Publishing Trends For Savvy Writers (Feb. 2011):

The publishing world is morphing faster than the Egyptian political landscape. In 2011, writers must be clever at marketing as well as wordsmithing. Here are five cutting-edge publishing trends happening right now.

1. Social Smart Monitoring:
Social networking is so 2010. Blog give-aways and Twitter updates are no longer enough. Thoughtful writers have begun to use social network monitoring to not only judge, but tweak, the impact of their networking.

2. The 6% Conundrum:
Traditional publishers, even the big names, will give a first-time author a cut of only 6-8 percent of the profit from a book (typically). But Amazon will give 66 percent. Both will ask the author to deliver a marketing campaign. Do traditional houses have enough marketing muscle to make them worthwhile in 2011? Is it better to invest years in learning to market yourself, or years trying to catch the eye of a publisher? Answer: In 2011, smart writers are learning to do both.

3. Concrete Digital:
Until now, writers dipping a toe into the watery world of online self-promotion have been able to dabble and experiment. In 2011, writers looking to woo agents and publishers (& readers) will increasingly need to spell out a marketing campaign strategy in concrete terms. More agents are demanding evidence that you can bring a built-in audience to your work. And indie writers are getting serious about how to define success, and build on small wins. Indie writers making money in 2011 will be adept at both writing and hawking their words.

4. Micro Narrative Voice:
Long gone are the days when a great plot sold a book. Now even great writing counts for little. In the new frontier of ebooks, you get a single sentence to win readers. The indie writers who are winning readers and agents have realized that this one sentence -- the click-through summary on the ebook lists -- must demonstrate you have both a great story, and a great storytelling voice.

5. The Crush of Friendly:
For the past several years, amateur writers have been told that blogs are like charm school -- show the world your graces and the world will pay attention. And maybe there was a time when being charming was enough. But now the crush of bloggers trying to win readers by being friendly and entertaining has reached a tipping point. 2011 brings a new focus on being useful. If you have something helpful to say, say it. Otherwise, readers will want you out of the way.  

I’ll take you through an in-depth look at each of these trends, and how you can get in front of them, in the days ahead. -Caleb


  1. Very helpful, as usual, Caleb. [Your anvil says "2010".] : )

  2. Found your blog from a friend, very informative.