I realized the other day that just 100 years ago, we were still marveling at steam energy. The first cars had been invented, but they weren't popular or very affordable, and man had only just learned that he could fly. Today I walk around with a computer in my pocket, and I'm totally allowed to vote in all elections. Life has changed a lot in the last century, and it's going to keep changing in the next year. So what can you expect from the world of self-publishing? I'm going to make a few predictions.
Into the Future
Lots of things can happen in just one year. In 2013, a new Pope was elected. Eric Snowden broke the NSA scandal and promptly fled to Russia. The Chinese landed on the moon (not the whole country, just the Yutu rover). A future King was born (Prince George of Cambridge). And self-publishing boomed, with more than 100,000 new titles published.
New electronics devices and software programs have made it possible anyone to read anything at any time. The wide availability of ebooks has made it possible for more authors to publish titles than ever. So where will we go from here?
The Guardian predicts that self-help books will gain ground in the self-publishing industry in 2014. I predict that of this genre, self-help books that offer tips for self-publishing will be the biggest sellers.
Forbes says authors should prepare for even more independent ereaders and ereader apps to hit the market. This may create more formatting nightmares for indies.
Digital Book World made one of the boldest predictions for 2014: Barnes & Noble will close. Now that the Kindle Fire is available, the Nook is failing in the popularity contest and Amazon is far outselling B&N's ebook store. Nook is losing money, and businesses don't like to lose money.
And I predict that reading will become much more social in 2014. Let us not forget that Amazon purchased Goodreads in 2013, and so far hasn't changed a lot on the site. I think they're waiting for the new year. Look for lots more integration between Amazon and Goodreads in the year ahead, with lots of links to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The ebook market came very close to matching the traditional book market in 2013, in terms of the number of books published. Perhaps 2014 can become the year of the indie author, when we become the majority and the traditionally published writers turn into a fringe group.
Self-publishing in 2014 will require what all good publishing needs: strongly-edited and well-written works, with splashy but tasteful covers and catchy blurbs. Here's hoping that you get all of that in the year ahead.