Where Experts Say Publishing is Heading in 2023

Anna David
11 min readApr 18

The new podcast name debuts with a first-of-its-kind (at least for me) episode: a compilation of thoughts from the different publishing experts who have been on the show.

I was able to get both recorded and written thoughts from a bunch of my favorites, including Dave Chesson, Roseanne Cheng, Amber Vilhauer, Shelby Leigh, Derek Murphy and more. And they talked about everything from social media to AI to taking success into your own hands to so much more.

Give it a listen and get ahead of everything that 2023 has in store for us.


So this is a really amazing episode because it is a gathering of information. So this is my collection of what’s to come in publishing in 2023. What are the experts think because God knows I can’t give you as good an answer if it’s just me. So I gathered some of the biggest in the business and got them to give me their predictions. Some of them recorded, some of them I’m going to summarize because they wrote them up.

And these experts include Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur. Roseanne Cheng from Evergreen Authors, Derek Murphy from Creative, creative, I can never say his company name Creativindie, writing coach and coach trainer Jenny Nash, Amber Vilhauer from NGNG, BookTok sensation Shelby Leigh, publisher Elizabeth Lyons and Skyhorse publishing CEO Tony Lyons, these have all been guests on the show, or they’re going to be guests on the show.

So let’s start with one where I can roll the audio, by the way, long wanted to say roll the audio. So you’ll hear me say it a few times. Dave Chesson, who I just mentioned, is a book marketer. But he’s so much more than that. He is truly the king of Indie publishing, he created Kindlepreneur, publisher rocket software, which I recommend to everybody. It’s all about finding keywords and categories. He also recently launched Atticus layout software. And he was my first guest when I converted this podcast into a podcast about publishing. So here’s what Dave Chesson had to say.

Dave Chesson: When self-publishing first got started, authors really didn’t have many tools at their disposal. Matter of fact, Kindle Direct Publishing’s dashboard was incredibly terrible at reporting any legitimate data. And so this left authors with a lot of questions. However, though, fast forward to today, and self-published authors, as well as publishing authors have been getting access to more data, more tools and capabilities that allow them to make smarter decisions as we move forward. So as we go into 2023, I see self-published authors, as well as published authors, having access to more data, as well as more capabilities and not have to rely as much on companies and publishing companies to take that work, or not having to rely on kind of guesswork and sort of facing against some of the giants out there in the industry. And so I see this great equalizer occurring, and this has been happening year over year.

Anna David: Now, obviously, as someone who is constantly preaching the choir about how thrilled I am about the democratization of publishing, I love that one. So now let’s go to Amber Vilhauer. Amber is the founder of NGNG, which stands for No Guts, No Glory, which helps authors to launch successful books by leveraging their network and I recently connected with her. I’m blown away by her strategies, her organization, her brilliance, I am just in the process of soaking up all of her knowledge. And now I’m going to give you some of her knowledge about what’s coming in 2023.

Amber Vilhauer: Between publishing house delays and lack of their marketing support, I believe more authors will start to wake up to their responsibility, and opportunity, to turn their book into something more than just a product. What I mean is, more authors will seek out advice from people like myself and your other guests on this episode, to learn about how to grow their online platform and sales, by using their book is part of the equation, but maybe not put so much pressure on themselves to sell a million copies. The real opportunity is, what can I do with my book to generate millions and impact millions without necessarily having to sell a million books. And this is from Amber Vilhauer.

Anna David: Again, preaching exactly what I believe. So now let’s go to Derek Murphy. Derek is one of a kind. He has a PhD in comparative literature. He’s a book cover designer, he’s an author in multiple genres, and he has incredible courses and services. He helps people with everything from marketing to editing to publishing. And we I met him in person at the World Domination Summit in Portland a few years ago and I was immediately struck as I’m sure most people are by him by how unique, kind, brilliant and quirky he is. So let’s roll tape on Derek’s predictions.

