“Do you ever worry about the death of publishing?”
This is a question that never ceases to surprise me. Why? Because the industry is going in the opposite direction. A hefty percentage of every box office smash movie in the past few years—Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Divergent, 50 Shades of Grey, Gone Girl, A Walk Among the Tombstones—derived from a book. Plus, the publishing landscape is constantly evolving, now more than ever, especially in terms of content.
In 2014, we finally moved past the subject matter of vampires and werewolves, and into dystopian thriller territory, as well as several political and presidential theme books. It also became apparent self-publishing was hitting it’s stride—maybe even it’s peak—when an array of self-published “authorpreneurs” proved it possible to make a substantial living without the big 5.
While I’ve worked in the publishing industry for almost a decade, as of June 2015 I’ve been working as a SparkPress editorial manager for just a few months. And I’ve come to the realization that there’s a burgeoning trend poised to take the industry by storm.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Fact: In March 2015, a study released by online publishing platform FicShelf, in honor of International Women’s Day, showed that the proportion of self-published bestsellers written by women is almost twice as large as in traditional publishing.
If you scan through the most popular titles on such top self-publishing platforms as Createspace, Smashwords and Blurb, you’ll see that 67% of those titles were written by women. This compares with the top 100 traditionally published titles on Amazon, of which FicShelf discovered that 61% are written by men.
Disclaimer: The study did not include self-published titles on the Kindle, because Amazon doesn’t separate them out from traditionally published books in its bestseller lists.
Some might find this discouraging; true, it shows male writers are dominating the literary playing field in terms of “traditional” publishing. In fact, male authors account for 85% of the Guardian’s “100 Greatest Novels of all Time”, and 70% of the Telegraph’s “The Best Books of 2014.”
See, I find this exciting. Weird, right, since SparkPress is a female-oriented publishing company? But the tides are turning. This sheds light on the next industry trends, and shows that publishing is truly alive and well.
FicShelf ranked almost 230 of the bestselling fiction and non-fiction self-published titles, and 81% were by women. While it may be true that women can be pigeonholed into genres like romance and chick-lit, these numbers show that more and more people are taking notice of what women writers are publishing. There’s a huge vote of confidence behind that—because what it comes down to is what readers want. Today’s most ground-breaking authors are females taking creative control, and are slowly moving from self-publishing to working with companies that understand their vision; not necessarily a feminine vision, but a fresh, new, boundary-pushing perspective that readers are hungry for.
It’s this same undercurrent that we saw with the entire concept of self-publishing five years ago, and we all know where that lies now—thriving, exciting, game-changing.
Emerging Genres from Women
More and more hybrid and traditional companies will be spotlighting women authors—but don’t expect an influx of feminine subjects. There will be an array of diverse topics and genres for fall 2015, including…
- More twists and retellings on classic fairy tales, which is a trend still gaining ground
- The start of a strong sci-fi and supernatural fantasy (like angels and demons) trend that will blossom well into 2016
- An emphasis on YA thrillers and horror, particularly with witty, thrill-seeking characters that have a penchant for scheming and cons
- More quirky, realistic yet emotionally moving books to eventually become “dramedies” on the big screen
- Heavier themes dealing with death, illness, suicide and other tough topics—and how to cope with it
Time to get ready for the next exciting publishing revolution.
Lauren’s passion for reading, writing and editing traces back to the age of 8, where she was often found perched in a tree reading in her Kansas backyard, or creating books out of hole-punched construction paper and yarn bindings.
In 2009 she founded Midnight Publishing, with a focus on helping authors publish positive, influential and inspirational stories. It is through serendipity and a drive to conquer the publishing industry that brought Lauren to SparkPoint. She met with founder Crystal Patriarche to discuss collaborative opportunities, and was fascinated with the concept and brand. Within a few months, she joined the team as Editorial Manager, helping to oversee a rapidly growing catalog of award-winning authors and titles through the company’s imprint Sparkpress.