Every industry changes. Sometimes that change is caused by a new school of thought or groundbreaking research. Other times, it’s an advance in technology. For the publishing industry, the last big shift was the introduction of the Kindle. Not only did it open the doors for ebook creation and distribution, but it allowed indie authors to take advantage of not having gatekeepers tell them what stories are worth printing. Some traditional publishing companies have yet to catch up to ebooks, audiobooks, and the myriad tasks indie authors do to promote their work.
Now with AI on the scene, writing and publishing are changing again. Amazon has made additions to their platform to gather information about who is using AI for generative text and/or cover creation, as well as limiting the number of books an author can upload in a day. I’ve had a brief look at a graph depicting the number of books available on Amazon pre and post-AI. It’s startling. No one knows yet how AI will affect the publishing industry. Hollywood is hashing it out. Copyright law is being reviewed by the courts. Some authors are drawing a hard line and taking a stand for pro or no AI.
Another change I’ve seen the last month or so is that several in the industry are taking a step back. Maybe this is because they want to see how the dust will settle with AI. Maybe they’re burned out on rapid releasing or writing to a market that changes often. Maybe the increase in ad spend has them scaling back on their marketing. The rumblings I’ve heard are that many have lost the joy in the creating of stories and it comes through to the readers. To keep writing, author self-care is taking a step forward. And maybe at this time of year it gives authors a chance to reflect on 2023 before planning 2024. Will they prioritize publishing 20 books? Or will they schedule breaks between projects and plan opportunities to refill their creative bucket?
I’ve mentioned my own shift. All the reflection I’ve done and my inner searching means I’ve come up with a plan that will work for me, at least for now. I have an end goal. I know the steps to get from here to there. I know the habits I need to begin and the ones I need to drop. I’ll be affected by the number of books released in my genre due to AI. But I’m not in control of that. I can only control how many and the quality of the books I write and publish. I’m looking forward to meeting with a fellow creative in a few days to talk about 2024. I’m always excited at the prospect of a new year. What shifts have happened to you or your industry?