Derek Murphy: I think 2023 is going to be the year of AI. There’s already a lot of art generators. And now there’s GPT 3, which is a text generator. A lot of these tools are going to be starting to be fully available, even though there’s a lot of controversy over them. Microsoft and Canva have designed tools now that generate images and they’re also incorporating text generator. Canva just kind of launched that today. These are going to start to appear as WordPress plugins or front facing tools on websites that are going to be free or easy to use. This also applies to AI voices for audiobooks, which are almost good enough, but not quite yet. And then the final thing is that I think a lot of book recommendation sites are going to get a lot smarter. Amazon is already getting rid of keywords and categories, I think. The USA Today bestselling list just kind of shut down because they fired the person in charge of that, I think there’s going to be new ways to that Amazon is going to recommend books to readers, without you being able to gain the system quite as much with keywords and stuff. So building your email list, having your own platform of actual fans is going to help. There’s also going to be a lot of tools that help you to produce more content better and especially like editing tools and revising, I think that process is going to get a lot easier.

Anna David: So that was fascinating to me this keywords and categories getting rid of I will dig more into that so I can let you guys know what that’s about. And the USA Today list dismantling itself happened as of this recording the day Derek recorded this, which is yesterday, and kind of blew my mind. I’ll find out more about that.

I mean that if you don’t know what I’m talking about, basically, next to the New York Times list, the Wall Street Journal list and the USA Today list are the most important bestseller lists. And as of yesterday, which is December 12th of 2022 they got rid of the USA Today got rid of the editor of it, which means they got rid of the list at least temporarily. All sounds very, very weird. Since it was something that was so important.

In terms of what he said about AI…this also feels like as I’m recording this, like, it has been a huge couple of weeks for AI. This app Lensa came out and we all went crazy, giving up our faces to the cloud or whatever so that we could make ourselves look like superheroes and like really airbrushed and great. I not only did my own, but I did it for my mom and my boyfriend giving their faces over to the facial recognition software, but they love me, so it’s fine.

And I’ve recently just discovered an AI software called Quick Write. And it comes from the creator of Author Lab, which is one of my favorites.

Author Lab is where we make these book mockups where you can take the cover and make it three dimensional, you can make Spiderman holding the cover, you can do anything you want, a couple of kissing, holding your book cover. And I love that software so much that, and I recommend it, and I’m an affiliate for it.

When I heard from him that he had this new AI software Quick Write I immediately started trying it out. And it is kind of blowing my mind. Now a lot of people talk about how AI is going to decimate the creative community. I don’t think so. Because there is always skill and talent is always important. Is it going to make our jobs easier? Yeah.

So I just tried it out for blog posts, and I just put in, you know, different topics, it spit out outlines and concepts and really well written text, which I should be alarmed by but, but I’m not. I mean, I’m equally rejoicing and cringing over it.

So Derek is always on the cutting edge. So I would listen to what he thinks is going to happen there.

Now let’s get into the stuff I gathered from people who didn’t record things but just told me them. This next one is from Roseanne Cheng. She’s the co-founder of Evergreen Authors. She’s also an author, a book marketer, a book publisher, a writing coach, she’s a Pinterest expert. I interviewed her about how authors can use Pinterest, she’s wonderful. These are her predictions.

She thinks straight to audio books are gonna be a thing. And what she said to me is, there’s so many authors who struggle with the amount of work, time and money it takes to put together a book. And for thought leaders and comedians or anyone else who kind of has a performance aspect to their writing.

She says I think we’re going to have more people take advantage of the booming audiobook market and skip paper books altogether.

A few years ago, I heard about this, and I stopped hearing about it. I know Macmillan audio did those Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips. First as an audiobook before it appeared in print. I know Cat Marnell, the author of that wonderful, hilarious book, How to Murder Your Life, she released an audio only book called Self-Tanner for the Soul. So I’m very curious if if this is going to become a thing again.

