Writers' Forum - January 2024

How Do You Even Sell a Book Anymore?

The Top 10 Publishing Trends for 2024

The Most Anticipated Books of 2024

A Scholar Discovers Stories and Poems Possibly Written by Louisa May Alcott

2024 All Star Publishing Predictions

Penguin Random House Acquires Hay House


How Do You Even Sell a Book Anymore?

Very carefully! LOL Okay, I’ve included this article for comedy relief because yet again it shows how a traditional-publishing focus causes a lot of hand wringing while ignoring the fact that thousands of indie published authors (and some enterprising traditionally published authors too) have figured out how to market their books successfully directly to readers.


The Top 10 Publishing Trends for 2024

Now THIS is a helpful article. I won’t list each of the ten predicted trends here—but they include “Quality becomes more important than ever.” (I can get on board with that!) “Artificial Intelligence is Embraced for Book Marketing” and “Publishing Continues to See Consolidation.” Well worth a read – check out the other seven predictions from Written Word Media here.

The Most Anticipated Books of 2024

This is a delightful list from Kayti Lahsaiezadeh on the BookBub blog, featuring upcoming releases from some of the most popular authors Amy Tan, John Grisham, Stephen King, Alex Michaelides, Elin Hilderbrand, Janet Evanovich, Kristin Hannah, Salman Rushdie and more . . . I’ve already read one of them: JD Robb’s “Random in Death.” It was one of the best in the series so far. (And yes, I’ve read all 58 in this series—more than once.)

A Scholar Discovers Stories and Poems Possibly Written by Louisa May Alcott

This is a fabulous story written by Michael Casey for AP! “Max Chapnick, a postdoctoral teaching associate at Northeastern University, believes he found about 20 stories and poems written by Louisa May Alcott under her own name as well as pseudonyms for local newspapers in Massachusetts in the late 1850s and early 1860s.”

2024 All Star Publishing Predictions

Here’s a wonderful informative podcast/video from Draft2Digital featuring Mark Coker, chief strategy officer, D2D; Jane Friedman, founder & editor of publishing newsletter The Hot Sheet; Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn Podcast; Dale Roberts of the Self Publishing with Dale Podcast; and Orna Ross, co-founder and director of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

Penguin Random House Acquires Hay House

John Maher for Publishers Weekly reports that Hay House (self-help and health/wellness publisher) has been purchased by Penguin Random House although no changes are expected to daily operations nor staffing at Hay House.  

The Latest on AI in the Writing and Publishing World

Is AI’s Copyright World Flat, or Will AI Flatten the Copyright World?

If that headline made you go huh?, here’s the quick take away:  Will the copyright barriers to training AI  systems in countries like the US drive these companies to move offshore to countries with relaxed copyright rules? Read the full article here. 

The AI Generated Books Trend is Getting Worse

AI generated books are flooding the market, so much so that not long ago KDP limited the number of new uploads to ten per day --- that number has now been dropped to three uploads per day. Think about that for a moment. The average author – even the most prolific one is probably uploading only one new title every few weeks . . .THREE PER DAY???? This is getting bad! It’s going to take more and more work for readers to sort out legit books from the AI garbage created by scammers looking to make quick money. Read more here.

Scammy AI Generated Books are Flooding Amazon

And in this article from Wired we learn that many of these books are “AI-generated imitations and summaries of legit books on Amazon.” The article explains how there’s little authors can do to “rein in the rip-offs.”  

Apple is in talks with publishers to use their content to train GenAI models

Apparently Apple is talking with major publishing houses to come to an agreement for their content to be used to train their AI model. “The tech giant has reportedly proposed a multiyear $50 million deal to license the archives of news articles.” Read the full article by Priya Singh for Business Today.

Microsoft, OpenAI Hit with New Lawsuit by Authors Over AI Training

Yet another lawsuit , this time from nonfiction authors, has been filed against Microsoft and OpenAI for copyright infringement in using their books to train their artificial-intelligence models. The details aren’t all that different from previous lawsuits—read the full info here from Blake Brittain for Reuters New Service.

Book Idea Validation Mastery: Is Your Book Idea a Bestseller?

How and why to do some simple research to see if you book idea is a good one BEFORE you write it from Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.


How to Write the Beginning of a Novel

Rhiannon Richardson tackles this topic for the Good Story Company blog with a trio of items all novel beginnings need to accomplish: 1) establish the status quo 2) give us the inciting incident 3) present the act one decision which sets the rest of the story in motion. Concise and helpful article.

4 Things Every YA Writer Should Know About Teens

Samantha Cameron brings us this wisdom on Jane Friedman’s blog. And as a YA writer, I was very curious what she would tell us we need to know . . . teens are easily bored , but naturally curious.  Their emotions are powerful, and they need to experiment and test boundaries. She describes each of these in more detail and helps frame what this means for you as you write believable teen characters that will appeal to this audience. Excellent piece! https://janefriedman.com/4-things-every-ya-writer-should-know-about-teens/

What is LGBTQ+ Fiction—And Does a Writer Have to Be Queer to Write It?

