Every day we see a plethora of new books and magazines hitting the digital, online, and store shelves. For years there has been talk of a downturn in the publishing industry, but all signs point to the fact that the industry is not only surviving – it’s evolving. People are furiously at work creating their own publishing creations in both books and magazines, and consumers and publishers couldn’t be happier with all the overt enthusiasm.
Sometimes coming up with a book or magazine idea can be tough. For every idea you have, there seems to be fifty similar ones to match it. Am I right? Well, welcome to the world of publishing. No idea is ever truly unique, since we all end up influencing each other in some form or fashion. However, that doesn’t mean those recycled ideas aren’t usable. In fact, they often turn out to be the most useful.
Take a look around at book stores and the Amazon.com best sellers list and you’re inevitably going to see a whole lot of what you’ve seen before. Is that a bad thing? Not at all! Yet when trying to publish your own book or magazine, it’s important to always strive to do a number of things different, such as new columns, design, typography, photography, narratives, contributing authors, etc. from those who came before your new book or magazine.
For those of you who are sitting around scratching your head unable to come up with even one useful idea for a self-published book or magazine, it can’t hurt to try and recreate what seems to be working for the books and magazines around you. Below are three popular trends that are taking hold in the publishing world right now, but the list doesn’t end here, of course. If you do the research, you may find some other trends you can also adapt for your own purposes as well.
This trend may not come as a shocker to any of you, but it’s still worth mentioning. Trilogies have taken over the publishing world and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Perhaps these trios are rising in popularity because consumers love the journey of reading more than one book, or maybe they cherish the long-lived connection they form to the characters and themes in the books. Either way, the trend is taking hold and authors are putting out some of the most popular titles of all time through trilogies. Just think of what the book world would be like without titles like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, the Twilight Series, or the new 50 Shades of Gray Trilogy. Though they may not be the best written books out there, these titles are transforming modern book publishing. So if you can’t think of just one idea for a book, perhaps you should try and develop an idea that expands across three titles.
Throughout the nation, people are experiencing a renewed interest in cuisine. The social-media and reality-television worlds have transformed the way people stay engaged with their food, especially when it comes to mobile food. Food trucks and trailers are a relatively new phenomenon, and as anybody who works in publishing knows, fresh concepts equal great magazine and/or book ideas. I was grazing the cookbook section of my local book shop the other day and was astounded to see so many new and upcoming titles covering street food, like “Susan Feniger’s Street Food”, “The Truck Food Cookbook“, and “The Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto“. I suspect that food will always be a popular trend in publishing, given that it’s a way of life, so if that’s a topic that interests you, perhaps you should try and see if there is some way you can cover it in your self-published book or magazine. No, you don’t have to commit yourself to the street-food idea, but see if you can’t find another culinary trend out there that might work.
Memoirs and biographies have always been a popular genre in the publishing world. Yet recently people have started to take memoirs and strip them down a tad. The “personal journey” has become a relatively popular theme in publishing. Magazines and books have been popping up all over that cover life-changing events and unique personal journeys. Books like the new best seller “Wild” or Marcus Sammuelsons’ “Yes, Chef” are perfect examples of the personal journey narrative. So if you’re ever trying to come up with an idea, try and see if there is a way you can tell a story from your own life. Oftentimes, our best writing stems from retelling the details of our own lives.
There is a lot going on in the publishing world, and there is no reason to think you can’t somehow be involved with it. If you find yourself sitting at your desk unable to generate any new ideas or content, consider trying out some of the ideas the publishing world has already seemed to embrace. By doing that, you’ll know that one way or another someone out there is going to love your “new” idea.
Nadia Jones is an education blogger for onlinecollege.org. She enjoys writing on topics of education reform, education news, and online learning platforms. Outside of the blogging world, Nadia volunteers her time at an after school program for a local middle school and plays pitcher for her adult softball team. She welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.