling a manuscript to them is only welcomed with more challenges these days. Editors aren’t looking for ‘good’ content anymore, they are looking for the next ‘big thing’and won’t settle for anything less.
Scholastic is the King of children’s publishing. Every children/young adult author dreams of seeing their name listed on their website. That’s why I was pretty thrilled to see an article this morning about their predictions for 2017:
–Hot titles will focus on kindness. It seems like everywhere we turn in 2016 the media is filled with bad news- stories of bullying, hatred, and lack of acceptance. Scholastic editors hope that through literature, maybe we can show our youth that the world isn’t really all bad and that just maybe literature can be that one thing that bring us all together under one common roof.
-The year of big book anniversaries. 2017 will host a handful of really exciting book anniversaries that will bring these modern classic to the forefront once again- good content never gets old. These anniversaries to watch out for are the 30th anniversary of The Magic School Bus, the 25th anniversary of Goosebumps, the 20th anniversary of Captain Underpants, and the 10th anniversary of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
-Children still want to laugh. Children seek out literature to laugh and escape reality for a bit, one of the may lessons us adults can learn from our children.
-Research is more important than ever. With more and more ludicrous information becoming available on the internet, editors are interested in teaching children to discern fact from fiction. Non-fiction titles will have a crucial role in this in 2017.
-Classics will be reimagined. Old tales will be retold in ways we have never seen them before. Keeping up with children’s imaginations is easier said than done.
Keep on writing, so our children can keep on reading.
Seeking out audiobook deals seems to be a popular request from many of my authors/clients, if not all of them. I worked in the audiobook industry myself before starting my own literary agency, so I always knew and understood the importance of the audio format and it always warms my heart when I see authors possessing that same understanding. But, there are many authors out there that I speak with that don’t see the value in putting their work into audio and see it more as a waste of time or just too complicated to deal with at the moment. They rather focus on writing new content to be released in e-book and print because that’s where the biggest pay-off tends to be. I totally get that too, but it really pains me to see these authors leave a great opportunity on the table. I often can’t iterate enough why audio is a market that shouldn’t be left untapped. If you don’t listen to audiobooks yourself, of course it’s going to be a lot harder to understand why you should pursue this format for your work. If we don’t understand something, we tend to shy away from it until a ‘better day.’ Well, thanks to The Wall Street Journal, hopefully that ‘better day’ is sooner rather than later.
In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal talks about how audiobooks are the fastest growing format in publishing. In 2015, sales jumped 21% from the previous year in the United States and Canada. In today’s world, it really shouldn’t be a mystery about why audiobooks are becoming so appealing. People are getting busier and busier. With jobs, children, hobbies, and other commitments we rarely have or take the time to sit down with a good book. I know for myself I have a huge list of books I would love to read and I have no idea how I will ever be able to tackle it. I just don’t have the time. Well, that is exactly what is making audiobooks so successful. They are portable and can be listened to while multi-tasking, voilà!
A big part of the listening explosion is due to the availability of digital downloads, rather than bulky physical CD’s. According to The Association of American Publishers, revenue from digital downloads grew 38% in 2015 from 2014. Revenue from hardcover books grew 8%, paperbacks grew 3%, and revenue from e-books actually declined by 11%.
The predictions for 2016 don’t seem be slowing down either. In January/February, researchers found that digital download audio sales were up 37% already compared with the same time period in 2015. Audible is also projecting that their listeners will listen to 2 billion hours of audio, doubling that number from 2014. Looking at these numbers, it really doesn’t make sense for any authors to be missing out on this upsurge.
Smartphones and new technology have been a godsend for the audiobook industry. 64% of adults in the United States have a smartphone, making it very easy to access digital download audiobooks right from the very device they carry with them 24/7. This year, 63% of all cars are being sold with some sort of smartphone hook-up. Listening to an audiobook while commuting literally can’t be any easier.
Both consumers and authors are catching onto the audio trend. In 2015, 35,574 books were published in audio format- an astounding number compared to the 7,237 audio titles published in 2011. Audible’s membership has also grown by 40% last year compared to 2014.
This doesn’t mean people are starting to prefer listening to reading. The reading trend will never disappear. There’s nothing better than holding a great book in your hands and getting lost in it for a few hours. And audio sales aren’t about to make any author the next Daddy Warbucks alone. In 2015, audiobooks sold 81 million units only making up 3% of the 2.5 billion trade books that were sold the same year. Audio isn’t just a convenient medium for busy folks, it’s also been proved to encourage book lovers to actually buy more books. Listeners who use Audible are reported to buy 40% more books in all formats after becoming members. Amazon’s Whispersync sales were also up by 60% in 2015 compared to 2014. The audio bug lights a fire under consumers for more content, increasing the likelihood that they will reach out to other formats as well.
It doesn’t matter whether you listen to audiobooks yourself or not, the truth of the matter is that other people do. More and more listeners are tuning in each year. In the age of multi-tasking, audio is just one small way to give consumers what they want. Audio also introduces your work to a whole new audience and puts a little extra money in your pocket at the same time. Maybe we shouldn’t be so hesitant after all.
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:
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.
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.
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.