Exciting things are going to happen in 2012.
In 2012, the U.S. is electing a new president. The Summer Olympics go to London. The Queen of England celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. And according to the Mayans, the world is going to end.
But what does 2012 hold for authors? We wanted to know so we asked experts from across the book publishing industry. We did not let them see each others predictions so pay attention to the duplicate predictions.
Here’s what they had to say. Feel free to share your predictions in the comments.
2012 eBook Sales
“I believe we will see a steady increase in ebook sales, even on front list titles and it will become an increasingly important facet of a publisher’s strategy.” – Steve Laube, President of Steve Laube Agency.
“eBook sales will double in 2012 from their 2011 numbers.” – Thomas Umstattd, Author Media CEO
“I anticipate that we’ll see the percentage of ebook sales climb from 20-30% of the business to almost 50%.” – Julie Gwinn, Editor B&H Publishing Group
What do you think will happen to eBook sales in 2012?
2012 eBook Wars
“Look for all the major houses to re-gain control of the e-book wars, and begin shifting their publishing models and their economic plans to better reflect the new world of book commerce.” – Chip MacGregor, President of MacGregor Literary Agency.
“I predict that traditional publishing houses will continue to miss the ebook boat and alienate more authors in the process. Theirs is a model that cannot fit the new paradigm, but most have too much invested in the old way to make the sweeping changes they’d need to make in order to survive. So they will keep playing violin as the Titanic goes down.” – Jeff Gerke, Founder of Marcher Lord Press
Who do you think will win the eBook wars?
“I predict that the e-book revolution will continue, with enhanced “transmedia” e-books beginning to become all the rage by the second half of 2012.” – Jeff Gerke, Editor
“I see enhanced eBooks as the next “big thing.” Readers will want to interact with the content, being able to pull up maps, videos, Scripture, resources, etc. as they are reading along.” – Julie Gwinn, Editor, B&H Publishing Group
“I don’t think the technology of eBooks will change significantly in 2012. Enhanced eBooks won’t increase sales enough to justify the cost of production. A few publishers will try them and then abandon the effort after taking significant losses.” – Thomas Umstattd, Author Media CEO
“Someone will develop (and possibly launch) a Web site that rates e-books similar to the way Rotten Tomatoes rates movies. With the explosion of self-published e-books there are too many for the average reader to wade through. If 90% (a made up stat) of self-published e-books are dreck, there is a huge opportunity for a company to become a filter and point readers to the cream.” Jim Rubart, Author & Marketer
“The one change I anticipate is that eBooks will become more social. Soon readers will see their eReaders as places to connect with other book readers. In other words, your Kindle will come with a global book discussion for each book built into the experience.” – Thomas Umstattd, Author Media CEO
eBook Prices & Royalties
“EITHER the Big Six publishers will begin offering standard royalty rates on e-books of at least 40% OR more A-list authors will begin self-publishing e-books.” – Randy Ingermanson, Author
“Big publishing houses will NOT increase eBook royalties.” – Thomas Umstattd, Author Media CEO
“Authors will stop signing contracts that include an exclusivity agreement with their publisher. This isn’t so much a prediction as it is an acknowledgement of what has already happened and that the scales will tip from a few authors self-publishing additional content to add to their traditional output, to the majority of authors. Yeah, I think getting $2.99 of 6,000 book sold rivals getting .80 cents of 20,000 books sold. (Six thousand books at $2.99 = $17,940. 20,000 at .80 cents = $16,000.)” – Jim Rubart, Author & Marketer
“Novice writers will continue to flood the market with inexpensive e-books priced between $0.99 and $2.99. Most of these e-books will continue to not sell very well because the reading public will continue to prefer high quality to low prices.
Traditional publishers will lower their prices on e-books to $9.99, because they’ll realize that earning 70% of $9.99 is better than earning 35% of $14.99. Midlist authors who have been traditionally published in the past and who are now self-publishing e-books will raise their prices to the mid-range ($3.99 to $6.99) so as to avoid being confused with the zillions of low-quality books priced at $0.99 and below. They will find that they sell better at a higher price, as long as they stay a bit below the $9.99 price point that will be favored by traditional publishers.
