Top Ten Trends in Publishing Every Author Needs to Know in 2017

“What does 2017 have in store for authors? If you haven’t had a chance to read forecasts and predictions for the coming year, fear not. We have read all of the top articles written by industry professionals and top indie authors so you don’t have to. We also reached out to some of our industry friends to see what their thoughts are. Below we have compiled a list of the top 10 trends in publishing that will impact indie authors the most, with specific takeaways on how you can best navigate them.

1. The Majority of Fiction Sales will Come from eBooks

Data Guy notes in his DBW White Paper that 70% of adult fiction sales were digital last year. It is likely that ebook readership will continue to grow in 2017. More eBook readers means more eBook sales. This means that if you’re writing fiction, promoting your eBooks is a good place to focus in the coming year.

What this means for you: If you are a first-time fiction author, publishing your work as an ebook is an affordable and easy way to enter the market. If you are a published or self-published fiction author, continue to focus your time, resources and budget on driving ebook sales.

2. Indie Authors and Small Presses will Dominate

In the October 2016 author earnings report we saw the Big 5’s market share continue to drop. Small presses, Indie authors, and Amazon imprints account for over 50% of market share. This shows a continued shift in reader perception: a book does not need to be traditionally published and available in brick and mortar stores in order to be deemed readable. Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet foresees a tough year for traditional publishers:

I think it will be a lackluster and perhaps soul-searching year for traditional publishers. The ‘print is back’ fanfare will diminish, with Barnes & Noble continuing to remain flat or decline, and Amazon further gaining market share across formats. 2016 didn’t have a blockbuster book, and I anticipate the dry spell will continue in 2017. Without smarter ebook pricing, traditional publishers will continue to see flat or declining sales in that format.- Jane Friedman, The Hot Sheet

What this means for you: Competition for indie authors is increasingly coming from other indie authors. Given that most indie authors price their titles at $2.99 or below, pricing alone is less effective at acquiring readers. Marketing your books (see trend #9) and cultivating a loyal reader following will become even more important.

3. Amazon Imprints will Command Top Spots

Amazon now has 13 active publishing imprints, each catering to its own genre market. In 2016, 7 out of the top 10 Kindle best-sellers were books published by their imprints. Data Guy also reports that Amazon imprints took an additional 4% of the market share in the last quarter. While there is no stated proof that Amazon’s algorithms favor Amazon published titles, the rankings make a convincing argument that they do.

What this means for you: Deploy marketing techniques that allow you to benefit off of Amazon’s preferential treatments of their own titles. If you can market your book in conjunction with an Amazon imprint title, resulting in your book appearing in their also-boughts, then the number of readers who see your book may go up.

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