Sunday, April 22, 2018

What Lies Ahead? Jeffe's Five Predictions

A panorama of Santa Rosa Lake, New Mexico (and surrounds).

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Trend Change: What shifts in the world of writing are you noticing? (Craft, Sales, Publishing, Tech, etc.)

Here's my five!

1. Craft

I think we're going to be seeing greater emphasis on craft. Following the market glut of frequent sequels and stuffed books created for Kindle Unlimited bait, I see readers growing more discerning about looking for the "good stuff." Self-publishing has aged into being an almost universally recognized publishing choice - but with that has come decreased tolerance for anyone doing it on the cheap. There's no excuse for slapped-together covers and poorly edited or formatted books, not when so many authors are putting out books indistinguishable from traditionally published ones. With more and more self-published books reaching award-nomination notice, craft will again become a key quality in a story, rather than low price point or shock value.

2. Sales

We all saw sales take a major nosedive with the 2016 election and ensuing dumpster fire in the US. Thankfully that seems to be rebounding. At least for sales of self-published books, and for those that meet a reasonable quality standard. I'm hopeful that the Amazon sweeps to clear out KU scammers will help restore discoverability of books so that readers are actually seeing relevant books.

3. Publishing

Traditional publishers have been offering fewer contracts for straight-up romance and I think that will continue to decline. Self-publishing and digital publishers like Amazon's Montlake imprint have created a glut of inexpensive romance books so that traditional publishers are simply not seeing the profit margins on the genre that they used to. On the other hand, I think traditional publishers are more and more excited about other genres with romance elements.

4. Tech

I'm wondering how many indie and hybrid authors will start moving to selling books directly from their own websites. The tech is there, as is the incentive to diversify from Amazon. I'm looking at doing this myself.

5. Etc.

We may have passed the self-publishing gold rush boom - but we're also emerging from the bust. Things are beginning to level out and a LOT of authors are establishing relatively stable incomes from hybrid efforts. Traditional publishers are recognizing that their authors will be also self-publishing and they're accommodating those efforts in contracts and in promotions.

I expect things to continue to improve for authors, which means all you readers should be golden!


  1. It's been interesting, from a reader standpoint, to see the change self-publishing has gone through over the years. And I'm a HUGE fan of the hybrid authors ;) because I want to read their books, all the time, and trad publishing is more restricted as to how many they can produce with one person. So I'm glad to hear traditional publishers are accommodating with their contracts!

    1. I'd be very interested to know what you observed!

  2. Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up, you nailed it with the comment on craft emphasis. I'd love to talk about the self-pub trend over wine in Denver! ;)