As we leave 2022, let’s look ahead to the major issues that will affect authors and publishers in 2023. Here are five predictions for the coming year that deserve your attention:
1. Artificial intelligence will affect writing and editing
If you weren’t aware, new artificial intelligence, such as the ChatGPT chatbot, has the power to write complete essays on complex topics in a matter of minutes. Shrewd students are already using this technology to cheat and write papers for their classes – much to the dismay of their teachers.
Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised if artificial intelligence creeps into publishing to take over traditional functions, such as editing or foreign translation work. Heck, some lazy writers may turn to AI as a crude method to generate new story ideas.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. AI can help both authors and publishers save time and money by completing repetitive tasks much faster and cheaper. Humans will still be needed to approve final manuscripts and sell books. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if a symbiotic relationship with AI comes to publishing much sooner than expected.
2. Big publishers will face more labor discontent and diversity demands
Top headlines of 2022 included layoffs at multiple publishing houses followed by worker discontent and a demand for greater diversity within the industry. For example, hundreds of unionized employees at HarperCollins Publishers went on strike in November and have worked without a contract since April. The union has garnered support from top agents and authors across the industry. If the HC union strike is successful, we could see more employees fighting with their publishers, which might upset the balance of power and affect the production cycle and timeline of new book releases.
However, the good news is that many of the disgruntled employees are using their voice to call out inequalities within publishing, such as racial bias regarding salaries, low pay for entry-level workers, and the industry overall being “too white.” As these issues are addressed, the future of publishing could get brighter for coming generations.
3. Amazon may become its own worst enemy
Speaking of worker discontent, Amazon is dealing with employees staging protests throughout the company against unfair labor practices, layoffs, and working conditions. In addition, the company wound up with too many warehouses and is looking to shed the excess costs and lease expenses. Worse, high inflation and a slowing economy are causing Amazon’s growth to stagnate and their stock price to plummet.
Yet, Amazon still has no real competition when it comes to selling books. They are, by far, the dominant retailer and should maintain that position in 2023. However, most empires crumble from within. If Amazon is unable to maintain worker satisfaction, they could wind up becoming their own worst enemy.
Fortunately, authors have no need to fear the 800-pound gorilla. Jump on its back and ride it to success by using all of the new marketing tools that Amazon recently released, especially their new tracking tool called Attribution Tags.
4. TikTok could get banned and decrease U.S. book sales
Last year, the Chinese-based social media app, TikTok, made headlines by helping drive discovery and sales in America for books in the Young Adult, Romance, and Science Fiction genres. Numerous authors, such as Colleen Hoover, experienced a windfall of royalties when their titles were picked as fan favorites in viral videos with the hashtag “#BookTok.” Retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, reported higher sales by jumping on TikTok book trends in their stores.
However, the TikTok book party may soon be over. As we enter 2023, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, have been accused of lying about China’s access to American user data, pushing pro-Beijing content abroad, and spying on Western journalists. These allegations have led the U.S. government to consider banning TikTok within America. It’s going to be an interesting fight with ramifications on the way that books are discovered, especially among younger readers.
My bet is that the various sides will attempt to negotiate a deal where an approved version of the TikTok app is stripped away from China in order to appease U.S. Congressional leaders and prevent a mutiny among teenagers. This will be an issue to watch closely.
5. Authors will increase their sales by following this newsletter
My final prediction of 2023 is that you will gain helpful information and techniques needed to increase your book sales by being a valued subscriber to this newsletter.
I appreciate the time you take to read my weekly articles, and I’ve got a lot of exciting new instruction for authors coming soon.
I believe this is the greatest time in history to be a writer.
Here’s to our best year yet together!