The 5 Biggest Self-Publishing Trends We're Seeing in 2024

Think you can guess 'em all?

The 5 Biggest Self-Publishing Trends We're Seeing in 2024
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We’re already a quarter of the way through 2024 (where does the time go???), but there’s still tons of runway to get your self-publishing business off the ground and set yourself up with truly passive income for the next year and years to come. 

With the way that things are moving with AI and other technology, your options for publishing independently are expanding more than they ever have before. You're no longer confined to traditional paths and no longer have to answer to a boss. You’re 100% in charge here.

This blog post covers five emerging trends we’ve seen among our growing 36k+ student community and the booming $1.25 billion dollar self-publishing market. 

More of a visual learner? Head over to our free Amazon KDP pro webinar to see the easy framework and real results for yourself. We'll show you a proven process to start earning money on Amazon that is virtually passive income. Our users have added an extra $500-$10,000 a month with our framework. Sign up today.

1. AI Tools are Everywhere & They’re Not Going Away

These days, AI writing tools offer advanced features and capabilities that go way beyond simple grammar checks. There aren’t many tools that can produce fully polished manuscripts that are ready for publishing yet, but that will likely change in the near future. For now, your AI co-pilots can tackle things like: 

  • Brainstorming: AI tools like ChatGPT can generate unlimited ideas for niches, book titles, and even detailed chapter outlines. 
  • Grammar, Style, and Formatting Corrections: AI editors like Grammarly and ProWritingAid provide real-time suggestions for improving your grammar and writing style. They can also format your citations at the click of a button. 
  • Readability Assessments: These types of AI tools can evaluate your text's readability, ensuring your book appeals to the intended audience and isn’t wordy. 
  • Genre-specific Guidance: Certain AI editing tools offer tailored advice based on your book's genre, especially when it comes to the overall tone and voice consistency.

With these AI tools, the ability to polish your manuscripts is back in your hands rather than the hands of a traditional publishing house, making professional editing way more accessible, affordable, and less time-consuming.

Psssst…Read about some of the hottest AI tools on the market for self-publishers right now, or find 10 sample AI writing and publishing prompts here

2. It’s All About Niche Markets If You Want to Make $$$

“Niche” might be the most used word in the publishing industry, but that’s because “the riches really are in the niches.” Think about it this way. You’re NOT trying to sell a book to everyone. You just need ONE really excited group of people out of the entire population on Earth who want your book enough to buy it. And the more specific you can get about a problem/solution, the easier it is to narrow down who that audience is. 

Let’s Look at the Numbers

Let’s say you’ve written a detailed guide on "Urban Gardening for Apartments.” You price your eBook at $4.99 to earn a 70% royalty per sale.

  • Book Price: $4.99
  • Royalty Rate: 70%
  • Royalty Per Sale: $3.49

Assuming you sell 500 copies, your earnings would be:

  • 500 copies x $3.49 = $1,745

Now, if you opted for a broader topic, say "General Gardening," and priced the book at $14.99 to cover the broad range of content, you’d only be eligible for the 35% royalty rate based on Amazon’s rules.

  • Book Price: $14.99
  • Royalty Rate: 35%
  • Royalty Per Sale: $5.25

Selling the same number of copies (500) at this rate would yield:

  • 500 copies x $5.25 = $2,625

Although the total revenue is higher in the second scenario, selling a higher-priced, broader-topic book is often much harder without a well-defined audience. 

The narrower focus of "Urban Gardening for Apartments" at a more accessible price point not only makes marketing easier but also builds a dedicated reader base at a fraction of the time and effort. Plus, selling niche-focused books can lead to higher volume sales as you become an authority in that niche, potentially out-earning the broader topic approach in the long run. 

Basically, we’re saying that you want to look at it like the classic tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears—not too broad, but not too narrow—just right!

Top Non-Fiction Niches on Amazon KDP

Not sure where to start? These niches have really exploded in sales over the last six months: 

  • Self-Help: People want to know how to improve their lives. That will never change! 
  • Health & Fitness: With an increasing focus on well-being, books on niche diets and home fitness have become popular.
  • Finances: Financial advice books, especially those focusing on personal finance, investing, and wealth management, attract a wide audience looking for financial independence and security. There are tons of financial niches you can explore for every age group, from pre-school to retirement. 
  • Gardening: Hobbies and sustainable living practices have both been surging for different age groups and budgets. 

