I love doing end of the year predictions! It’s so fun to see how far we’ve come and where the industry is going- so without further ado, here are my 22 book marketing predictions for 2022!
1. Audio books
It’s no secret that audio books are booming and will continue to grow as we head into 2022. With audio book revenue has been up 14.3% year over year. Audio books are one of the biggest growing sectors of the publishing industry. But it’s not just audio books, but all forms of audio content.
Spotify joined the ranks this year, as well as Storytell, by offering audio book content. The Digital Public Library of America striking a deal with Amazon to deliver more audio books to libraries.
I believe we’ll see lots of audio-centric content in 2022 and not just full audio books, but audio sampling, etc. In fact, I wrote about this on Spotify – audio snippets of your book blended with music!
What does this mean for you? It means you should consider making all or part of your book into an audio book. While audio books aren’t right for all titles (like books with lots of links and screenshots) most books do very well! But audio books aren’t cheap to create. So if budget is a concern, maybe consider producing audio snippets using the Spotify format linked in the resources below!
2. eBooks continue to grow
All right no surprise here, but what does surprise me is how many authors still don’t have eBook versions of their titles! Especially now with paper shortages and shipping issues plaguing the publishing industry, eBooks are a must. eBook sales have increased 16.5% in the past year. Part of the reason for this growth, is the adoption of more digital content in libraries, too.
If you haven’t released your book or books in electronic format, by all means now is the time.
3. Print books
Yes, there are shortages with paper and issues with shipping, but don’t count print books out just yet because they continue to rebound. According to a recent report in the Hotsheet (and according to AAP) print book sales rebounded nicely over 2020. So while eBooks continue to be popular, print books will continue to grow in popularity as well. A recent report by NPD Bookscan shared that print book sales are up 10.5% over 2020!
If you only have an eBook version of your book, maybe it’s time to consider adding a print book, too. Yes, some genres do much better in eBook, but reader preferences continue to surprise me. So, check your backlist and see if adding some print book versions could help you.
Also keep in mind that releasing new versions of your book allows you to refresh your book marketing, too!
4. Self-publishing keeps growing
To give you an idea of how much this area has exploded, search growth for the term “indie publishing” has grown by 485% in the last five years alone.
We’ve already seen the flood of hybrid publishers enter the market and this trend will continue. Wattpad entered the fray several years ago, but they are really hustling. Wattpad Books and Wattpad Studios are examples of them developing their own movies from content on their site.
We’ll continue to see indie publishing surge in ways that didn’t seem possible almost five years ago, in fact LinchpinSEO shared that 17 out of the top 100 books on Amazon are indie published.
In 2022, I think we’re going to see many of these indie publishing houses becoming more selective and perhaps focusing on specific areas, rather than publishing broadly. I also think we’ll start to see more and more traditionally published authors jumping to indie publishing because they can control so much more around their title, branding, pricing, audio and international rights.
5. More focus on the reader
Maybe this sounds odd, you’re always focused on your reader, aren’t you? Well yes, but also there’s the broad approach of going after wide markets via social media, advertising and the like. More and more publishers and indie authors are beginning to see that direct, relationship marketing has tremendous value and will start to spend more time going directly after readers via email marketing, and direct relationship building.
What does this mean for you? If you haven’t been focusing on your fan base, growing your newsletter list or reaching out to fans directly – now is the time. This is going to become a crucial way to market your books as we get into 2022 and beyond.
6. Subscription and serialization services will continue to grow
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited started this- and audio delivery services like Audible, Storytell, and Spotify are expanding this subscription trend. Publishers are jumping on this, too and we’ll start to see more of that with publishers offering early access to titles and special bonuses to keep readers engaged and subscribed. Serialization is appealing to authors who don’t have the time or a reader base to build the subscription model, and serialization (like the one offered through Kindle Vella) is a great way to give a story a test run, getting a thumbs up from readers helps give the author some direct feedback. But if you want more interaction, jump on over to Radish or Wattpad – their format is different, offering more reader interaction, which a lot of authors love.
In 2022 we’re going to see much more of this, different types of subscription services and more ways to get direct to reader.
When something becomes a buzzword, like “diversity” it seems everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon – and that’s not bad, but often diversity is poorly delivered. There’s a big need for diverse books, characters, and authors – but if you tackle diverse topics and characters, you need to be careful to do it right. Otherwise, you’re just paying lip service to what is really a very important topic.
In 2022 we’re going to see more of this, and I hope more of it done well. So if you’ve wanted to dip into this area, I encourage you to hire a content editor that is versed in diverse topics and issues to help you polish your book. Diversity is still huge, but readers are savvy. Diversity to check a box won’t cut it, but broader representation done well will naturally open up your potential reader market.
8. Books to film
Books to film or series will continue to boom. According to a recent NY Times piece and a recent article in Marie Claire, streaming services produced 532 new television shows. The demand for content is booming. And some books that get picked up aren’t bestsellers, in fact often they aren’t! They’re well-written (obviously) with some reasonable attention, good reviews – but books no longer have to be tapped by any major book club to be considered for online content – though obviously a nod from Reese Witherspoon doesn’t hurt!
9. Pandemic or dysphonia books aren’t welcome by publishers
It’s just too early. Dystopia isn’t a dying market, necessarily – but pandemic related dystopia books just aren’t going to sell. Also, pandemic books in general are a tough sell as well. I don’t think much will change about that in 2022.
