Publishing in 2019

The Authors Guild recently came out with the results of their 2018 author’s earnings survey

The results were not encouraging

  • In only five years, authors’ incomes from just their books fell 21%, down from a median of $3,900 in 2013 to $3,100 in 2017
  • The low incomes suggest a growing crisis for American authors, particularly for literary writers, whose median incomes were down 27% since 2013.
  • Self-published writers have seen incomes rise the most, but they still earn somewhat less than traditionally published authors.

So what is being predicted for writers and publishing in the year 2019?

Some of the predictions are positive, others not so great. Here are a few sites I checked out.

The Book Marketing Buzz Blog

https://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2019/01/book-trends-for-2019.html

They’re predicting Amazon will continue to grow, Barnes and Noble will shrink, and Independent bookstores will continue to open.

According to this site, 4,000 books will be published daily in US, but the number of copies sold per title will decrease.

There are some good suggestions in this blog, and it mentioned one thing that worries me. “With so many books being cranked out daily – and millions in backlist living forever – how will authors get discovered?”

5 Publishing Trends for 2019

The next site I looked at was izzardink.com

https://izzardink.com/top-5-publishing-trends-for-2019/

I found it disappointing to read that the percentage of Americans reading for pleasure in their spare time has “plummeted almost a third since 2004.”

If, as stated in the bookmarketingbuzz blog, 4,000 books are being published every day here in the U.S., who is going to read these books?

The izzardink article states: In 2018, 67 percent of American adults said they had read a print book in the last 12 months, while only 26 percent said they had read an ebook, … and that was actually down 2 percent from 28 percent in 2016.

So what’s doing well, if not print books or ebooks? Audio. Although adults who said they’d read audio books in 2018 was only 18% of those surveyed, that was up from 14% in 2016.

Next, I checked out the Writing Cooperative for predictions regarding publishing

3 Biggest Trends in Publishing Right Now.

https://writingcooperative.com/the-3-biggest-trends-in-publishing-right-now-c6008ffb889b

Diversity

From the 2018 Book Expo, the primary prediction was if publishers — and authors — did not embrace diversity, they would  lose economically. They pointed out the success of the movie Black Panther and the books The Underground Railroad and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

New ways of accessing books

The younger generation — let’s call them ‘Millennial Book Lovers’ — spend almost three hours a day consuming content on their phone.

There’s still plenty of money and attention available for authors — publishing industry revenue last year topped $112 billion, while the movie industry took in just $38 billion — but reader habits are changing. Authors need to be prepared to fight for their attention.

Alternative Media

Wattpad. Wattpad was launched 12 years ago and quickly turned into a fan fiction platform. Today, Wattpad might be the most important incubation ground for the authors of tomorrow.

While 90 percent of the average users of Wattpad are under 30, this platform isn’t just for kids. Famed Canadian author Margaret Atwood has embraced Wattpad and other new technologies as a better way to reach today’s generation of readers.

And, finally: Check out Writtenwordmedia.com

Here are just a few of their predictions.

Authors are going to have to pay for ads through Amazon’s Marketing Service (AMS).

According to Mark Dawson, Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula. “I would go as far as to say that they are indispensable if you want to maximize the chances of making your books visible, especially as – it seems likely – organic visibility is reduced in favor of paid placements.”

The feeling is, as long as Amazon is the place where most people buy eBooks (and print books), writers need to buy the ads.

One trend this site mentioned that I truly believe in is—

Book Quality Becomes Critical to Success

That is, the quality of what you’ve written is becoming more and more important. (More important than great covers, wonderfully written blurbs, advertising, etc.). It’s what’s inside the cover that will sell books. That means good grammar, punctuation, and spelling as well as the story.

I’m not going to mention all ten of their predictions but I think it’s worth your time to check out all of these sites and others you might find. Some predictions will come true, others will not, but it’s always good to know what people are seeing as trends.

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14 Responses to Publishing in 2019

  1. Amy Brown says:

    Excellent blog, Maris. Thanks for taking the time to compile these predictions. As you say, rather sobering but there are glimmers of hope and a reminder that the most important way to get published is to write the best book we can.

  2. Gina Conkle says:

    Great post, Maris. I didn’t get the “reading on your phone” thing until I was recently stuck at the Secretary of State, waiting with my son to get his license renewed. I finished 2/3 of a book on my phone! (compliments of my kindle app).

  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    I also use to think I wouldn’t like reading on my phone, but I’ve read a few books now, and it’s really not so bad. Thanks for the information. Always good to know what’s predicted, even if it doesn’t happen.

    • Maris Soule says:

      You’re right, Lucy. Predictions basically are guesses, but I can see some of the things predicted happening. Now if I can just keep up with some of these trends.

  4. Maris,

    I’ve surmised most of what’s been said because the trends are there this past year. I sold short stories which were on podcasts audio. Print books aren’t selling well.

  5. susan payne says:

    It has never been ‘easy’ to publish but it may be getting a tad harder to find readers of certain genres. Good thing I write for myself and enjoy the journey. All I can say about the none reader is – they don’t know what they’re missing!

  6. I’ve read the Written Word article, but it’s interesting to get perspective from other sources, too. Thanks for putting this together, Maris. This information is important for us to know.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Bette, I like seeing what others say about the future of publishing, but basically I keep trudging along, writing the stories bouncing around in my head and hope someone will buy them and like them.

  7. Paula says:

    The best thing I read in these predictions is that the quality of the content is still important. Window dressing a book isn’t as impressive to me when I’m reading as the story/content. Thanks, Maris.

    • Maris Soule says:

      You are so right, Paula. I am no longer fooled by great covers. I want to see what’s between the covers, so I really appreciate and utilize the “Look Inside” feature.