Check out our top AI tools for non-fiction books to help you write.

How to Find the Best Amazon KDP Niche

So, how do you narrow things down? These are some basic steps to finding the perfect niche: 

  • Research and Analysis: Amazon's Best Seller Rank can clue you in to what’s currently popular. Other tools like KDSpy can also help you conduct even more thorough research on your competitors. 
  • Audience Engagement: Consider checking forum pages (i.e., Reddit, Quora, Discord, Goodreads) and social media discussions to understand what readers are actively seeking.
  • Explore Emerging Trends: Keep an eye on global trends like sustainability or digital detoxing, which can offer additional clues about the types of books that will go on to sell more in the coming months.
  • Assess Market Gaps: Identify topics within popular categories that haven't been extensively covered or offer new perspectives and solutions in well-loved niches.
  • Check Out Amazon Reviews: Read the reviews of top books in niches you’re considering. Look for recurring themes or gaps that readers mention wanting more information about.

Pro Tip: Once you've landed on a solid niche, it’s worth checking out the Amazon previews for each of your competitors’ books and using them as a guide for your chapter outline. 

Read about the best time to publish in each niche!

3. Audiobooks Are Booming

Our co-founders, the Mikkelsen Twins, started their self-publishing journey on a whim, and Audible helped them earn more than every single side hustle they had ever tried combined. As two guys who went to community college and didn’t come from a fancy background, they didn’t even know that was possible. 

They spent the next couple of years testing and refining their self-publishing strategy to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and spoiler alert—it wasn’t. They launched the Audiobook Impact Academy to help thousands of students across the world who wanted to change their life circumstances and that community eventually transformed into the AI Publishing Academy, which now has tens of thousands of active members. 

Of course, the audiobook scene has changed a lot since the birth of AIA, which is why we’re constantly updating our course with fresh modules and bonus content that our students all have lifetime access to. 

Here’s what we’re seeing in the industry: 

Advancements in Text-to-Speech Technology

Text-to-speech software is transforming how we experience audiobooks. With more realistic and expressive voices, it's becoming harder to distinguish between a human narrator and a synthesized voice. This technology enables faster production of audiobooks and makes it easier for self-published authors to enter the market.

BIG disclaimer: We are not currently recommending this to our students because Audible and ACX do not currently allow books narrated by text-to-speech tech. However, this may change in the future, given that Amazon’s KDP already allows AI-assisted content to be published. 

Collaborations with Voice Actors

Collaborations between self-published authors and professional voice actors are on the rise. ACX makes it easy to connect with these voice actors and vet them with samples before you decide who you want to work with. 

Pro Tip: You can add music or other sound effects at the beginning of each chapter to make the audiobook experience more fun for your readers. As an added bonus, you’ll also get paid more audiobook royalties past a certain length. 

4. Pages and Pages of Data Analytics

In 2024, there’s no excuse not to use the data analytics that platforms like Amazon’s KDP automatically generate for you for FREE. Digging into this data is the best way to learn more about your readers’ preferences and market trends and make better decisions about your marketing and future books. 

You can access your book performance metrics directly through the same KDP dashboard from which you’ll upload and publish your books. The data is as close to real-time as you can get with page reads, sales by geography, and daily trends, but there can be lags occasionally. If you spot an issue that doesn’t get resolved on its own after a few days, you can always shoot an email to the KDP support team. 

(Side note: You may need to be persistent. If one support agent can’t help you, try reaching out to another one. Yes, it’s annoying and time-consuming, but don’t let that get in the way of your business and income.) 

Getting the Most Out of KDP Analytics:

Here’s why the reader data matters…

  • Understand Your Audience Better: Learn which demographics are most engaged with your work.
  • Identify Popular Content: Determine which books, topics, or book formats resonate most with readers to focus your writing efforts.
  • Track Sales Trends: Monitor how sales fluctuate over time to identify patterns and capitalize on peak buying times.
  • Study Geographic Insights: Discover where your books are most popular to target specific markets.
  • Adjust Marketing Strategies: Use data on page reads and sales to refine your advertising and promotional activities.

