Best Publishing Trends for Self-Published Authors to Explore in 2023

It’s (almost) 2023, and most Americans are finally getting back to pre-pandemic life. But the lingering effects of the pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and play — even the way we read and access books. 

For authors and self-publishing companies, it’s changed the game altogether. After a whopping 777% increase in book sales at the start of 2020, that number was set to follow an upward trajectory into 2021. And by the end of 2021, book sales were up by 12.3%, resulting in a total dollar amount of $29.33 billion — setting an all-time record high for the industry.

While more Americans were turning to audiobooks, online subscriptions, and digital versions of books in 2021, print books continued to outsell all other formats 4 to 1 in 2022.

So what does this mean for authors looking to self-publish new books in 2023 and beyond? 

Be it building an online presence, utilizing newcomer social media platforms, investing in artificial intelligence, or including more diverse characters and perspectives, here are the upcoming 2023 publishing trends for the new year — and how to navigate the changing industry.  

Author Platform and Online Presence is Important 

A great book cover and traditional book marketing efforts just won’t cut it when it comes to finding new readers in 2023. Self-published authors need an established online platform across multiple digital channels.

Through an author website, your social media channels, or even articles or podcasts, the more information and content connected to you, the easier it is for your readers to find you.

We suggest first setting up a home base with your own website through a platform like Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace. You can link to your work, a personal blog, and any social media you’d like to connect to your readers on.

Next, hop on BookTok. Since 2020, the phenomenon of short informational videos about books has blown up among young and adult readers alike. 

The impact of BookTok — which has accumulated over 34 billion views — has been so immense, that 59% of young people now consider themselves passionate readers, thanks to the trend-turned-online book club. 

Self-published authors are also continuing to follow self-publishing trends, opting to market themselves through their own viral videos while young TikTok influencers are promoting stories they connect to. Large players like Barnes & Noble even have their own BookTok page with all the books trending on the platform. 

While other veteran social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are anticipated to remain popular in the author community, Twitter, which has been considered the go-to hub for most writers and publishers over the last 10 years, may likely be replaced by Hive or Mastadon. 

As these two newbies begin to pave their way in the social media world, authors who choose to self-publish should take advantage early by carving out a name and presence for themselves as they gain headway — and users. Coupling popular marketing trends with a platform helps bring readers to your platform and entices them to connect with you.   

Publishing companies are aware of this growing trend as well. Authors with well-developed platforms are more appealing to literary agents and publishers because they have more connectivity with their audiences.

Audiobooks and Podcasts are on the Rise

Audiobook sales soared by 320% in 2021. In 2022, they were the fastest growing segment in the digital publishing sphere. 

Whether it’s sheer curiosity or the ease with which readers can consume a story, all of this demonstrates that readers are still engaging with content through digital mediums. Millennials and Gen Xers are among the most avid listeners. 

Celebrities like Seth Rogen have continued to propel the popularity of audiobooks by narrating their own memoirs. His book enlisted the casting of 80 other narrators — names like Nick Kroll, Dan Akroyd, Snoop Dog, and Billy Idol — showing readers that a novel can also be enjoyed as audio content.

This sentiment also holds true for podcasts, which had an estimated 424.2 million listeners worldwide in 2022, which equated to 20.3% of internet users.

Authors can also “double-dip” and narrate their books and create a podcast. The most notable among them is Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek and host of The Tim Ferriss Show.

A podcast need not be related to your book(s), but it helps if you choose a topic that you’re well-versed in and can build a following for.

One Indie author who really knows how to build a following is Dale L. Roberts. He has positioned himself as a great resource for other self-published authors through his YouTube Channel about all things self-publishing.

Just like with your author platform, if you build it, they will come!

AI is Here to Stay

Artificial intelligence is everywhere — information technology, marketing, finance and accounting, customer service, and online streaming platforms. In the last decade, publishers have also adopted AI for a plethora of applications.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean robots will be writing books or impacting how you publish your book. While its application has been highly successful within the world of journalism, publishing companies are now using it to generate blog posts promoting authors and content based on human-generated ideas. 

AI is also capable of summarizing whole manuscripts, helping PR experts and designers better determine how to represent a book. It can also be used to detect writing style and translate your story into other languages.

Authors can anticipate new creative, AI based tools in the future, so it’s safe to say that AI is here to stay, and it will become more present in the publishing world in the years to come. 

A Continued Call for Diversity

2020 opened the door to more conversations on race, gender, identity, and culture. There was a public cry for diversity in all sectors, but the publishing industry was specially called out. 

Non-white and non-cis readers want to see themselves represented in the stories they’re reading. Children and teens also expressed their hopes for more representation. Non-binary children in particular continue to find it hard to see themselves in the literature they’re reading in school and at home.

Today, the landscape is becoming more diverse. This comes in many forms — from BIPOC authors publishing new works to representing more diverse characters in children’s books. This includes LGBTQIA+ and disabled writers as well.

Progress is coming, but there’s still work to do. 

At PufferPrint, we’re thrilled to support Row House Publishing, a brand new publishing company that prioritizes underrepresented voices. As we move forward and educate ourselves about the experiences of others, we’ll continue to see diverse voices rise to the top.

For inspiration, add these non-binary writers of color to your reading list >

Dabble in New Genres 

In 2022, young adult fiction saw the biggest sales increase, with unit sales jumping 30.7%.  Like PufferPrint author, Halie Fewkes and her Secrets of the Tally series. Thanks to BookTok, YA fiction grew by 50% in 2022, continuing on an upward trend all year. 

In 2022, books with themes of inclusion and friendship, environmental conservation, social justice, self-esteem, and self-reliance have performed well. As demand for diversity continues in publishing, likely into 2023 and beyond, children’s authors are delivering stories that represent children of all communities. 

Sensitivity readers continue to help authors pinpoint any inaccuracies in terms of culture and representation. These readers also help catch stereotypes, politically incorrect language, and bias. 

Storytelling that opens the opportunity for dialogue with the younger generation, will thrive especially as children and teens become more educated on societal and environmental issues. 

While children’s books sales are expected to grow in 2023 and beyond, the graphic novel sales continue to increase year-by-year, demonstrating just how successful the market is for our younger readers. 

Outside of children’s books, other genres that saw a surge in sales in 2022, and are expected to continue that trajectory in 2023, are religious/spiritual, political, autobiographies/memoirs, self-help/philosophy, and business/economics. 

What Will You Publish This Year?

Keeping up with the newest trends and paying attention to self-publishing tips can help you succeed in publishing your next book in 2023. With information on what’s up-and-coming combined with a great manuscript, you’ll sell more books!

We’re honored to provide you with premium book printing as well as assist you with the complicated process of how to market your self-published books. When it comes to the fine print, leave it to us!

Learn more and get a quote for your self-published project today >

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *