Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing each and every one of you a happy and safe New Year.

I’m throwing the floor open today to any and all questions and comments about the publishing industry. What do you see as the trends in this upcoming year? What’s happened in the last year that you liked or that you wish hadn’t happened?

The floor is now yours as I crawl off in search of another mug of coffee.

3 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. I think the honeymoon is over, the new car smell has faded, and a few specks of tarnish have shown up on Indie Publishing.

    We’ve all, 99.99% of us, realised that we aren’t going to get rich. In fact we won’t even be able to live on our earning anytime soon. Mind you, the trend is generally upwards, and with perseverance we will get there. Some of us.

    I think this year we’ll be seeing a lot of Indies deciding the pay isn’t worth the work and dropping out of the game. On the other hand, other people with realistic goals “I’ve got twelve fans, and it’s fun” will keep going. But the biggest lump of slush pile rejects has probably already hit Amazon and Smashwords, and the new competition will be higher quality, if fewer in number.

    Of course, my crystal ball is opaque black plastic with the mystic infinity sign–looks a lot like an eight if you turn it on it’s side–is notoriously vague. But today’s answer to “Will my sales keep increasing?” is “As I see it, yes.”

  2. Hmm, Amanda, as I recall, you’re not really intoxicated until you have to hold onto the floor to keep from falling off the planet.

    I suspect Pam is right about the fading of indie as the “One True Solution” as the top water clears (to use a poker phrase). However, I also suspect more big-name authors will come over to the Indie side as consolidations continue with the Big 4+1 becoming the Big 3.5 by the end of the year. And I’d wager that there will be at least one “indie/small press” that makes the nightly news for defrauding would-be writers.

  3. I think the forecasted “shakeout” may not happen – there will certainly be a lot of griping, moaning, and calls for “those people” to drop out – but epublishing is a lot more like the internet than a gold rush. Once you put a picture or video up on the internet, when does it go away? When do old websites, or old livejournals, fade? Very few people delete their old friendster profiles or usenet posts, and when there’s no penalty for leaving your .99 opus up on Amazon, what’s the incentive to take it down (even if you get discouraged and don’t promote or publish more)?

    This isn’t a gold rush where people are required to close their shop or pack their camp before going home or trying a different business, and the shake-out that leaves only a few players standing is an outdated metaphor. The only way they’ll disappear is by sliding down the page rank, not by pulling out.

    On the other hand, I suspect we’re going to see a lot more people hanging out their shingle as editors, formaters, cover designers, cover artists, “ebook marketers”, etc. Now that the public has plenty of choice, it’ll be that much more discriminating about the ebooks it downloads. As such, there’ll be plenty of people who are out to make their money by providing services Some will be looking to rip off the authors, most to make a living (or pocket money). The prices may swing through a wide variation by quality and amount of competition.

    Amazon will probably change its algorithms several times, trying to match exactly what its customers want (and similar items) despite the ever-growing amount of items out there. Authors and Publishers, as well as kid’s toys manufacturers and specialty food importers, will all try to game the algorithm. There will be yet more changes to avoid these attempts so the customer gets what they want, not what the SEO folks try to force. (Some authors and publishers, thinking they’re the first people ever to discover this marketing tactic, will scream murder about how unfair the evil algorithm is.)

    (Quick hint: Into the Dark: Tales of Biggus Heroo, Vampire Werewolf Paranormal Urban Fantasy Warrior, Book 1 may be perfectly optimized for the search engine right now, but it’s going to kill your click-throughs when I see it on page one and wince at the clunky amateurism of that all. If no one wants it, the retailer’s going to make sure it doesn’t stay clogging up page one.)

    The economy is probably going to get worse, as politicians continue trying to spend their way out of a recession by taxing us more heavily, and this, too, will impact our book-buying public. Not necessarily in the way we think: as oft pointed out, people in dark times want uplifting tales. (Forecast for grey goo telling us how much humanity sucks: not so optimistic.) There will be wars and rumors of wars, and signs and portents in the sky. (At least one comet, some asteroid showers, and pray G-d that Virgin Galactic and Space X move forward.)

    Lots of things that’ll completely blindside me will happen, and my glass is empty, so I’ll shut up now.

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