This year, I was delighted to contribute to a round-up by Carol Tice on what trends to watch (or ignore) in the freelance writing marketplace in 2018. I specifically discuss paid email newsletters and Medium. (Some of the other trends covered include video content, fact checking, content marketing and SEO, and artificial intelligence.)
Tice’s is one of many publishing roundups that survey the coming year in terms of industry change and trends. Over at The Hot Sheet (my paid newsletter written with Porter Anderson), we rounded up some of the more notable pieces authors should look at, including:
This 2018 book-manufacturing outlook predicts shorter print runs and ultra-fast turnarounds. Julie Greenbaum at Book Business magazine speaks to major US book printers for their insights. Significant drivers of their business include the emergence of Amazon same-day delivery; demand for smaller, digital runs—in part to minimize inventory; and a “murky” outlook for K-12 materials.
Editors at Scholastic predict the top five trends in kids’ books for 2018. They mention (with examples of forthcoming titles): “more books will celebrate strong female characters”; “the demand for kid-friendly nonfiction will grow”; iconic series and characters will return in new stories; “magical creatures will take children to new worlds”; and books will feature more hands-on activities to educate children about STEM fields.
Written Word Media collects ten predictions for 2018 from the indie author community. Among the more notable claims is that book marketing will become more expensive due to increased advertising costs on Facebook and Amazon; thus we’ll see greater experiments in connecting directly with the reader.
Joanna Penn has a round-up focused on the self-publishing landscape and possible changes ahead, with links to various news sources and trend reports that affect many areas of retail (e.g., voice search and voice assistants).
Related: I’ve also been enjoying Kristine Rusch’s overview of what happened across publishing in 2017. (Here’s the installment on Big Five traditional publishing.)
I haven’t seen any truly ground-breaking predictions or observations for 2018. It’s the usual grab bag of think long-term and be prepared for change. If I were pushed to make a bold prediction, it would probably relate to a change in ebook royalties or terms for indie authors using Amazon KDP, but I have no basis for making that prediction—other than a belief that Amazon will always tighten the screws on its publishing partners.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.