Roseanne also talked about TikTok and she predicted many authors will actually abandon their other social media accounts to put all their energy on TikTok and she said I don’t recommend this, I just predict it. And in a second, I’m going to tell you what BookTok sensation Shelby Leigh predicts because it’s very much related.

Roseanne also predicts that NFTs exclusive content and premium access is going to be more of a thing. And her her reasoning is that it takes more than a great book to catch people’s attentions. And what catches people’s attention is the feeling of exclusivity. And many authors are including private coaching and bonus content as a way of attracting and keeping readers. And I agree with her, I do, but

I do think, you know, NFTs in 2022, we got so excited and then we got so over it. I released two episodes about it because I wanted to learn more about it, episodes with Lee Richter and Elle Griffin, and those episodes did very well. So I know you guys are interested in it too.

But I think the and I made an NFT that nobody bid on, hey, it’s still available…I think the barrier to entry with crypto and NFTs is still very high. I tried diligently to set up accounts and get into that world and I was semi successful. I’m reasonably tech savvy, and I actually had help from people. And I still couldn’t really do it.

So I was thinking about doing this NFT Party Girl where you can be up for a part in the movie that’s going to be shot next year. And I realized that my audience that’s you guys just wasn’t into the web three enough for it to be worth my energy and all of those things. So but what I do think will happen is, you know, I could release that as a special offer, this Party Girl exclusive, you can be in the movie, you can get this, you can get that, without it being an NFT. Just being something you can buy.

So I do think I agree with Roseanne that stuff is going to happen. And she talks about authenticity and how in the last few years authenticity people who speak to their audiences real, honest, relatable people are creating trust and and how important that is. So I don’t know kind of, I guess like the anti Rachel Hollis like what Rachel Hollis purported to be before, kind of revealing herself to not be that. And then she talked about targeted advertising. She’s someone who also really understands Amazon ads. And so she thinks that’s only going to get more important.

And now let’s talk about Shelby Leigh, who is a what she told me she’s a poet and a mental health advocate, and a BookTok sensation. And she also has a course very reasonably priced course on how authors can do BookTok, she has sold over 40,000 copies of her books through TikTok, one video alone, she sold 7,000 copies. So what she has to say is, is of course, about TikTok and Instagram, she’s also big on Instagram. And she said, I think publishers are going to need to think about direct sales through social media platforms. As Instagram shop continues to grow and TikTok shop is being tested, the ability for readers to buy books directly from their favorite authors and platforms in the app will be a very real and interested really interesting and necessary shift. So heads up on that.

Then we have Jennie Nash, who is the author of 11 books, the founder of Author Accelerator, she’s helped clients land agents, six figure book deals, books have made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. And she says, she thinks more and more writers will come to see that the burden is on them to get their projects into publishable shape, and market their work. Which in my experience has been true for a long time, but people didn’t know it until recently. She thinks podcasts are going to continue to be huge, and that and she says she hopes Twitter will survive. Maybe it has survived and is thriving again, by the time you hear this, post Elon Musk acquisition. But she did say it was a fantastic place to learn about publishing news and meet other people in the industry.

And Elizabeth Lyons predicts that more people will turn to hybrid publishers, hooray, and that the USA Today bestseller list will be retired.

Tony Lyons, who is the founder of Skyhorse Publishing talked — this is really more from the publisher’s perspective than the authors — but he talked about how the past two years have been really strong for backlist titles. And it’s not going to be as true. So he says, stick with your long-term publishing plans, and goals. And don’t take any tough times personally, which I think is always good advice.

So the conclusion of this episode about predictions for 2023 is from BookTok and AI to plummeting black backlist and best seller lists disappearing. The most important things are authors doing what they can for themselves and having an amazing business setup so you can make it through all the inevitable changes coming. So that is it. 2023 predictions. Fabulous guys. I hope you liked this show and I will see you next time.

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Anna David

NY Times bestselling author of 8 books, publisher, TV/TED talker. Want to launch a life-changing book? www.yourlifechangingbook.com