10. Get on the Book Series train
If you’re a fiction author, a series is your straightest path to success. According to K-Lytics, which publishes reports on a variety of genre fiction books, series in fiction is almost a must if you want to build your success. If you don’t have a series yet, or haven’t branded your books as a series, you are leaving money on the table. One of the best ways to grow your revenue as a fiction author, is to produce a series.
11. Book Summary Platforms
As we continue to get busier, book summary platforms continue to grow and have had a big impact, in particular, with nonfiction books. Sites like Blinkist, Storyshots, and Instaread all build great subscriber bases with thoughtful, well-produced book summaries. If your book is nonfiction and you’re eager to find new ways to promote it, consider contacting some of these sites to find out what their submission process is like, because book summaries (much like serialization mentioned earlier) are only going to grow in popularity.
12. Video content
This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: video is only going to get bigger in 2022. With sites like Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook and others – video is only getting bigger. In fact according to a recent post by Neal Schaeffer, customers retain 95% of information contained in videos. If that isn’t enough to sell you on adding video to your repertoire of marketing options, I don’t know what is. Short, impactful videos are best!
13. Get Creative with Virtual events (author events, book clubs, Meetups)
When in-person events got pulled in 2020, lots of authors went virtual which is fun and easy (you can do them from home!) but now that events are coming back, many authors are opting to do in-person with an in-store audience and also a livestream on Facebook, which makes the event that much more fun.
I think you’re going to see a lot of events, whether book club Meetups, libraries, etc. now have a virtual element attached to them.
14. Get Virtual Speaking
If you’ve ever wanted to grow your speaker career, now is the time. Conferences have changed the way they present to attendees, offering in-person and virtual options, so if traveling (and the cost of being away from your business) has kept you from focusing on your speaking career, now is the time to change that. As conferences and speaking opportunities come back online in 2022 and beyond, lots of new ways to be a speaker will present themselves!
15. Amazon ads
I know this platform is challenging for the new author, but absolutely make it your goal to learn how to manage ads – or hire someone to do it for you! Amazon ads are crucial to enhancing your visibility – and it’s not just about running ads, but the optimization that you get through Amazon ads will continue to grow in 2022. Amazon is also going to expand their offerings to indie authors, too. They recently launched Brand ads, which is great if you have three or more books out – and I believe in 2022 we’re going to see more ad types offered via the KDP dashboard so get versed on this dashboard now, so you can be ready to expand your book marketing into different ad types.
16. Amazon ads will begin appearing in Google’s search stream
I know that Amazon is experimenting with this, though I don’t know to what degree they are ready to launch it, but Amazon is going to start using their ad platform to dig into Google’s search. So knowing how to run and manage Amazon ads is going to be crucial.
17. Direct Reader Connection
We know it’s important to be able to reach your reader directly, but even more so in 2022 as readers become even more brand loyal. If you haven’t started to build your reader tribe via your newsletter, it’s a good time to start focusing on that in your book marketing strategy.
18. Collaborative marketing between authors
Instead of competition, I see more collaboration and I think for the right set of authors, this can really be a goldmine. You don’t have to overthink this! You might want to start by doing a newsletter swap, or just taking turns sharing another author’s eBook price discounts on your social media feeds. Collaboration between the right set of authors – is going to be a great way to drive fan interest to new titles and authors.
I’ve written a lot about podcasts so I know I don’t need to elaborate on this one too much, but podcasts continue to gain traction- both having one and pitching yourself to one. But before you jump headlong into creating your own podcast, make sure that you really want to, because so few podcasts really succeed. Much like blogging, authors jump on this bandwagon eager to get their own podcast, but then fail to produce enough content to drive interest. Instead, keep an eye out for great podcasts to be featured on, because the interest in audio content is only going to grow in 2022!
20. Your Author Brand
Now more than ever, it’s important to fine-tune your author brand. Readers are brand loyal – and your brand will either pull them in, or discourage them. Whether you know it or not, your brand is telling your reader about you – do you like what it’s saying? As more books are published, your author brand will continue to be an important part of your book marketing efforts.
21. Book editions
I mentioned print books being popular, and eBooks continuing to grow in popularity, but have you ever considered large print editions (which is helpful to get into libraries) or hard cover editions of your book – maybe sold exclusively on your website autographed by authors?
Considering all of your options when it comes to publishing – and this includes audio versions of your books, because so often I see authors leaving money on the table because their book isn’t in a format that the reader prefers. There are a lot of easy ways to get different editions out there, and in 2022 you should consider your reader, what they want – and what you need to do to give it to them in your book marketing approach.
22. Fail fast
When it comes to book marketing and publishing, if you’re going to fail, fail fast. By that I mean, don’t sit around and wait for someone to nudge you into changing your book cover, rewriting your book description, or taking your book down to polish it again. The faster you fix a fail, the faster you will succeed. I saw a lot of this in 2021 and I think in the next year we’re going to see even more authors move through failure (and into success) more quickly. Now, more than ever, there are a lot of options out there to redo projects, book covers, book descriptions, even book titles. Don’t let a bad book launch pull you down, move quickly to fix it – because in the new year (and with all the new competition you’ll face) you don’t want any subpar projects pulling you away from your success.
I hope you enjoyed these book marketing predictions, and maybe even got inspired to work on a few of them in the new year!
Resources and Free Downloads
Articles cited in blog: Trends Transforming The Publishing Industry Outlook In 2022 and The Top 34 Video Marketing Statistics for 2022