I’m not much of a visionary but I try to pay attention to what is going on in the world of reading and writing. I’m not encouraged by what I see. I’ve looked into my admittedly hazy crystal ball and come up with the following predictions for the future:
1. There is an imbalance between readers and writers. Amazon is flooded with millions of books. The supply is greater than the demand. This is bad for authors because it puts downward pressure on prices and contributes to the explosion of free days, giveaways, and 99 cent specials. I think this trend will not only continue, but worsen as writers continue to swarm into the market.
2. Traditional publishers, particularly smaller houses, are being pressured by the rapid growth of indie authors who are taking the self-publishing route. The traditional publishing industry will continue to consolidate as small and mid-sized presses will be forced to merge or go out of business. The growth in self-publishing should signal the beginning of the end for the vanity presses.
3. The percentage of people that never read another book after high school or college is disturbing. I blame technology – not technology itself, but the inability of most people to ever take a break and shut it down. Take a look around; everybody is staring at their phone. This is the Zombie Apocalypse. I think this will continue for another couple of generations before people get sick of living a virtual lifestyle and there is a severe backlash. That will be a good time to be a writer.
4. The next big thing, the next great American novel, the next Hemingway is already out there, probably on Amazon, hiding in plain sight. I honestly believe that. It probably won’t be discovered and that’s a great shame.
This is what I see. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope so.