To summarize: a pricing structure will emerge in which price is proportional to quality. The market will reward books that are priced “correctly” on the price-quality curve and the market will punish those books that are priced either too high or too low.” – Randy Ingermanson, Author
“I predict at least one smaller publishing house will be sold to a new owner. – Steve Laube, Literary Agent
“I predict that freelance book editors, book cover designers, and book marketers will have banner years, as individual authors turn to self-publishing but seek to separate their books from the typical self-published dreck.” – Jeff Gerke, Editor
“I think a lot of the little e-book houses that were fast out of the gate will find themselves squeezed out, bought out, or spent out of existence.” – Chip MacGregor, Literary Agent.
“I predict that more brick and mortar bookstores and chains will fold and/or be purchased. Conversely, I predict a resurgence of indie bookstores springing up to rage against the death of the bookstores, and there will be a proud, underdog rally around these stores. I predict that most of these stores will fold in 12-24 months.” – Jeff Gerke, Editor
“I see publishers moving to be a “service” provider. Focusing on the services they provide (editing, packaging, distribution, marketing) as a way to address the growing trend of self-publishing. I also see Christian publishers searching for quality young adult Christian fiction to try to fill the void left by the Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight and Hunger Games finales.” – Julie Gwinn, Editor
“New micropresses, small presses, and niche presses (like Marcher Lord Press) will meet the needs of many segments of the reading population that are not being served by the increasingly narrow and conservative titles that will be released by the major publishing companies.” – Jeff Gerke
What do you think will happen in the publishing industry in 2012?
Thomas Nelson Acquisition Repercussions
“In 2012 we will get to watch the absorption of Thomas Nelson into the HarperCollins world. And will be watching the implications with Zondervan, the other Christian imprint of Harper. – Steve Laube, Literary Agent
“HarperCollins will lay off 10% of the staff of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.” – Thomas Umstattd, Author Media CEO
What do you think the repercussions will be of the Thomas Nelson acquisition?
“I suspect Amazon will add a religious imprint to their publishing program under which they will go after world famous religious teachers like the Dalai Lama. – Steve Laube, Literary Agent
“Amazon will sign at least 24 more New York Times Bestselling authors into one of their publishing imprints. This will put pressure on the Big Publishing Houses to increase ebook royalties.” – Thomas Umstattd, Author Media CEO
What do you think Amazon will do in 2012?
“New services, sites, and apps will rise up that attempt to do for self-published books what Pandora.com does for musicians. Most of those services, sites, and apps will fail to catch on, but at least one will succeed and have staying power.” – Jeff Gerke, Editor
“Indie publishing will continue to grow and that critics of agents and traditional publishing will get even louder.” – Steve Laube, Literary Agent
“2012 will be the year of the self-publisher, with more authors doing it, more freelancers enabling it, and more people buying it than ever before.” – Jeff Gerke, Editor
“I predict that more self-published authors will rise to prominence (and riches), giving further incentive to other authors to self-publish.” – Jeff Gerke, Editor
“This will be the year of the wider gap between a hobby author and the entre-author. Authors who simply view traditional publishing as the only way to publish, if they have large platforms already, will continue to sell, but may seem some decline in sales. Authors who dabble at writing will see decreased success. And authors who look at their careers as entrepreneurs (Entre-Authors) will thrive in this changing, dynamic publishing paradigm.
Entre-Authors will formulate a cafeteria-plan style of success where they offer products, ebooks, and print books, depending on their own personal strengths and bents. They’ll see change as invitational, not scary or insurmountable. They’ll specialize in social media. Those that do well will learn the art of selling without being creepy or making money an idol to worship.
What do you think will happen in independent publishing in 2012?
Self-publishing and eBooks have already changed publishing. There’s no question about that. In 2012, they are poised to take over. What this means is that authors will have to become even savvier about book marketing. Their author website will become even more important as readers will consume and interact more electronically. In order to succeed, writers will need to know the differences between published and unpublished authors.
Thanks to everyone who sent us their predictions. It’s your turn. What are your publishing predictions for 2012?