2016 Publishing Predictions

I do this every year. I try to look into the future and guess which way the publishing industry is going to jump. Will the hot books be cosy mysteries or science fiction thrillers? So far, I’ve never been right. Gothic romances in space? So many possibilities.

Dragon Knight, paranormal romance, Kindle Unlimited,This year, I’ve promised myself to focus on my paranormal romance series, The Collegium. Until I have three new books complete for it (I’m including Dragon Knight‘s scheduled February release), I can’t entertain any new book ideas. Basically, I’m betting that paranormal romance series will maintain a solid readership in 2016.

But after that, what should I tackle?

Cosy mysteries as a genre tend to sell steadily, and if you hit a popular vein (like Amanda M Lee did with her snarky witch series) then your books fly out the door.

I suspect themes of surviving against all the odds will continue to resonate with readers. Thrillers tap this. I wasn’t joking when I opened this post with a reference to science fiction thrillers. Science fiction is mainstream (look at the Star Wars franchise).

Will there be another break-out book like Fifty Shades of Grey (which I still haven’t read)? Yes. But I predict it won’t be present-day. I’m going out on a limb, but I think the big break-out book will be a recent historical. By which I mean something set within people’s living memory. We might stretch to the post-war world of the 1950s. But any decade after that is rich with possibilities. Vietnam Vet and a flower child heroine? Wall St banker and a dancer in the 1980s? It’ll be a romance.

But it’s not just the type of books that will rise and fall in popularity in 2016. So, too, will different ways of getting books into readers’ hands. Amazon remains the dominant player in the digital book market, and for the moment, I’m exclusive with Amazon for my self-published books. That may change though if Amazon’s policies and possibilities outside it shift. I’ll be keeping an eye out, but I’m frankly baffled as to how that path-to-publication for digital books will play out. There’s undoubtedly a game changer being developed out there.

One thing I have noticed is that readers who read a lot (that used to be me, but 2015 kicked my butt) are being presented with new ways to save their dollars, even while being coaxed to spend regularly. Amazon’s $10 a month lending library, Kindle Unlimited, is one example of that (and one which includes all my self-published books). Other book subscription services like Scribd and Oyster took a hit this year, so Amazon reigns supreme.

The other new-to-me dollar saving/spending strategy is BookBub‘s new feature where subscribers can bookmark books they’re interested in, and BookBub will alert them when that book is advertised at a discount price at BookBub. Or, to quote BookBub in their recent email to me:

Dear BookBub Reader,

We’ve picked you to be one of our first readers to try Bookmarks, a new feature that enables you to track books you want to read and get notified when they have a BookBub deal.

Thus, readers willing to commit some time to picking up new books, will probably restructure their book-buying habits to take advantage of similar possibilities elsewhere. BookBub is arguably the biggest and best place for advertising book promotions (from the self-published author’s perspective), so the fact that they’re introducing this feature is significant.

As a consequence, in 2016 it remains vital for authors to have a consistent pricing policy that establishes and respects readers’ expectations.

It’s early Tuesday morning as I write this. I need more coffee! If I think of any other predictions, I’ll add them, but for now, this is it. Do you have any publishing/book predictions for 2016? What are your writing/reading plans for the year?

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