Seven Publishing Predictions and Plans to Deal with Them

I follow a number of industry blogs/websites including The Shatzkin Files, GalleyCat, Seth Godin’s Blog, Publishers Weekly and others, just trying to keep marginally abreast of what’s happening in the publishing world. Laura Howard at Finding Bliss asked for my “best guesses” and I wrote them for her blog post (along with several other authors) but I wanted to expand with my plans to deal with those predictions.

Based on my constant studying of the trends, here are seven of my predictions for 2013:

Here's how accurate these things are…

  1. Ebooks will finally outdistance hard copy in total sales (yay for those of us whose ebooks make up our main bulk of sales!)
  2. Big publishers, beginning with Simon and Schuster, will increasingly offer distribution/printing to indie authors with huge numbers of ebook sales (already happening for a few; will become more accessible and reasonable for indie writers)
  3. Amazon will discount big name author ebooks and discontinue some of the promotion that has favored indie authors (boo, but good business for them)
  4. Freebie” promotion on Amazon and other sites will lose effectiveness as promotion tools as the market becomes saturated.
  5. The Big Six will continue to consolidate with each other and streamline their systems to fight back Amazon, Smashwords, Torrent and other online distributors; this will favor established names/authors further and make it even harder for newbies to break in as agents have only a few places to submit books to.
  6. Agents will continue to struggle to make a living and leave the field.
  7. Ebooks will be increasingly “bundle-packed” and become available as group downloads or as continuous streaming through subscription services (like Spotify and Pandora for music)

Ways to plan and prepare for these changes:

  • Continue to focus on building an individual, loyal fan base for your books. The great advantage of self publishing is that there’s no middleman and we can reach readers directly. I’m doing this by promoting my email sign-up for new titles, strengthening relationships with readers via Facebook and Goodreads, and handselling books locally via speaking gigs with Rotary, etc. Those email names are your hardcore fans and are worth gold!
  • Give a call to action to your fans. Ask them to leave a review, give your book as a gift, call the local bookstore and order through them (to build awareness and support local). People love to help with something they care about—and helping you make it as a favorite indie author, continuing to write their favorite books, helps engage them. They make a difference, and they love knowing that!
  • Be prepared to Go Big if your numbers support it and get your own print book distribution deal! I’m working toward this. I contacted Tucker Max in response to his article on getting big distribution myself to check if I was ready; he said my numbers, at 200,000 book sales, weren’t big enough yet. But, they will be! I’m nothing if not positive.
  • Think of ways to do your own “freebie” distribution and keep your books going out to discover new readers after the Amazon freebie thing dies down. For instance, I plan to “bundle” my ebooks with other items like movies and gift baskets for Hawaii tourist promotion (if I can find the connections.)
  • Get an agent and treat them great! Agents are still important. I’m hoping to have TV and movie rights to negotiate someday and I need my agent, self published or not. I care about him, and I don’t want him to retire (like my other one did)! I send him encouraging notes and little gifts…after all, he’s not getting paid until we both do, and with the Big Six becoming the Big 3, we only have a few places to shop books.

I am actually very excited about this new year in publishing. I think it’s going to continue to become a marketplace driven by readers and writers with great books and business savvy.

What are some of your publishing predictions for this year?

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