While it can take years to write and edit a book, the state of publishing and marketing seems to change monthly. With the pace of at which publishing is evolving, it isn’t enough to know what is happening right now. We need to be able to anticipate what is coming. Below are three simple things you can do to stay on top of publishing trends.
3 Ways to Keep up With Publishing Trends
The author world moves fast. When I started publishing four years ago, setting up book funnels, managing your Amazon “also-boughts,” and making books permanently free was the primary advice given.
In a short time, those ideas have already become mainstays. Now the talk primarily discussion revolves around utilizing Amazon keyword ads, rapid releasing, and finding ways to include audio versions of your work.
For comparison, I worked in the non-profit world for fifteen years and nothing really changed. The debates going on about fundraising, growing membership, and building organizations were pretty much the same. The tools changed, but the opinions didn’t. And I’m fairly certain if I returned to that world, some version of the same arguments would still be going on.
The publishing industry is in the midst of disruption and it has been for some time. When industries are evolving, they can feel chaotic and unpredictable. Yet, if we intend to sell books, understanding the industry is critical to our success. To stay on top of publishing trends, there are three basic things we need to be doing.
1. We need to participate in communities of authors.
The best way to learn what everyone else is doing is to stay in contact with them. We can’t do this alone. We need a cartel.
The author community is shockingly generous in their sharing of best practices. We need to be listening and talking with one another about what is working and what isn’t.
There are multiple ways to make this happen. We can get engaged in Facebook groups like 20 Books to 50k. We can attend conferences intended for authors like the Tribe Conference, or we can join online supportive communities like the Write Practice Pro.
The key is to find something that works for you and lean into it. Once you find your community, invest in relationships with the other authors there so you can share ideas and work together to understand this rapidly changing industry. The best way to anticipate what is coming is to join together as a cartel and help one another keep watch.
2. We need to listen to the free information offered through podcasts.
There are some amazing independent authors providing weekly insight into the world of publishing. Their shows can be accessed easily and, the best part is, they are completely free.
For example, in the last month Joanna Penn on the Creative Penn podcast shared nine insights into how AI is going to impact publishing, authors Zach Bohannon and J. Thorn shared a recording of a panel they were on about the future of publishing, and Mark Leslie Lefebrve sat down with the Draft 2 Digital crew to answer questions about the state of publishing.
Whenever someone recommends to me that I listen to talks and/or podcasts, my inner complainer kicks in and starts yelling about how I don’t have time to do that. Every time I have to remind myself that it would only take me three-and-a-half hours to listen to all of these resources. That’s less than three episodes of Stranger Things.
It’s not that I don’t have the time. It’s that, for some weird reason, I have a knee jerk reaction about investing it into understanding my industry.
Don’t be like me. Take advantage of the fantastic sharing that’s going on all around us.
3. We need to read books on the industry.
My inner complainer also rages about being told to read more. Here is the good news: books about publishing tend to be cheap, short, skimmable, and yet still incredibly helpful.
Take for example Craig Martel’s recent book on Release Strategies. The work is 160 easy-to-read pages that will set your next book launch up for success, and you couldn’t ask for a better source. Craig has published over fifty books and has successfully built a publishing empire around his stories.
Or take Jim Kukral’s new book, Unskippable. Jim has worked for 24 years as an internet marketer and is one of the hosts of the Sell More Books Show, a news podcast focused on books that has given Jim a front-row seat to the quickly-changing publishing industry. His book, Unskippable, is a smooth and entertaining read filled with thought-provoking insight into writing and publishing. It’s a quick and easy read that will push you to consider your publishing practices.
The Evolution of Publishing
As writers, we live in a changing world. If we want to get our books in front of readers, we need to stay on top of publishing trends and keep an eye on how the industry is evolving. The good news is that there are an abundance of resources available to us. I’ve linked to many of the resources that have helped me recently.
Of course, there are many more out there, so keep listening, keep reading, and above all, keep connecting with your community.
What resources about the publishing industry have you found helpful? Let us know in the comments.
Take fifteen minutes to write about the future. Maybe write a short story that takes place twenty years from now, or write a short article making predictions about how something you love will change in the next decade.
When your time is up, share your writing in the comments for all of us to enjoy. And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!