Well the new year is upon us.
I thought I’d share some predictions that may come to light as the industry continually evolves and more authors are taking action and embracing their goal to become a part-time or full-time author.
If/when these 2017 self-publishing predictions become a reality, how will they impact on you?
Think about that for a moment as you read each one.
Let’s get into the rundown.
1. Last year authors embraced the power of list building, this year it’s the ecosystem
In 2016 there was more discussion on the importance of building an email list for authors. The power of the email list is well known in the marketing industry for building a relationship with customers and fans. This is why we have a module on building your author email list inside the Lab.
It’s much easier to sell a new book to existing fans that already know, like and trust you than it is to find all new readers.
An email list keeps your fans close. In 2017 we’ll see more authors embracing their author website, optimising it and understanding the importance of building their email list to grow their audience.
But it won’t stop there. As authors advance they’ll create what’s known in business as an ‘ecosystem’ that keeps their readers engaged more consistently. Think of Apple’s iPhones and iTunes products. Both are inseparable, designed to keep you ‘locked in’ and tethered to their ecosystem which encourages your spending habits to remain with Apple. This is an example of a functional ecosystem.
For authors, it’ll take the form of providing free content, building a list and automation that engages and entertains their readers over time. This might include additional free complimentary stories, downloads, worksheets, activities, workshops and much more. It’s why email tools like AWeber are key components to any author platform.
It’s not about having a website, but having a website and a small ecosystem that grows your author brand over time even while you sleep.
2. More authors will flick the switch
This year even more traditional authors who have contracts or expiring contracts with traditional publishers will make the switch to self-publishing exclusively, or begin to self-publish their new titles not included in their current contracts.
From the traditional authors I talked with in 2016, it’s clear they’re not happy with the lack of flexibility their publishers give them. Some openly show their distaste for the lack of communication regarding their book availability and very low financial returns.
Essentially, it’s about being frustrated with the lack of control and flexibility.
The marketplace has provided the evidence, that authors are making more money through self-publishing as their gateway to “making a living as a writer”. The goal of part-time or full-time writing, is that of just about every writer and author I’ve ever spoken to.
3. The rise of audio
Audiobook sales will continue to surge in 2017. In 2016 the Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the results from their annual survey which estimates that audiobook sales in 2015 totalled more than $1.77 billion, up 20.7% over 2014. Many of these titles are sold via Amazon’s Audible platform.
In 2017 this trend will increase as the number of audiobooks released continue to rise as more authors and publishers see audiobooks as a standard format to offer rather than being an after thought.
Amazon’s ACX platform that allows authors and publishers to publish audiobooks to the popular Audible platform, will add fuel to the fire by opening its doors to other countries including Australia and Germany.
Currently ACX has limited availability to just the USA and UK.
4. Bookstores will embrace the ‘experience’
In 2016 we saw headlines of independent bookstores opening up shop in the face of the ever-changing marketplace.
In 2017, we’ll unfortunately see the inevitable closure of more stores around the world that haven’t adapted well enough to the changing book purchasing climate.
Meanwhile, the remaining independent bookstores that remain open will thrive by recognising the need to create an “experience” within their store that can’t be replicated by purchasing online. Adding cafe bars, lounges, wi-fi and event rooms will help these stores have an immersive experience and retain loyal customers.
5. The quality and ‘added value’ bar will move up
Five years ago when Amazon Kindle was in its infancy, simple e-books were more easily discovered and marketed.
Today, traditional publishers and independent published authors are jostling side by side for the same readers in the same places more than ever before.
As a result, readers will continue to become more selective and will expect more of each book in terms of quality to feel they’ve purchased wisely.
This expectation will push the quality bar of book production and adding additional value outside the book to a new level. This was also echoed in Bowker’s 2016 publishing report.
This will come in the form of investing more in editing, design and adding bonus downloads for those who purchase the book. A free story, discounts, templates, one-on-one coaching, the list goes on.
Authors will need to build strong partnerships and a team around them to execute more quickly without sacrificing on quality.
One thing is for sure, 2017 will be a new year of opportunity for those authors who take control of their own author careers.
Will you be one of them? If so, you may be interested in finding out more about the Lab here.
So there we have it, my 2017 Self-publishing Predictions.
Be the captain of your own ship.