Last year I made several predictions about the publishing industry and some of it came true. So this year, I decided to put my psychic powers, okay, my powers of deduction to the test yet again and look into the future.
Social Media Will Continue To Lose Users… Oops, I Mean Pivot
In September of 2018 Facebook reported a 7% loss in content consumption across their platforms; Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. The flagship company itself, saw a 20% decline in consumption per person. This could be due to the data and hacking scandals but nonetheless, sites like Facebook still boast over one billion daily users per day. Even with the drop in content consumption, Facebook is still a powerhouse on the internet. This means we have to be more thoughtful about what we post and why we’re posting it. If you want to spend your time wisely on social media you need to make networking your number one priority and posting content your second.
Social Media Ads Will Get More Expensive
If you haven’t noticed, there is a fight for cheap advertising pretty much everywhere online. Advertisers are now in a bidding war for key words just like in the early 2000s with Google Ads. This time the fight is taking place on Facebook, which means ads will become more expensive if history is any indicator.
Voice Marketing Will Be A New Avenue For Authors
Everyone has heard of voice assistant technology like Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant which have revolutionized homes all over the world. These “smart speakers” can search the internet, control light bulbs and even adjust a house’s thermostat simply through verbal command. Amazon alone sold over 50 million Echo systems and it’s predicted that 55% of adults will have some sort of smart speaker by 2022. Advertisers have been watching closely and are creating ads and chatbots specifically for voice. I know what you’re thinking, aren’t those called radio ads? No, not quite, unlike static ads on the radio where a company speaks to a customer, these ads can not only speak but respond to customers. I see publishers and indie authors using these ads to read excerpts and answer questions about characters and upselling them on other books or possibly getting readers to signup for mailing lists. It’s not unrealistic to assume that indie authors will be adding this technology to their marketing toolbox very soon.
Influencers Will Continue To Be Vital In Marketing
As I explained in my previous post, Bookube For Indie Authors, both Gen Y and Z consider Youtubers just as relevant as stars like Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner. In fact, the top Youtubers, podcasters and bloggers are making more money than some television stars. If you can reach out to an influencer, and get them to help you with promotion, it could help with book sales.
Defending Intellectual Property Is Going To Be A Real Concern For Authors
Over the past few years author and blogger, Kristine Kaythryn Rusch has sounded the alarm about publishing contracts. That’s because things have dramatically changed in the publishing industry with contracts being the most important of them all. Listing example after example, she presented how authors are foolishly signing away their entire copyright for paltry sums of money. This should be unacceptable to a professional author but there are still those who refuse to educate themselves about the publishing industry.
Even indie authors must be careful because book publishers aren’t the only ones looking to take your copyright, literary agents, television producers, media companies and even the movie industry would love nothing more than to get their hands on cheap intellectual property. In fact, IP is considered a big thing in business and some companies are hoarding as much of it as they can like stocks, in hopes it will gain value in the future.
Amazon Will Lose Its Grip On Retail
According to an article in CNBC, Amazon’s Founder Jeff Bezos was asked during an employee meeting about the future of Amazon to which Mr. Bezos responded, “Amazon is not too big to fail. In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.” He also urged employees to stay hungry and obsess about their customers. It was a sobering statement made by a CEO whose company is being accused of antitrust activities by the European Union and has even had their Japanese office raided by law enforcement last spring. Also, U.S. President Trump has voiced his concerns about Amazon.
Nevertheless, it would be a smart move for authors to stay current with the retail world considering we do sell our books through stores whether they are online or brick and mortar. It’s no secret that old box stores like Sears, Barnes & Noble and J.C. Penny are in big trouble and are either looking for a buyer or are filing for bankruptcy. Now before you mourn the good ol days, just know there will be others waiting in the wings. For example, there is a retail app called Wish, that most people haven’t even heard of yet which is now worth more than Sears, Macy’s and J.C. Penny’s combined. No, I’m not telling you to sign up for Wish, I’m telling you that even though it seems like stores are being crushed, others are quickly rising to take their place. This is actually a good thing, it means that the industry isn’t dead, it’s just changing.
Wrapping It Up…
It seems there is a recurring theme this past year and that was change, and depending on how you look at it that can be either a good or a bad thing. I’m not the type of person to BS you and tell you that there aren’t challenges ahead. Trust me, there are! But there are also opportunities ahead, and believe it or not, our industry is thriving. So go out there and conquer the publishing world but save a little for the rest of us. Oh yeah, and happy 2019!