A Self Publishing Consultant Looks At 2023

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self publishing consultant looks at 2023, erick mertzEvery industry is driven by trends that dictate how people behave and interact with a specific market. Wherever you happen to be in a particular industry, from bona fide insider to a relative newcomer, you need to understand what those factors are and how they are affecting behavior. The world of publishing, more than almost any other I can think of, undergoes rapid, volatile changes, almost overnight. That’s why, if you’re looking at this year as the one you introduce yourself to the world of books, you need to know how a self publishing consultant looks at 2023.

Allow me to dispense with one idea straight out, before we start looking at the year ahead. The world of self-publishing has come far enough, to a point where the idea of authors putting out their own books can no longer be considered merely a trend. Once representing the proverbial “little engine that could” in the world of books, indie authors not only have a seat at the table. They are rubbing elbows with big names and developing strong and sustainable readerships, allowing them to stand as a viable alternative to the conventional publishing mess. 

As a self publishing consultant looks at 2023, we’re getting beyond those basics. I’m going to look at the trends that will help define your success in the coming year.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the disclaimers, let’s look into the future.  

self publishing consultant, 2023, erick mertzWhat Are The Trends For 2023?

Looking ahead at the year, there are a number of trends we can look toward. 

No On Can Deny — AI Is Here

It’s hard to ignore the most gargantuan elephant in this room. Artificial intelligence, in one form or another, is here and it is going to affect what writers do.

Will that be in AI generated covers?

Perhaps in the creation of written marketing?

Nobody knows for sure, but one thing is certain, it would be naive to think that writers will float on by while other artists, most prominently graphic designers, struggle to maintain relevance. The best thing for writers to do is settle in with reality, see where it goes, and learn how to co-exist with it.

Serial & Other Short Form Fiction 

I love this trend. Why? Because, for most fiction writers, I think breaking free of the novels’ stranglehold on publishing success opens the field up in a positive way.

For most markets outside the United States, serialized fiction is fairly mainstream. Especially in Asian countries, most readers enjoy short, serial content, designed to be read in a single sitting. In some cases, it looks like deliverables, or episodes, as short as a thousand words is ideal.

In the United States market, it’s no surprise that Amazon drives the market. With their newly minted platform Vella, writers, and readers, can expect more exposure to short, episodic content. 

Indie Writers/Publishers Going Big Time

There was a time when being an indie published book wasn’t looked at the same as its traditional publishing brother. The potential readerships were seen as smaller; marketing of these titles was near impossible; finding a global audience not even within the realm of possibility.

Welcome to 2023.

Publishing today imagines a world without borders. With Kindle reaching readers across the globe, audiobooks becoming so prevalent and translation easier than ever, even indie authors, the once cute, quaint little darlings of the world’s bookstores, can reach readers everywhere.

A Self Publishing Consultant Says Diversity Will Remain Key

Authors, just like entrepreneurs in every other field, must diversify their pursuits or risk losing their place in the market. If you look at successful authors, ones in both indie and traditional camps, they’re making moves in more than just novels.

What does this mean? 

Exploration of the audiobook markets.

Books in translation.

Podcasting or video-blogging. 

Creating short, exclusive content for new and established audiences.

Developing a presence on something like Patreon.

Whatever it is, because a rational person couldn’t possibly do all of these things, writers must embrace the idea that in order to reach readers, you have to think beyond the bookshelf. 

The Only Constant? Change

File this one under obvious, but it is always worth mentioning. Change comes to all things, even large, established businesses like publishing. Perhaps especially those sorts of behemoths. 

Successful authors need to be aware of what the current trends are while also keeping their ear to the ground for what’s next.

What do I mean by this?

BookTok, the TikTok stream dedicated to connecting writers and readers, took the publishing world by storm in 2022. Authors in all sectors made enormous in-roads reaching audiences using the social media platform. To call it a phenomenon would be the understatement of the year. No. The century. 

erick mertz

A Self Publishing Consultant Looks At Bottom Lines

You don’t have a crystal ball. None of us do. I could be wrong on what I’m about to write here, but I highly doubt it. 

Understand the most important idea when it comes to trends: if you’ve read this far down the page, or have looked at other similar forecasting articles, it is very likely that the year’s biggest trend isn’t even listed here. It hasn’t even come to the surface yet. 

What does that mean? Like in many other industries, I think a key component is keeping your eyes open to what’s going on out there. 

Publishing is a rapidly evolving world. Don’t wait around. Use your senses. Check in with readers, writers and publishers. What are they doing? What are they trying?      


I hope this blog addressed some of your questions about how a self publishing consultant sees 2023. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. 

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Erick MertzA Self Publishing Consultant Looks At 2023

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