book promotion, book sales, marketing, Publisher's Advice

Publishing trends 2022

You may have already come across this list of eight publishing trends singled out by WrittenWordMedia (who amongst other things are behind the widely used Free Booksy and BargainBooksy promotion sites), but if not, here’s what they predict:

  1. Direct sales continue to grow
  2. Indie Authors embrace next-gen tech
  3. BookTok goes mainstream
  4. Book prices will increase
  5. More success for small publishers
  6. Advertising becomes more inclusive
  7. Advertising becomes more expensive and difficult to track
  8. The audiobook market continues to evolve

As an indie author, some of these interest me more than others. The higher cost of advertising, for example, is somewhat discouraging, as this is the year I’ve decided I must take the plunge and give it a try (yes, I know, I’ve been saying that for the past three years, but I’m edging ever closer…).

It’s also worth setting up direct sales from a website, which isn’t complicated to do and costs nothing. I have no illusions about the number of sales that result, but it’s another outlet to add, so why not?

The audiobook market is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. The choice there is between going through a professional narrator, which guarantees a certain quality, but is (in my case prohibitively) expensive, and doing it oneself, which means not just mastering the technical constraints but having both the time and the skills for the reading itself.

BookTok? Hmm… At first glance, not for dinosaurs like me. I’ve just about heard of it but haven’t a clue how it works. The only time I visited TikTok, all I saw was young girls dancing or displaying their make up. But apparently it can get a ‘surreal’ number of views. So figuring that even a dinosaur can (to a limited extent) learn, I’ve signed up for Mark Dawson’s TikTok challenge, which starts at the end of this month. More out of curiosity than with any expectation of results. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And you? What are your plans this year for increasing sales of your books?

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31 thoughts on “Publishing trends 2022

  1. Happy New Year! Since about Christmas I’ve been having health issues that have sapped my energy. (Not Covid.) So I’ve done no writing, no marketing. I’d better get back in the swing of things. What better place to start than on this forum.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    I’m thinking I could sell my paper dolls in single sheets. I’m doing the third fitting for two-thirds of the outfits, and the first/second fittings for those newly created. And they look terrific. And it will be good publicity for the published book(s).

    I’ll post the individual images around the web and send interested parties over here. 11×17 single sheets on heavy high-gloss stock cost around $1.50 at Staples. Folded in half, they will be easy to package for mailing.

    The book isn’t ready to go (I have much incidental art still to conjure) but I have twenty-plus paper doll outfits that I could reformat into single sheets in a few days.

    I’m looking at Maisie in a Marie Antoinette costume right now and she is adorable. She wore it in the Ziegfeld Follies.

    This is a start! I’m up for it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Might it work for at least some of us to commit to putting in $1/month or $12/year (to cover the extra cost) as a subscription fee for the website making the sales? Could it be set up as an automatic payment? Any amount collected exceeding the $4/month increase could apply toward domain name renewal and other expenditures those who contribute could consult and agree on. A bit like a Board of Directors perhaps.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Perry Palin says:

      I have nothing to sell at the moment, and may never have. Maybe I should publish my novel which was kinda ready when the pandemic hit. If you want to try this, I’ll send $50 for the first year.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. I’ll be more useful next week – I should have kicked this cold by then. (Cold, not Covid -I’ve tested negative twice now.) But already there seems to be agreement to look into this further.

    The domain name was created on 20 Feb 15. I set it up to “point” to our website. If you use it, your browser will take you here, but, the url shown will remain a WordPress url. I mention this because if we switch from our free website to a paid annual website, three things happen.

    First, WordPress covers the annual cost of the domain name.

    Second, there are ways that people make money from their WordPress site. It might be possible to use one of these programs to cover our costs.
    https://wordpress.com/earn/writercoop.wordpress.com

    Third, we can create professional WritersCo-op emails for those selling books from our site. For example, MikeVanHorn@WritersCo-op.com or Mimi@WritersCo-op.comanything @WritersCo-op.com including Showcase@ or Anthology@.

    Details will vary depending on the um, details, but Mimi’s idea seems a great one.

    Liked by 4 people

    • A good idea indeed. I had an email exchange with Tom regarding the Rabbit Hole in which he said we could do with a books page on the site. Though we didn’t discuss direct sales, this fits nicely with his suggestion.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. victoracquista says:

    Thanks for your post, Curtiss. I had already seen the original from Written Word Media, and I felt encouraged by it.
    I am of the opinion, based more upon gut than facts), that BookTok works for romance, YA and maybe fantasy. If you are not writing in the genres that appeal to TikTokers (and instagramers and bookstagrammers for that matter) then I don’t see this as a viable way to generate sales. Look at the demographics of the people who use those platforms. If that demographic is not your target audience then it makes little sense to me to spend time and money on platforms that don’t align well with your work.
    In general, I am finding much of social media to be a waste of time. Here is a worthwhile podcast to listen to that supports much of what I have learned about social media. “Why Most Authors Don’t Need Social Media in 2022.” There is a transcript in the show notes if you prefer to read rather than listen: https://www.authormedia.com/2022-social-media-marketing-guide-for-authors/

