It’s hard to believe that 2018 is already over – seems like a blur of a year. Overall, the publishing industry remains relatively healthy and poised for slight growth. However, as we wind down for the holidays, here are my predictions that concern authors and publishers as we head into 2019:
1. Amazon will test the limits of advertising on their website
Amazon already allows authors and publishers to advertise books on their website. It’s a great system that I use myself. However, there are rumors Amazon might remove the “Also Boughts” section from book detail pages in order to display even more advertising.
I’ve heard several authors claim the “Also Boughts” sections have disappeared for their books. This change would mark a disappointing, but expected move, on Amazon’s part. “Also Boughts” act as a built-in recommendation engine that helps authors and publishers make additional book sales from free cross-promotion.
Amazon’s ad revenue surpassed $4.6 billion this year. Still, they are way behind Google ($42 billion) and Facebook ($23 billion) in the online advertising race. So, Amazon will try anything to claim more market share. My concern is that they’ll go too far and wind up diminishing the customer experience and hurting authors. This is a story to watch closely in 2019.
2. Barnes & Noble will continue to shoot itself in the foot
We learned this year this B&N was almost purchased by WH Smith in England. The deal fell through, but it could have transformed the retailer and the publishing industry. As a result, we also learned that internal strife is rampant within the executive ranks of B&N. The company is currently embroiled in a ridiculous lawsuit with their previous CEO, Demos Parneros, and still looking for its fifth new CEO in five years.
B&N finally stopped building new stores with stupid wine bars and other nonsense. They have a great opportunity to offer advertising on their website and improve their customer review system. But, B&N seems content to let Amazon continue grabbing more market share while their executives fight with each other.
3. Self-published authors will continue to capture more sales
Back in April, Jeff Bezos reported that over 1,000 indie authors surpassed $100,000 in royalties via Kindle Direct Publishing in 2017. In 2019, I predict even more self-published authors will exceed that level. For example, superstar indie novelist, Mark Dawson, recently announced that he made over $1 million in KDP author royalties alone this year.
With the aid of Amazon, indie authors will continue to grab more marketshare, especially in e-books. Many fiction genres, such as romance, crime, and sci-fi, are already dominated by self-published writers.
Savvy self-published authors will continue to best many of their traditionally-published peers at reaching new readers, mastering online advertising, and controlling their careers. Plus, they’ll enjoy telling publishers “no thanks” when asked if they’ll return to the traditional world. I predict indie author success stories will become more frequent.
4. Facebook will become a bigger pain in the butt
Facebook made numerous negative headlines this year from apologizing at government hearings, lawsuits over privacy issues, and a major hacking scandal that affected 50 million users. It wasn’t a great year for the company. I don’t see 2019 getting any better.
This past Friday, Facebook admitted that a “bug” could have allowed the private photos from over 6 million users to be exposed. In addition, Facebook’s advertising platform is becoming so gloated that many authors are complaining about lower ROI and disappointing results with recent campaigns. New competitors, such as BookBub ads, could eat into Facebook’s marketshare as authors tire of the company’s high cost and continual antics.
5. 2019 will be a great year for Wildfire Marketing
As 2018 wraps up, I’m already looking forward to next year! We are fresh off launching three books in my new Author’s Guide Series with ideas for more titles. Plus, I’m planning major updates to two online video courses for authors. In addition, consulting projects with A-level authors and publishing houses remain strong. 2019 is lining up to be a banner year for my consulting practice.
Thank you for being a valued reader of my blog. I wish you all the best and hope to be a part of your success in selling a lot of books next year!