41 Predictions for Publishing in 2015

Crystal Ball on an Open Book

What’s going to happen in the publishing industry in 2015? Come take a look.

It is my custom each New Year to make as many predictions as I can for the coming year, as it pertains to the publishing industry. I do this to try and beat my competition to the coming trends, then I do something stupid–I post them on Twitter and here on my blog.

I have a pretty good track record with my predictions. I try to be as far out there as possible, rather than stating the obvious, so sometimes my predictions are a bit controversial. Still, if my predictions were the same as everyone else’s, Flying Pen Press would never get the competitive edge it needs to keep growing as it has. I come up with these predictions by watching trends in other industries and in the marketplace. I search what is beginning to trend in music, TV and movies, and what people in the zeitgeist are chatting and hashing about. Or just gut instinct. Don’t ask for any documented basis for these predictions, because there ain’t any. At best, these are educated guesses.

So, without further ado, or perhaps one more ado, I give you my 41 predictions for publishing in 2015. If you have any questions, comments, snide remarks or attaboys, please post them in the comments section.

The one more ado: Those projects that I intend to actively pursue when it comes to reviewing submissions are noted in parentheses. Authors and gamesters, please take note.

David Rozansky’s Predictions for Publishing in 2015

  • Prediction 1: Prepper Fiction. This new genre is a fad that will last only as long as the Ebola scare lasts. It has a very limited market. (So, authors, I am obviously not interested in publishing Prepper Fiction)
  • Prediction 2: Paper-mill and book-bindery closures will accelerate at an alarming rate. Print runs will go up in price accordingly.
  • Prediction 3: Obama-bashing books will proliferate in the fall. Duh. (But I am not interested in seeing such books. I consider my political party to be “The Liberal Media,” and I am not interested in NeoCon-leaning manuscripts.)
  • Ernest Hemingway in his boat in Cuba, ca. 1950

    Yes, I’m interested in finding Cuban literature, especially if it’s a lost manuscript by Ernest Hemingway. Call me first!

  • Prediction 4: As US-Cuba relations normalize, a surge of interest in Cuban literature (fiction and non), with ancillary interest in Caribbean literature, will arise. (I’m very keen on seeing submissions from Cubano and Caribe writers, for Flying Pen Press in general, or as a potential title for The Press for Humanitarian Causes.)
  • Prediction 5: Technology, recession and activism will collide in China, forcing the nation to allow free press and free speech, per se, thanks to indie POD and e-book publishing and underground internet access. (Any books by Chinese dissidents, whether or not this prediction comes true, are suitable for The Press for Humanitarian Causes.)
  • Prediction 6: Hard science fiction will see another revival, while fantasy genre will decline, as is normal in a quickly-growing tech-driven economy. (I am always interested in science fiction. While fantasy may be harder to sell this year, I’m still interested in it.)
  • Prediction 7: As US and European economies go different directions, so will genre trends in those regions.
  • Prediction 8: Self-published books will rule the bestseller lists for a short time, probably in summer, as authors become more marketing-savvy in a freelance economy.
  • Prediction 9: The subscription model of ebook distribution will see a sharp rise in consumer participation. Self-published authors will receive the lion’s share of royalties.
  • Prediction 10: A new business model of free, ad-supported ebooks and POD books will break onto the publishing scene. As noted in many industry surveys this year, no price break outsells “free.” (We may pursue this model. Interested advertisers, please contact me.)
  • Prediction 11: The idea of a reader-published book will take hold, albeit among a small audience.
  • Prediction 12: Print-on-demand of “mass-paperback” sized books will become available and competitive as pulp prices rise. (I am so ready for this! We will do “pocketbook editions” of our entire title list when it happens.)
  • Prediction 13: Barnes and Noble, freed of the Nook division, will turn to onsite print-on-demand technology in a large number of stores.
  • Prediction 14: Amazon will face a field of determined brick-and-mortar booksellers who will find ways to outmaneuver the online giant. (I would love to hear from stores that have had such ideas, and I have quite a few strategies in mind myself, free for the asking.)
  • Prediction 15: Translation technology is improving. Soon, high-quality self-translation editions will be available from indie authors who already have worldwide distribution capabilities.
  • Prediction 16: There will be an abundance of writers’ co-ops and joint-publishing endeavors, sometimes involving agents, book-marketing professionals or small publishers. (I’d start a writers’ cooperative in Denver, if anyone is interested, and I am always open to joint-publishing endeavors.)
  • Prediction 17: Gas prices and air fares will continue to drop. The travel industry will enjoy a bump. Watch for more travel writing. Travel guides, however, will remain overrun by travel apps. (I always seek unusual travelogues and travel guides for our travel imprints, Traveling Pen Press and Flying Pen Press Travel Guides.)
  • Marijuana Nation by Roger Roffman

