What Author Needs to Know in 2020?

The last 10 years have been turbulent for publishers, writers, and agents. Technology has spurred seven key trends that are shaping the business and the art of our literary industry.

For publishers, these trends also offer a peek into the future and some insight about what to expect, how to prepare for growth in a shifting landscape, and why the industry can both evolve and stay the same.

More indie authors will collaborate on marketing

Authors have long seen success with collaborative marketing techniques like email list swaps and group giveaways. In 2020, we expect to see more cooperative marketing as competition grows and indie authors find creative ways to gain an edge.

The authors will need to be strategic to see success here. Oversaturating readers or marketing to the wrong audience can damage an email list. But, as many authors know, getting it right will pay off.

What does  this mean for you?

Start establishing relationships with authors in your genre or your local community. Try small collaborative experiments. Don’t assume everyone is trustworthy. Make sure to do your homework on your collaborators before partnering up with others.

Organic reach will decline

This publishing trend is a reality across every online industry. As the big players, like Amazon, Google, and Facebook rely more and more on advertising money, they lose the incentive to provide a broad reach for free.

What does this mean  for you?

Don’t assume that your work is done once your book is published. Discovery will not happen organically. Pay attention to the changes that are occurring on Amazon and in the industry at large. Listen to or follow industry leaders (like Joanna Penn or Mark Dawson) to stay in the know. Don’t get too bogged down worrying about how things may change. Control what you can.

Scam services will continue to pop up

Unfortunately, this trend will continue in 2020. With self-publishing continuing to grow, more shady characters will be attracted to the money in the market. The good news? There are some tremendous people who regularly expose and spread the word about bad actors. We recommend following Victoria Strauss and David Gaughran on Twitter as they both regularly identify and publicize scams aimed at indie authors.

What does this mean for you?

Follow Victoria and David. Be skeptical of services that reach out to you. And before using a new service, vet them with other authors. Scammers are tricky, but the authors` community can be an effective weapon for weeding out bad actors.

Creative indies will experiment with new ways to make money

In 2020, more indie authors will experiment with other ways to make money and try new models for selling books.

Mark Lefebvre and Michael Anderle both think indies can and will start to earn more from libraries, and also agree that more authors will start to take advantage of licensing opportunities from video games to avenues yet unknown.

What does this mean for you?

Experiment with one new monetization technique in 2020. Research Patreon to determine if it could be right for you. Release one of your books on pre-order. Consider a box set or a special edition print set if you have a loyal fan base. Keep an eye on what other authors are doing, and don’t dismiss a new thing out of hand. Catching on to a new tactic early on can pay off.

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