December 2019 Writers’ Forum


The 10 Major Publishing Trends of 2019

Small Bookstores Are Booming After Nearly Being Wiped Out


The 10 Major Publishing Trends of 2019

Emily Harstone narrows down the publishing trends of 2019 for the Authors Publish newsletter.  Three of the trends are quite interesting to read more about:

“The euphoria of self-publishing has worn off”

“Agents are increasingly unlikely to take on first books” and

“Ebook Publishing, in general, seems to have stabilized.”

This is a good read that may help guide some of your 2020 decision making as an author. 

Small Bookstores Are Booming After Nearly Being Wiped Out

Jill Schlesinger from CBS News shares this positive report, which echoes other reports that successful small bookstores are capitalizing on what they do best—superior customer service, engaging in the community, and curating content. Read it HERE.

Small Bookstores are Booming After Nearly Being Wipes Out - Learn why along with other publishing news on the Writers' Forum

More from the Publishing Industry

A Look Back at Self-Publishing in 2019

Orna Ross for the Alliance of Independent Authors gives an incredibly detailed analysis of the indie-pub world in 2019, covering changes and trends in topics such as eBook and Print Distribution, new Audiobook Distribution options, Marketing, and New Technologies. If you’re an independently published author or checking out your options, please take a moment to catch with this good analysis.

How One Bestselling Indie Author Became a Book Box Entrepreneur

How a Famous Author Became a Book Box Entrepreneur - That and more publishing news on the Writers' ForumWell, this is fun! I finally get to talk about Colleen Hoover here on the Writers’ Forum. Colleen Hoover is one of my fav authors. Seriously, she is awesome—for so many reasons. She was a social worker when she penned a story she had no intention of publishing. (If I’m remembering correctly, she was writing it in her downtime while waiting for her son at a play practice and then sharing her chapters with her co-workers, who encouraged her to finish and publish.) “Slammed” ended up becoming a bestseller as an independently published novel and Hoover has gone on to have traditional publishing contracts. After many books, she continues to be a wildly popular author. Now, on to the recent article on the BookLife website. Hoover (along with her family—particularly her two sisters) have created Bookworm Box, a monthly book subscription box. The after-cost proceeds go to charity. Hoover has taken this one step further and the Bookworm Box team and many, many volunteers host a giant (seriously GIANT) author signing event each year called Book Bonanza. The proceeds from this event also go to charity. I was able to attend this year and couldn’t believe how well-run this 150+ author, 2500+ attendee, 3-day event was. Wow!

On Writing

How to Ride the Publishing Roller Coaster Without Falling Off: How to Stay Sane in a Crazy Business

I am tempted to print this article out and staple it to the wall of my office! Anne R. Allen discusses in humorous fashion serious things like dealing with reviews, rejection, writing rules, your inner critic, being in the dumps, fighting back, and battling the ‘dragons’ of success. It’s likely you will see yourself somewhere in this article! Read it here:

Gift Ideas for Your Writer Friends

Yeah, I know, Christmas is nearly here, so this can still work for the gift-buying procrastinators in the crowd or keep it for year-round gift-buying inspiration in 2020 for the writers in your life.  Six Sure-Fire Gift Ideas for Your Writer Friends 

Gift Ideas for Writer Friends and more writerly info on the Writers' Forum

Writing Craft

Not sure HOW, I ended up with only ONE writing craft article this month; however, there were a ton of them last month in the November 2019 Writers’ Forum

The Value of a Great Book Synopsis

Writing a synopsis may be one of the most horrid pieces of writing you will ever have to do (IMHO). This article on synopsis writing is a great resource, including links to Jane Friedman and Marissa Meyer’s advice on synopsis writing. I like the advice that I’ve now taken for my current work in progress, which is to write the synopsis first. It has helped me see the big picture and know that my plot was workable and intriguing. I hope this article can help you!  


SEVEN Things You Should Be Including in Your Ebook (Revisited)

This David Kudler Book Designer website article mostly deals with the links you can put in the backmatter of your book to direct readers to write reviews, sign up for an author newsletter, or follow on social media. It's a good check list if you’re formatting an ebook anytime soon. Read HERE.

