Author Learning Center, authors, book marketing, book selling, Hollywood, Indie book publishing, self publishing, writing

The good, the bad, the scary and the future of book publishing

Recently I had an opportunity to participate on a panel and I loved the title: The good, the bad, the scary and the future. It caused me to reflect on the state of the industry both in terms of where we are now and what can we look forward to in the near future. Here are my thoughts from that panel. See if you agree. If you have any other ideas you would like to share, use the comment section to do that.

The Good

Publishing options—there continue to be more ways for authors to publish books and get them into the hands of readers. Services, formats and distribution opportunities all continue to increase.

Connecting with readers through social media—savvy authors are taking advantage of social media to find potential readers and have them share about the book with their connections. Technology like Meet Edgar and Bookgrabrr have made it much easier.

Authors aren’t as isolated—writing a book is a solitary activity, but the journey doesn’t have to be. Platforms like The Author Learning Center help authors get connected with others who can provide help and encouragement along the way.

Still Alice

Still Alice started as a self-published book and became an Oscar winning movie.

Hollywood is more interested in ever in books—I think I read somewhere that there are 28 movies being released in the near future based on books.  That means more opportunity for authors no matter how they publish.

The Bad

Anybody can get published—with self-publishing still growing, it means almost anyone can become an author. That means there are more books available to readers than ever before so it has never been more important to have a well written book and compelling story.

Competing for attention is challenging—there are so many things vying for our attention that it is more important than ever to have a targeted marketing campaign.

The Scary

How hard it is to write a good book—I think people who start out with an idea underestimate how much work and skill it takes to write a good book. That is why it is more important than ever that a writer be committed to the craft and business of being an author.

….it is more important than ever that a writer be committed to the craft and business of being an author.

Reading for pleasure in some countries is declining—studies have confirmed fewer people are reading as a leisure activity. There are still some exceptions. Book clubs create power readers. Emerging countries seem to be cultivating more voracious readers, but in a number of established countries, the potential customer base could be shrinking.

Opportunities with bookstores and traditional publishers are waning in some markets and genres—As operating bookstores becomes more challenging and traditional publishers consolidate, there can be fewer opportunities for authors. That is not always the case depending on the market and type of book, but there has definitely been a decline in opportunities from even 10 years ago.

The Future

Self-publishing will continue to grow—since we first drew pictures on a cave wall, we have always wanted our ideas and stories to have permanence. Because of that I believe self-publishing will continue to expand to more people and more countries.

Hollywood will find more first time and self-published authors—as the demand for new ideas and stories continues to grow to feed the number of cable and streaming channels, Hollywood will expand where they look for ideas.  Movies like The Martian starring Matt Damon and Still Alice for which Julianne Moore won the Oscar started as self-published books which I believe opens the door for other authors who have not published traditionally.

Book shops that become a community focused will thrive—while bookstores have been challenged in some markets, we have also seen a number of retailers flourish who use their store as a place to gather people around ideas and events.


11 thoughts on “The good, the bad, the scary and the future of book publishing

  1. Cathy Caswell says:

    In the business design process, I recently researched my audience to better understand how they wanted to learn about an intriguing method to reduce stress. YouTube Videos and blogs were the top choices to support quick access to new information. They wanted to know what to do and how to do it. Although books were ranked at the bottom, I chose to self-publish ‘Logosynthesis: Enjoying Life More Fully’ because it allowed me to paint the picture and tell the story in a manner that allowed readers to explore and challenge their thinking, creating a connection to open a conversation. Books allow us to pause and ask ourselves why we need to do it.

    In the future, I believe books will continue to be integral in supporting new thinking by building on published ideas to create a deeper and broader knowledge base.

    • keithogorek says:

      Books may change format as we have seen with e-books and now the growth of audio books, but I believe you are correct, there will always be a place for books for those who are looking to learn and increase in knowledge.

  2. I agree with everything here. It’s an interesting time. What do you think about the meteoric rise of audiobooks and even podcasts taking up more of people’s attention? I’ve come across quite a lot of fiction released in a serialised way, like a 21st century version of Dickens in the old Victorian magazines. Thanks for sharing, enjoyed reading.

    • keithogorek says:

      Your comparison of podcasts to serialized work is interesting and I think spot on. It is just another format for people to consume stories. However, given our penchant for being on the move all the time I think audio will grow even more because our desire to share stories has not waned.

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