Excellent question—and Amy Koerner gives us great answers on the topic. I think the most important take away here is that you don’t have to be queer yourself to write LGBTQ+ characters. Perhaps you’re an ally to the community and want to be sure to include a diverse cast of characters; however, you need to be careful that you’ve done your homework and are presenting queer characters in a respectable way.  https://janefriedman.com/what-is-lgbtq-fiction-and-does-a-writer-have-to-be-queer-to-write-it/

Designing Mystery and Thriller Twists that Work

I really appreciated Samantha Skal’s advice. We may already understand that twists need to be unexpected, but they also cannot come out of thin air, meaning there has to be a basis for the twist. BUT it’s a harder thing to understand how to go about creating twists properly. The set of questions posed in this article will help you think through the story from the villain’s perspective. Great article for fellow mystery/thriller writers!

How Many Words are In a Novel?

It never hurts to revisit this—and January is probably as good a time as any.  Lee Purcell walks through the variations in word count for different types of novels based on genre and market expectations (from the BookBaby blog.) My only problem with this article is its gap of knowledge of children’s category word counts . . . it really doesn’t differentiate well between YA and middle grade nor middle grade and chapter books etc..

5 Ways to Make a Writing Retreat Pay Off

Are you planning a writing retreat in 2024? Then this article by Amy Goldmacher on Jane Friedman’s blog might help you create the framework to achieve your retreat goals.

Eight Indie Author Conferences to Attend in 2024

And perhaps you want to attend a conference this year. If you haven’t planned any already, you might like this list of eight conferences around the country compiled by Written Word Media.

Announcing The WisMissus Podcast: Reading, Writing, and Roaming around Wisconsin, the Midwest, and Beyond . . . join author T.K. Sheffield and myself on our adventures, but also cover important topics for authors! Our first episode focuses on agent searches. 

Researching the Right Literary Agents for You

Christopher Hoffman gives great advice on how to compile the list of agents you might query with your manuscript. This is largely how I compiled the list I’m currently querying with my project. (And if you want to follow along with my Agent Search Adventures—check out my short videos on YouTube.)

Dan Blank’s Creative Reset

If you don’t yet subscribe to Dan Blank’s weekly newsletter – you should. I always appreciate his discussions about a creative reset and how you can use this to better achieve your goals for whatever creative endeavors you’re pursuing.

Book Awards – multiple resources

Another author (Thanks Victoria Nania) pointed out this nifty site called Book Award Pro (which has a free level) to help you sort out which book award contests would be a good fit for you and takes care of the award submission. I haven’t used this yet, but it is an interesting tool I will be checking out. Also, if you haven’t bookmarked this list that rates Book Awards and Contests from the Alliance of Independent Authors, do so immediately!  This can definitely help you steer clear of contests that are shady. Also, here’s my blog post about shady book award contests as well as my advice on what to do after you’ve won an award.  

Great Bookmarketing/Publicity Advice from Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz

I always include a few articles from Sandra Beckwith in each Writers’ Forum. I particularly enjoyed:  5 Things I Tell Authors That Really Annoy Them—which is a major truth bomb for aspiring authors but will help set you on the right path. I agree 100% with all 5 of these. She’s right that you probably won’t want to hear these.   

Another article I enjoyed this month, is a quick tip list of 5 Book Marketing Tasks You Can Whip Out in 5 Minutes. We all need this. I tend to think I need these vast swaths of time to get a project done, and really I don’t. We all have a few minutes here and there where we can accomplish things, and these all do add up.

5 Strategies I Use to Launch New Books in Kindle Unlimited

Nicholas Harvey gives us insight on how he launches his books while enrolled in Kindle Select, making the books available to the Kindle Unlimited subscriber audience—this is being exclusive to Kindle with your ebook. These are strategies that you might already be using to announce the launch of your book, but there are some nuances when you’re trying to reach the Kindle Unlimited readers specifically. Additionally, if you want to learn more about how you get paid for the page reads via Kindle Select . . . here’s the updated article on the most recent amount per page.

Audiobook Marketing Strategies

Here’s a great YouTube video from Julie Broad at Book Launchers to help you market your audiobooks.

BookBub’s Top-Selling Indie Featured Deals of 2023

If you’re curious how the indie published authors have done when they’ve gotten a featured deal with BookBub, here are their top performers for 2023, showing the featured deal language, price, and number of downloads they achieved. Great inside info.

Podcasts for Authors . . . and how to get on podcasts:

AJ Yee over at BookBub compiled a list of the Top 25 Podcasts for Authors on writing, book publishing, and marketing. This is a fabulous list. Some of my favorites are on it, but I discovered a bunch of new ones!

And, if you’re looking to be a podcast guest, it pays to have a professional media kit to help market yourself to podcast hosts. I also recommend authors create a podcast one sheet . . .the article shows examples of what this can look like. Basically, it compiles all the relevant information in one place to make it as easy as possible to get that guest slot. 

Subscriber Surge Giveaways from Written Word Media

Written Word Media is really knocking it out of the park lately with new promotional tools. The Subscriber Surge Giveaway allows you to participate in a giveaway with other authors who write in the same genre and get new sign-ups for your email list. I have one client doing this right now, and I’ll report back on how effective this is for getting new newsletter subscribers.

Using BookBub’s Ad Design Tool: 12 Examples Readers Loved

Most of the time, I design BookBub ads in Canva; however, did you know there’s a design tool built into the BookBub ad platform. This article showcases ads designed by this program that did well. What’s interesting is that these designs are simple and easy to read. Potentially a time saver?


PHEW!! That was a lot of info! Thanks for reading to the end--hope this was helpful to you on your writing, publishing, marketing journey!

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