The best and worst publishing trends

This is my personal opinion on recent publishing trends. You may or may not agree – let me know in the comments!

The best publishing trends

Self-publishing. Not only is publishing your own work (instead of going through a publishing house) becoming more and more popular, it’s gaining more attention too. I have read some excellent self-published books and of course I have released my own on Amazon.

Diverse representation. I am all in favour of representing as many different kinds of people as possible in both fiction and non-fiction. This educates readers, helps them to feel seen, reflects a variety of cultures and makes the publishing industry more inclusive.

Re-tellings. Classic myths, legends and fairytales are a rich resource for authors wishing to put new perspectives on old stories, most often from a feminist point of view but the possibilities are endless. There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them!

Dystopias. Not exactly a new trend, but it has grown from just a handful of well-known titles to a large category in its own right, independent of science fiction. There are a myriad ways the future can go wrong, so plenty of mileage in this genre yet…

Book bloggers! I’m not just saying this because I’m a book blogger. I’m referring to the way that authors and publishers value the contributions of book bloggers and bookish social media influencers. Blog tours in particular are a great way to promote books.

The worst publishing trends

‘Celebrity’ authors. TV chefs, pop stars, Royals and comedians writing books for children which are then automatically bestsellers, regardless of quality. Children’s publishing is a fiercely competitive market. Why not give writers who aren’t celebrities a chance?

Censorship. The recent uproar about the updating of Roald Dahl books for the sensitivities of today’s audience has suggested to me that we’re at the top of a slippery slope in which new editions of classic books will only be available in censored versions.

Lookalike books. One book becomes very successful and is followed by a flood of books with similar titles and cover designs. Again, not really a new thing and I’m not entirely sure why it annoys me so much, but there we are.

Film/TV tie-ins. The covers for these are almost always dreadful and have stickers that say they’re on Netflix, etc. Even worse are tie-ins with the name of the adaptation rather than the original book title.

Artificial Intelligence. This is a hot topic, as AI is increasingly used to write content, create art and even to narrate audiobooks. Supporters say it’s a tool to help creatives, but in reality it’s a threat to human livelihoods.

16 thoughts on “The best and worst publishing trends”

  1. Agree with almost all of these. I find AI the most worrying. I was completely unaware of it until I saw on twitter that a publication was closed to new submissions due to the sheer volume of AI generated stories they were receiving. Not great for new writers.

    I’m assuming, if it’s not already happening, using AI to write books which are then self published will become the next money making scam.

    1. Thanks for reading! I am no expert in AI matters and to be honest I don’t read much about it because it’s scary. Yes, I expect that’s probably happening already! I guess the question is, what about the quality? If it can’t be distinguished from non-AI books then we have a problem…

    1. Thanks! Yes the celebrity authors… a surefire hit for publishers but real authors lose out!

    1. Thanks! Yes, there must be a lot of work for ghostwriters out there, but I don’t think I could do it.

  2. This is such a great post. I didn’t know that AI is used for narration and only recently heard of its use in creative content. 😮 That’s pretty scary as creativity is just something that machines are not really capable of and it’s a unique thing to humans. I do agree with you on the censorship issues, I was annoyed at Puffin for making special new editions of the work. To this day I wonder if people are actually offended by his books or just worry that people might be offeneded. I also agree that it’s good that self published books are becoming more mainstream and acceptable as equal to trad published titles rather than the poor relation (although there are still some poor quality ones out there). I also have to agree with you on the celebrities. It’s a clever way to create a passive income these days, but I’m quite disappointed by all celebs who decide to even use a ghost writer. If they’re going to write for kids or adults, at least write the book yourself and not just have an idea.

    1. Thanks for reading and your comment! Yes it is getting people talking especially the AI. I think of Puffin/Penguin as one of the most distinguished publishers but really the Dahl issue has made me revise my opinion of them. Certainly a factor of today’s cancel culture. Yes to self published books, you are right there are quite a lot of poor quality ones but I guess that shows the democracy of publishing, anyone has the right to do it 🙂 Agreed also about the celebrities, I suppose I must have read quite a few without knowing if that person actually wrote it or not!

  3. Great post. I tend to agree with the entire list, but AI is especially a worrisome trend. And I admit that I recently dabbled with AI in creating an audiobook. AI voice. It was a (relatively) inexpensive experiment for a budget compromised indie author, and I wrestled with the decision. I’m ultimately disappointed in the final product and feel like I wasted my money. But maybe that’s a good thing.

    1. Hi and thanks for reading! That’s interesting to hear about your audiobook. I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t a success. Did it just not sound quite human or had the right emotions etc?

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