Book publishing predictions for 2020

When I first attended what is now Book Expo America at McCormick Place in Chicago in the early ’80s, there was no need for book publishing industry predictions. Year after year, decade after decade, it was pretty much same old, same old.

Not anymore.

Thanks to technology that’s continually evolving and innovating, the industry has had more change in the past decade than it’s had in the previous century.

Authors need to know what’s happening

As a result, authors need to know what’s happening . . . and about to happen. Book publishing industry knowledge can – and should – guide author career decisions.

To help you see what’s coming at the start of this new decade, I’ve researched predictions made by reputable organizations and businesses. I’ve linked to all of them below so you can benefit from their wisdom. I’ve also pulled out a few highlights that I don’t want you to miss.

Here are their predictions:

Book publishing predictions for 2020 from the experts

Here’s some of what struck me in the predictions.

Authors as business owners

Orna Ross predicts that “we will see more and more authors come to understand how self-publishing changes them from being professionals who write to being business owners who write and publish.”

I’m glad she thinks this will happen because some of us have been telling authors for years that in order to succeed, they have to act like business owners. Authorship is a business.

Yes, there’s a place for the hobbyists. But if you want to build a following, sell books, and earn money from your book, you need to accept that you now own a publishing business. I’m glad it might actually become a trend this year.

Indies will collaborate

More indie authors will collaborate on marketing, predicts Clayton Noblit. He references email list swaps in particular.

I hope he’s right. In my experience, authors remain reluctant to build email lists. Perhaps they’re intimidated by the technology. Maybe they don’t know how to use a list. (Should I create a course on this? Tell me in a comment!)

I’d love to see authors partnering more and competing less.

Chain stores will go away

Richard Eoin Nash, like so many others, believes that brick-and-mortar chain stores will disappear. He’s probably right, but I’d hate to see my Barnes & Noble ride off into the sunset.

More authors will turn to professionals

The Issuu predictions include one saying that authors and other content creators will move away from the “I can do it all myself” model. They’re realizing that the D-I-Y approach results in “a lot of poorly produced and edited e-books.”

Poorly produced books hurt the self-publishing segment. Here’s to fewer of them in 2020 and beyond. Fewer bad books will allow more of the superior books to shine through.

Audiobooks stand out

One prediction in particular that meshes with my experience as a reader is Noblit’s on audiobooks continuing to gain popularity.

Audiobooks have rocked my world. I can move through a book a week because I listen while exercising, driving, and cooking. It’s clear that this format is catching on with other book lovers, too.

In 2020, more publishers and authors will take advantage of this trend. If you’re one of them, check out Derek Doepker’s do-it-yourself program, Audiobooks Made Easy (I’m a fan, so I’m a compensated affiliate). You’ll learn about the tools you need to create an audiobook and how to use them to create a quality product.

If you’ve already taken advantage of this trend and have an audiobook available, be sure to read “How to promote your audiobook.” Narrator and promoter Karen Commins’s tips will help make sure you’re focused on the right activities.

What are your predictions?

Which of the predictions here or at the four articles linked to above resonate with you?

What will you be doing differently in 2020? Do you see that in the predictions?

What industry change would you like to see this year?

Please share your plans and predictions in a comment! 

Tip of the Month

authorgraphI like to share a “Tip of the Month,” a free resource or tool for authors, on the last Wednesday of the month.

This month, it’s Authorgraph, an online service that lets you “sign” e-books.

Because you sign each book individually as you receive requests, you can write something different (if you want) for everyone who makes a request. So, while you might write something generic for a stranger, you can write something personal when you get a request from someone you know.

The Authorgraph isn’t inserted in the e-book, though. Instead, it’s created as a separate document. This allows readers to create an Authorgraph collection.

Learn more and sign up at Authorgraph.com.


Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


  1. Thank you as always Sandra for such wealth of knowledge, experience and technical guidance. In response to your invitation to leave a comment, mine is that this year the two main things I am going to do differently are:

    1. Get a legal framework, Terms and Conditions, drawn up by a solicitor to have always at my side. Because of the nature of my work as an author (I create educational comic books about subjects such as climate change, sustainability and environment), I am about to go into partnership with an educational venture with potential impact for my sales at a global level, so I need to make sure I have my terms and conditions ready, for things such as intellectual property and what I can and cannot do within any given third party agreement.

    2. I am starting to plan and research my next book, a sequel to the one I published last year, but this time I will start promoting and marketing it even before it exists! Tools such as Bublish book bubbles will help me do this.

    Best, Alan

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Alan. I’m sure you’ll have your solicitor review any necessary contracts related to the planned partnership, too. You’re wise to involve a professional.

      I like that you’re going to start promoting your next book before the publication date. It’s all about building your platform, and you clearly know that. I hope you enjoy the process!


  2. Lots of good omens!

    I am praying that indie authors will collaborate more with each other.
    I also agree that becoming more like business owners is a great move for authors. My vow in 2020 is to capitalize on my writing to propel my business interests.

    Thanks for your great insights, as always!

  3. Orna Ross is a wonderful advocate for being business-like in our author activities, and it seems Issuu feel the same way, on the need to get the right people involved to create a quality product.

    I love the idea of more collaboration: with some readers getting through 1-2 books every week, there is no way a single author would ever satisfy the demand, and working together is both fun and effective.

    Since you ask about our own predictions, I wrote this piece to call out the trends I’m seeing (or hoping to see!) in author websites:

    Thank you for gathering these industry viewpoints.

    1. I love your author websites predictions post, Pauline! I have a few thoughts that I’ll post in a comment there, but I’ll confess that as you can see, I have a sidebar that I’m attached to! I’ll explain why…first, it offers a visible home for the site’s many accolades. More than that, though, as a user, I don’t like the current non-sidebar designs. I’m finding blogs in the new wide-screen format with text written in headline-size fonts that force me to pull back from the screen, then scroll…and scroll…and scroll. It’s too much work and it interferes with my comprehension, to be honest. (I also know that I have to be mindful of what works for my readers, not myself.)

      Thanks for your feedback on my post and the link!


Leave a Reply

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