Usually in December or January we see lots of prognostications for the new year or predictions for a five-year period or something on book publishing trends. Why wait until then to gain insight on what is or could be happening in the future when it comes to book marketing?
Here are my 2020 book marketing guesses, uh, trends:
1. Little changes – That’s a safe bet with book marketing, though anything could happen to change the book ecosystem, especially with technology. Right now, things seem to be stable and growing overall, so the book publishing industry doesn’t need to reshape things to solve a non-existing crisis.
2. More books get published – The trend has been for more new books, primarily self-published, to grow year-to-year. So how does this impact you? There's no more competition for shelf space or consumer attention. The imperative to promote your book has never been greater.
3. Authors promote books when sales are not a priority – You may think that authors who don’t care about sales are nuts, but authors are becoming more realistic. They understand that many best-sellers only sell a few thousand copies and they know that one has to invest time and money to establish his or her brand, via media, even if it means they won’t recoup all of it directly in sales of that book. A good branding campaign helps authors lay the ground work to launch future books, sell backlist, and position them to be seen as an authority that can be commoditized with speaking engagements, online courses, and other programs.
4. Old methods become new again – For those frustrated by social media or feeling isolated, they will take up with a vengeance, an approach that is old school: e-mailing books out to people, e-mail blasts, telemarketing, and attending networking events. Sure there are plenty of connections to be found via social media platforms, but sometimes we need to get out of our digital sandboxes and interact on other levels.
5. At least one new platform will step forward – For the past few years everyone has been on Goodreads, submitted review copies to Publishers Weekly, and posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. We’re ready for a new media outlet, website, or service to present itself. Too many authors are fighting over limited resources to have their voices heard.
6. The number of book readers will decline – Studies show the number of Americans who consumed a book last year, in any form, is down. This is horrible news. For the industry to grow -- and society to thrive – we must create programs that encourage, nurture, and promote book reading at all ages. Part of the problem is that many schools devalue the book as an authoritative source by not providing textbooks (physical or even digital). How does the new generation see a book as important when blogs, articles, and videos form their tutorials?
7. More political and social issues books flood the market – We are a little more than a year away from a huge election in a year that will debate guns, immigration, climate, healthcare, Iran, N. Korea, and the fate of our nation. Expect to see a zillion books on topics of concern to the public.
8. Look for anniversary books galore – What happened 10, 25, 50, 100 years ago? Look it up and that will tell you what books will be coming out in the next 12-15 months. I’ll give you a head start: 1920 -- women vote for the first time; 1970 – Earth Day was launched; 1995 – Oklahoma City Bombing; 2010 – Obamacare legislation enacted; 1980 – Reagan elected; 1945 – WWII ends; 1820 – the Land Act passes and moves the U.S. westward; 1620 – Pilgrims dock in America from England.
9. Indies will continue to thrive until a recession – Indie bookstores will hit a 10-year growth spurt in 2020 in terms of more stores existing and more sales from such stores. However, books though one of the least expensive forms of entertainment, could suffer if a sustained recession hits.
10. Classic books will be honored and discussed – Agatha Christie’s first mystery was published a century ago (1920). Fifty years ago brought us Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. A hundred and fifty years ago, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne was published. Four centuries ago, the second part of Don Quixote was published in English.
Aside from what might happen, here’s what I hope will happen:
1. The book world will expand and grow. We will instill the treasure of reading books in more people and those who already read books, will read more often. The battle of literacy can’t be won by the Internet, where free, inaccurate, biased, untrustworthy information circulates. Books, researched, edited, and vetted, written by qualified writers, are valuable tools for society.
2. The local, state, and federal governments will expand their funding of programs that support libraries, education and literacy. Books benefit from government investments – and citizens are the ultimate winners.
3. Books will continue to inform, enlighten, entertain and inspire the masses, leading us to a better world.
Let’s hope -- and expect – 2020 to be a great year for book publishing and authors marketing books.
“Death is not evil, for it frees man from all ills and takes away his desires along with desire’s rewards. Old age is the supreme evil, for it deprives man of all pleasures while allowing his appetites to remain, and it brings with it every possible sorrow. Yet men fear death and desire old age.”
“We protest against unjust criticism, but we accept unearned applause.”
“Live your life. Don’t be lived by it.”
“The man who sticks to his plan will become what he used to want to be.”
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.
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