This past week I had the opportunity to participate in a panel at the Writers Digest West Conference, with the title, The New Frontiers of Self-Publishing. The panel was moderated by Phil Sexton from Writer’s Digest and had a variety of knowledgeable panelists, including Amanda Barbara, from Pubslush, Dan Dillon, from Lulu, and Ashleigh Gardner from Wattpad.
I really enjoyed this panel because I thought there was a great mix of people from different places in the self-publishing space. Here was my take away about what people think we will see next in the self-publishing space.
- Crowd-funding–We have seen it in film and music. Should see the same trend for books. Pubslush is focused on this area right now.
- Data driving marketing–More and more authors are realizing there is data available to them that can help them target their marketing and endorsements or reviews. Lulu has a proprietary program called Helix which many authors are finding useful.
- Hollywood is watching now–As content demand for outlets like Netflix and DirecTV and the myriad of cable channels, producers and studios are looking at source material for a wide range of shows and movies. Self-published books are a place they are looking at very closely. At Author Solutions, we are seeing more interest than ever before from entertainment companies who want to have access to the titles our authors publish.
- Search Engine Optimization–More authors are becoming adept at learning how to tag their blogs and use keywords in metadata so that when people are searching for a particular topic, their book or web site or blog shows up in the results.
- More Hybrid Authors–Not sure who first coined the phrase, but this describes the author who choses to self-publish one book, but maybe chooses a traditional contract for another book. Or the author may keep the digital rights, but give the print rights to a traditional publisher. The point is the line between self-published and traditionally published author will blur and people will choose the best option based on the project.
- Local Bookstores will really embrace local self-published authors–We are already seeing this trend. Local bookstores see local authors as a way to drive traffic to the stores. Most still won’t take books published by CreateSpace, but otherwise we are seeing more authors finding success right down the street.
- Serializing work–more authors are realizing they can build an audience by giving readers pieces of the story in parts. It isn’t a new idea in publishing, but self-published authors seem to be seeing this as an opportunity.
What do you think? Are you seeing these trends? Are there other things you think I missed? Use the comment section to share your throughts.