Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
Trends in Book Publishing
The most obvious questions in the mind of authors and publishers are always: who’s reading and what are they reading? Some might be surprised to find that nearly 73% of adults read a book or at least part of a book last year. What may be even more surprising is that the majority of readers are in the 18-29-year-old category (80% of them have read a book) and the 30-49-year-old category (71% have read a book), which means that millennials are the largest group of readers.
Who’s publishing books?
It’s a great year for small press and indie publishers, as they again steal more of the market from the big traditional publishers (43% vs 34%). Gone are the days of mid-list authors. Not only are small presses able to fill niche markets, when traditional publishers are focused on strictly mass-market appeal, but small publishers are able to provide the opportunity for the next up and coming star authors at a time when the big publishers are only signing authors who already have their own fan base, like celebrities, politicians, and authors who are already best sellers.
What are they reading?
Though nonfiction books are dominating the market again this year, the largest fiction markets are still young adult, with a fast-rising increase in fantasy and science fiction. Take a trip down memory lane and recall hot trending movies such as Divergent and Hunger Games, Twilight, City of Bones, and Beautiful Creatures. Angels, Demons, vampires and dystopian themes are still hot paranormal markets for young adult readers, but millennials, known for their tech-savvy ways, are also sparking new interest in science fiction and fantasy genres. Genre fiction is also seeing a resurgence in thriller and Whodunnit genres, as One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco illustrate. And wasn’t it Shakespeare who claimed all stories were just retellings? That must be why they’re trending now. Books like Cinder by Marissa Meyer and A Court of Thornes by Sarah J Maas are leading the way.
How are they reading it?
With so many readers owning notepads (50% of Americans), and phone screens getting larger so that reading on them is much more pleasant, eBooks are still selling, but digital sales seem to have stopped growing and paperback sales are again on the rise, with 20% more independent bookstores opening their doors, a welcome sight after so many large chain stores folded. Readers are stating that they like the feel, the smell and the look of actual books in hand. However, the biggest trend in book sales is not paperbacks, but audio. Audio sales have risen over 500% in the last year and show no signs of slowing down. Readers are becoming listeners, and state that with their busy lives audio books are more convenient. They also like the additional story-telling element of narrators who give the various characters unique voices. They listen when they drive, walk, exercise or even while they do chores or other work.
How are books reaching readers?
More and more authors are discovering that books direct to readers is not only a way to increase sales, but a necessity. Emailings are on the rise, more book clubs are popping up (the biggest being Amazon’s, but kobo and smashwords are also rising, as are groups on Goodreads—owned by Amazon) and social media interactions. Facebook and other venues are charging more for ads, Amazon is offering less to associates (once you’re number one, you don’t need to search for new readers), and though authors are able to demand more for eBooks without effecting volume, they need to continually reach new readers. Some authors are banding together to run contests and offer giveaways to get exposure with new readers, and small pubs offer the benefit of growing sales from one book’s PR to another. Smart authors realize that in this visual/audio age, everyone is exposed to videos. Book trailers, video author readings and interviews are trending and are continuing to grow in popularity.
Good editing is now demanded by readers who are used to over a million eBooks that glut a market where shelf-life is now eternal. The visual appeal to set books apart extends beyond videos to the design of the covers themselves. If one great image is good, more is better, if one is to believe the trend of today’s collage covers. Also trending are 70s and 80s retro, and what is known as millennial pink, muted pinkish mauve with black or gray lettering. Bold, artsy lettering on minimalist backgrounds, original drawings, and fancy touches, such as metallic or cutout covers are also eye-catching.
Nothing replaces good writing, but new writers should understand that finishing the book is . . . only the beginning.
Audio Coming Soon!
Hudson here, Elizabeth's social media guy. I can vouch for how hard publishing can be. After all, I have to organize all the social media and keep the PR guys in line. There's never a dull moment around here, I can tell you that! Sometimes it's ruff, but I love a good tail, so keep on reading!
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Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
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Illuminati: The Book of Life
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The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
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