Five Self-Publishing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Whenever I see a headline like this one from Steven Spatz my hands get a little clammy as I check out the list to see if I am in violation. Most of these deal with rushing to publication. The article encourages you to take your time, properly edit the content, don’t skimp on cover creation, and research the most proper keywords for your content that will make your book findable by readers online. Read the entire list HERE.

Creating a Low-Cost Book Trailer

Everyone wants a book trailer, but it is hard to say how much this really helps your book sales. Still, it is a fun thing to post on social media and on your website. That’s why using low-cost options are probably best for book trailer creation. Lee Purcell on the BookBaby Blog gives an excellent list of tools that will help you create a professional book trailer at minimum cost.

Here’s the book trailer for Circle of Nine: Beltany. It cost about $250 for stock photos, video clips, and music rights.

Review Copies, Freebies, and Author Copies: Q&A

Dan Brotzel gives us the definition and ways to use review copies, freebies, and author copies on the Funds for Writers website. Read it here:

51 Book Review Resources

This is cool resource! The Forseng Fiction website article categorizes 51 different resources on book reviews that will help you with everything from implementing a review to dealing with bad reviews and more. Note: These aren’t necessarily review sites, but articles talking about the review process which may include links to reviewer lists.


Top 10 Book Marketing Articles from BookBub in 2019

A few of the articles listed in this compiled post from BookBub have already been featured in previous Writers’ Forums this year. Most of this marketing advice pertains directly to BookBub—although some of it can be used elsewhere—like how to run a book launch for maximum sales or how to promote your book for free. If you’re planning any 2020 BookBub efforts, you definitely will want to click on the article about creating eye-catching ad designs. Additionally, if you’re definitely working your way through some ad testing on BookBub, you may be interested in “5 Things to Try if Your BookBub Ads CTR Drops.” FYI CTR=Click Through Rate.

What Does an Author Platform Mean? Learn more on the Writers' Forum

Author Platforms: One Size Does Not Fit All

Ah, the elusive concept of author platform. Emily Harstone from the Authors Publish newsletter says, “An “author platform” is your position as a writer, not just in terms of social media, but in terms of real-life connections and associations.” Really, an author platform is always going to be different for each author based on their book topics and their prominence in different communities both online and in person. This article discusses these author platform nuances. Part of my platform includes teaching different topics at conferences. In the photo above, I am presenting a curated list of books and teaching materials at the Wisconsin State Reading Conference in 2018. 

Commenting on Blogs: The Easy Way for New Writers to Build Platform

You read blogs—we ALL read blogs. But, do you ever comment on those that you particularly like? If you don’t, you should. Mainly, because it provides visibility for your name and may give you a few more like-minded followers or readers. This article goes in more depth with this idea and details the dos and don’ts of blog commenting as well. Read HERE.


Bakerview Consulting talks through how (and why) to switch from HTTP to a HTTPS website. What’s that you may ask? You’ve probably noticed it with websites that have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that those websites’ URL’s show up with a closed lock. This extra security layer encrypts things like passwords and credit card details. I haven’t done this yet because on my website book sales are handled by an offsite Square store, but I guess it’s time to get with the program (personally) on this. This guide may help you figure it all out:

9 Reasons Your Website Might Not be Showing Up on Google

So that slightly terrifying headline also came from Bakerview Consulting, however, you’ll quickly see that a number of these potential pitfalls might not pertain to you. I was guilty of one of these with duplicate content in original blog page design, and that was fixed a couple of years ago. Good read if you’re at all concerned with your findability on the net. (hint: you should always be concerned about this—I was just being sarcastic!) See the full list HERE.


Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz presents the “9 Social Media Tips You Can Use.” These came from her survey of pros. My favorite part is the list of tools available to help you make social media posting simpler—a good goal for all of us in 2020.

Happy Writing, Valerie  


A lot of very good information in here. A must re-read later. Thank you! :)

Hi Alec,
Glad you can use this as a resource. It's hard to keep up with all the info each month!
Cheers, Val

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