    Meet the new genre in America. Gonzo journalists, go forth and write!

  • Prediction 18: Books on marijuana use and gardening, as well as cannabusiness and pot reform, will go mainstream, especially in states where medical and recreational marijuana are now legal. (We at Flying Pen Press struggled with the decision to open a marijuana-related imprint for the Colorado marijuana users and ganjaprenuers market, expecting the nationwide boom, but we’re all a little too straight-laced to know what we would be doing in that genre, so we’ve passed on pot books.)
  • Prediction 19: Publishers, agents and authors will turn to documented “content marketing strategies” to be successful. Books will increasingly engage web, social, game and video inter-licensing. (A content marketing strategy plan would impress me greatly in any book proposal or query.)
  • Prediction 20: Expect a desktop book machine that can print, trim and bind a bookstore-quality book from a ream of copier paper and cardstock.
  • Prediction 21: Tabletop games have been making a big comeback, and Kickstarter has financed many new role-playing games. This field is poised for explosive revival, including tie-in novels. (I am always interested in adding to our Game Day imprint with game books and books about games. We are ready to publish and market role-playing games in book form. We are open to any tie-in novel licenses. If you would like us to create a series of novels around your game, please contact me.)
  • Prediction 22: Millennials don’t do business the same old way, and with a good economy, crowdfunding, and a freelance mentality, watch for a new wave of business books for “Millennipreneurs.” (I am interested in publishing Millennipreneur titles, to launch our business imprint, Flying Piggybank Press.)
  • Prediction 23: Collectable card games that use print-on-demand and automated-content technology. That leads to strategy books, collecting guides, and tie-in novels. (I am ready to dip my toe in print-on-demand card games, collectable or otherwise, and our Game Day imprint is always looking for books about such games, such as strategy books or card price guides.)
  • Prediction 24: 3D printers will adversely affect the miniatures-games industry, as miniatures become more easily produced to custom specifications–and pirated in violation of copyright. (Should I ever see a submission for a game book or card game that uses 3D-printed miniatures, it’d be considered avidly for our Game Day imprint.)
  • Prediction 25: As the economy grows, so will small-business guides and investment books.( We are always seeking new titles to launch our business-books imprint, Flying Piggybank Press.)
  • Mona Lisa Bwefore an Admiring Crowd

    We will never look at Mona Lisa the same way, ever again.