    Liked by 5 people

    • Good points all, Victor. Social media is good for networking in that conversations with writers, editors, publishers, marketers, etc. can lead to a better understanding of those functions of our craft. But I never found it good for selling books. That’s because social media thrives on paid advertising. For example, when I left Facebook, I had over 3,000 “friends.” But none of my posts reached 3,000 people. Facebook algorithms severely limit the reach of posts unless you pay them to advertise. My posts regularly reached maybe twenty people.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for the input, Victor. I’ve just read the article in the link and it makes a lot of sense (though the author clearly has his own agenda there). I think you’re a few steps ahead of me in terms of testing social media, but until I’ve done it myself, I get the itch to try. Hence a dip into Facebook and Twitter, which I’ve now more or less abandoned. If, as they say, TikTok does go mainstream, then the demographic may alter (though not enough, I suspect, to include dinosaurs, so I have next to zero expectations). The bottom line is probably to do what you enjoy doing – in my case my newsletter, and messing around with videos that are for the moment extremely amateurish – which I don’t think is a huge problem as long as the content appeals. It’s tempting indeed to dispense with social media altogether, but unless you have a large publisher behind you, anonymity is then guaranteed.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. mimispeike says:

    I just took a look at TikTok, and at BookTok. These are mostly young people, holding up books, often making a nonsensical comment that repeats again and again, or else loud rock music playing that some of them lip sync to. I find (so far) no talk about books. I don’t see what the point of it is. Anybody have a clue?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. FYI
    I just tested positive for covid. The symptoms are mild – like a head cold with sore throat and low-grade fever. (So far, the difference between covid and a bad cold escape me.)

    My lady & I have been triple-vaccinated. And she keeps a stocked freezer and pantry. Also, with cable TV and the internet “isolation” is not what it used to be. Hopefully weight gain will be the worst effect.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi GD,
    First off, best wishes for a speedy recovery to both you and your lady. Hopefully all I’ve read about 2 shots plus a booster making the effects of Covid little more than a mild cold are all true.
    Second, a Co-op Bookstore page. As Curtis mentioned, we briefly discussed the idea with regard to improving sales for the Rabbit Hole volumes. I had just envisioned a page dedicated to the RHs plus any works by members that are currently available ranging from books to Carl’s MP3, with links to Amazon, etc. If the group thinks a direct sales page might be feasible, that’s worth looking into.
    The problem with any of this is gaining visibility. I mentioned to Curtis that finding the Rabbit Hole volumes on Amazon is a chore – the name is common, and they list by sales which puts us on page 14 or some such. So one thing that might be an important first step would be compiling an e-mail list, somewhat like the one Curtis uses for his newsletter.
    As has been mentioned, advertising on Facebook or some other site is probably useless. If you remember Mike Hagan from Book Country, his book Demiurge was published by Bookus the same time as mine. Mike told me that for a mere $25 he could place an add of Facebook that would run 2000 times. Anyone who’s gone to Facebook has seen (and ignored) those ads which pop-up in between your friends latest posts. Mike described it as “money well wasted.” Mike also started a Facebook page “Book Nook” which quickly went nowhere.
    My point is that putting a page up won’t do much unless we find a way to let a significant number of people know it exists.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Tom. My lady & I are enjoying mild cases of the covid. With solicitous family, helpful neighbors, grocery delivery, cable TV and the Internet, we expect to be fine.

      Allowing members to have pages on the Co-op site to publicize their books is doable. Marketing member’s books is not doable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mimispeike says:

        Yes, exposure is key. See my comment below.

        Repeating and repeating hunks? Forget it. Not interested. Repeating and repeating Maisie? Maybe Maisie on the cover of Modern Screen will grab some look-see what that’s about.

        Get well, GD. Don’t you want to go to Melania Trump’s High Tea in Naples on April 9? Only $3000 a ticket.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mimispeike says:

      Ah! Are those repeating and repeating books covers (generally with muscle-bound warrior types) that I DO ignore, are they the paid ads you mention? If so, I do think that is money (potentially) well spent.

      $25 for 2000 views. I call that a bargain. I thought the paid ads would be tiny, off to the side. The half-naked hunks, you can’t miss them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I don’t know about hunks on a book cover, but my point was that Mike got 0 sales from his Facebook effort. Remember, these are supposed to be ‘targeted’, and I don’t do Facebook much anymore, but they would show up randomly placed between friends posts when you go to your page. I, for one, always would skip over them without more than a glance.

      Liked by 3 people

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