Despite the ups and downs of the last few years, the publishing industry isn’t dying—it’s evolving, and fast.
With the rise of self- and indie-publishing, more books are published than ever before. New presses are born, and old ones reshuffle, merge, or die out. Book apps, blogs, and social media sites appear overnight and vanish just as quickly.
Even if you’re an industry insider—a writer, a librarian, a publisher—it’s still hard to keep up.
I recently took a break from the publishing world to finish my last semester of college. When I re-entered the fray, I had no idea what was going on anymore. Amazon opened several new bookstores, the coloring book fad had mostly faded, and everyone was suddenly reading dystopian novels. I needed a few weeks to reorient myself.
We might call all this change “exciting.” We might call it “scary.” Whether your cup is half-full or half-empty, we’re all reading the tea leaves at the bottom, trying to predict what’s going to happen next.
Fortunately, you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself.
I’m lucky because there’s usually a stack of Publishers’ Weekly’s lying around at work— these are great for staying current. If you don’t want to subscribe yourself, you might find recent issues at your public library. Sites like the Independent Booksellers Association (IBPA) have great resources for Indie authors and publishers, including their own magazine.
If you’re completely new to publishing, Jane Friedman’s blog is a great place to start. She covers all the basics, and her newer posts will keep you informed of industry trends. There are also blogs like Book Riot for the readers’ perspective. Not only can you learn what book-lovers are talking about, you can also find great recommendations for yourself!
In time, you’ll find more resources on your own. Maybe you’ll meet people, either online or in real-life, who can answer your questions, or even better, teach you how to answer them yourself.
If you’re new to publishing, or if you’re a writer with a first novel and no idea where to start, don’t get discouraged. Yes, it’s a lot to take in, but you’ll figure it out. Hopefully, after a while, it’ll seem a little less scary and lot more exciting.