  • Prediction 26: “Puzzle” mysteries that incorporate websites and social media, a la Dan Brown and Brad Meltzer, will see strong demand from readers. (Oh, yes, I am very interested in hearing from you, if you are an author shopping just such a book!)
  • Prediction 27: Success will come to books that incorporate video and social media in big ways, as in Big 5 + Big Media + Big Social + Amazon.
  • Prediction 28: Lightning Source has been developing POD facilities based on “No one on the planet more than 2-days shipping distance.” Those plans will bear fruit. A China-plant plan is inevitable.
  • Prediction 29: There will be a trend for bloggers to use book excerpts in regular posts, as visitors now prefer long copy over short copy. (Bloggers needing excerpts or serial rights to any of our titles, please contact me.)
  • Prediction 30: The next “web book” experience will be crowd-authoring of books that will enter the book trade. It will inspire a new discussion about copyright. (If given half a chance and half a minute, I will experiment with this concept. I’m not yet sure how to handle the copyright issue, though.)
  • Prediction 31: Diversity in Publishing is a hot topic, especially in light of racial tensions in many of our communities. There will be highly-regarded advances towards this goal. (Flying Pen Press is an equal opportunity publisher. Our non-profit humanitarian imprint, The Press for Humanitarian Causes, encourages all those who are oppressed or in need of a voice, to submit their work, any way that they can. Our profits from their books are donated to NGO and UN humanitarian organizations that work in related areas.)
  • Prediction 32: Millennial readers are not kids anymore. They long for ’90s Nostalgia in their products, including novels. (I’d be interested in seeing queries for novels set in 1990-Y2K. Yuck, typing “Y2K” on New Year’s still gives me the heebie-jeebies.)
  • Prediction 33: Amazon will open a new style of bookstore that will feel like an Apple Store, a POD Book-Production plant, a Walmart Online-Order Pickup Counter and a Starbucks. With drones.
  • Prediction 34: Millennials now have careers and families. They no longer support the “New Adult” genre, which will fade as a stated genre of books. (But I’d look at a well-written New Adult novel. I just won’t call it “New Adult.”)
  • Ruth Fielding series of books

    Thank you, Miss Emerson! May I have another?

  • Prediction 35: I call it “bookleaping”: in-book purchasing links, for the next book in the series or by the same author, to keep readers tuned in to the brand. (If you follow me on Twitter or on my blog, you know I’m all for this).
  • Prediction 36: With the success of subscription bookselling, and the ease of running such a service, watch for author-run subscription programs, especially among indie authors who will do in-book marketing of such services. (Hmm, I’d better start subscription plans for each upcoming line of titles. Definitely for the Shakespeare Retold series. Which reminds me, we need novelization authors for Shakespeare Retold, a series that novelizes Shakespeare’s plays starting in 2015.)
  • Prediction 37: Google Glass seems like a dead fad, but it’s not. Watch for Google Glass ebooks and reading apps.
  • Prediction 38: Look for writers’ incubators, a form of writers’ co-op with coaching and office and marketing services. They may be run by publishers, agents, writers’ groups or even booksellers. Think of these as everlasting writer retreats, but somewhere nearby. (Heck, I’d love to have Flying Pen Press run a writers’ incubator in Denver, as we could use new office space ourselves.)
  • Prediction 39: Parents now bring educational websites, software, playgrounds and books into their kids’ home life. STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) textbooks for Juvenile or Young-Adult leisure reading will trend as a named subgenre. (I’d be interested in seeing queries for these types of books, but we will not actively seek them out.)
  • Prediction 40: Novel excerpts will be available in restaurants as free (but sponsored) selections on table-side tablets. Downloaded ebooks can be added to the bill.
  • Prediction 41: I don’t expect this to be a big trend, but I envision a “book bar” or “reading lounge” where book clubs and wine are served up in a small lounge-like space. Perhaps a bookstore expansion. Like bookstore coffee shops, but with wine. Wine paired with any kind of social experience is going to be hot in 2015.

So there you have it, for better or worse. The future is here, Happy New Year!

Where do you agree or disagree? What is your prediction for publishing in 2015?

Photo Credits

  • Crystal Ball on Book: Judy ** via photopin cc
  • American Author Ernest Hemingway aboard his Yacht around 1950: Public Domain, Owned by John F. Kennedy library – Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. Via Wikipedia.
  • Marijuana Nation by Roger Roffman (Pegasus, 2014, ISBN 9781605985466) as displayed at Amazon.com.
  • Mona Lisa and the Crowd: simenon via photopin cc
  • Ruth Fielding Series of Books: zoom in tight via photopin cc

About David Rozansky

Publisher of Flying Pen Press; Author's Business Manager; Author of Fishnets & Platforms: The Writers Guide to Whoring Your Book; Aviator; Author; Adventurer.
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