5. Global Self-Publishing Is Expanding Even More

Amazon has made publishing in more than one book market as easy as a click of a button, so someone in Nebraska might end up being a bestseller in Canada or Ireland without ever stepping foot outside of their own country. How cool is that? 

Here are some ways to get the most out of global publishing: 

Multi-Language Editions

Reaching out to a global audience by offering your book in multiple languages is a smart move for any self-publisher looking to make an impact. Hiring translators through platforms like Upwork and Fiverr is a straightforward way to get your work translated and typically doesn’t cost too much, either. 

It’s not always true, but generally speaking, bigger reach = more sales. 

Steps to Translate Your Book:

  • Find Professional Translators: Use a site like Upwork or Fiverr to connect with experienced translators who specialize in your book's genre. The niche doesn’t usually matter as much as the type of work (e.g., fiction, guide, nonfiction, etc.).
  • Review Portfolios and Ratings: Choose translators based on their past work and client feedback. If they don’t have a portfolio yet, ask them if they’d be open to a small trial project to make sure it’s going to be a good fit for both parties. 
  • Communicate Your Vision: Clearly discuss your book's tone, style, and any nuances to maintain its essence in the translation.
  • Proofread and Quality Check: Consider hiring a native speaker to proofread the translated version for any errors or cultural inaccuracies.

Read about why it’s a pretty bad idea to rely solely on Google Translate and other major self-publishing mistakes in this exclusive interview with one of the Mikkelsen Twins

Future Self-Publishing Predictions

What else is on our radar? 

Here’s what the future of our industry holds: 

Shifts in Genre Popularity

As we saw with the rise of young adult dystopian novels in the early 2010s, genre trends are cyclical but not always easy to predict. And with platforms like TikTok influencing readership, genres that resonate well on social media, like contemporary romance or self-help, often gain rapid popularity. That’s why we tell our students to triple-check every single book idea and do thorough research before getting started on their manuscripts. What was popular two months ago might be a total dud today (and vice versa). 

As a self-publisher, you’re your own boss, so you can go off your intuition if you’d like, but there ARE ways to find the most profitable niches that are practically guaranteed to make money, and that’s what we equip our students with. 

Subscription Model Impacts

Subscription services are transforming access to books. Services that offer all-you-can-read models, like streaming platforms for music and video, are reshaping purchasing habits. Readers appreciate the value and convenience of accessing a wide range of titles for a flat fee, which is exactly what Amazon offers through their Kindle Unlimited subscription. Because these readers don’t pay per individual book, you’ll get paid per page reads instead (as long as you opt to enroll your books in their KDP Select program).

Enrolling in KDP Select doesn’t make sense for every self-publisher and will ultimately depend on which distributors you’d like to send your book to. 

Intellectual Property Laws

Some people are really paranoid about digital rights management and fair use, especially as new formats and means of content distribution emerge. 

The fact is that there’s no foolproof way to stop other people from stealing your content. Usually, putting a disclaimer in the front matter of your book that says you don’t give permission for redistribution is enough to deter some bad actors, but there could be the lone wolf or two who still tries to rip off some of your work. If you ever find that to be the case on Amazon, you can submit proof to their support team, and they’ll launch an investigation. 

Others are also concerned about how AI is shaking things up. If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, you can run any AI outputs through official plagiarism scanners. But ultimately, you should be tweaking outputs and adding your own touch to everything anyway. 

How Much Can You Earn as a Self-Publisher in 2024? 

We could tell you how much self-publishers are making (the answer is thousands per month), or we could show you. 

Elena was able to use her sales skills to scale her publishing business up to $7k/month with just a few books. 

Marco made $35k in a single month after building up an impressive roster of almost 60 books after failing for 4 straight years. 

Ed is one of AIA’s OG students-turned-coaches who sold just one of his publishing businesses for six figures!

And our Student Success Hub is filled with dozens more stories just like these. 

Join 36k+ Passive Income Masters and Start Publishing!

Before joining AIA, a lot of our students are dealing with similar things: 

  • Constant financial anxiety about the future and retirement
  • Burnout and built-up resentment from working a job they don’t truly like 
  • The feeling that there has to be something more out there 

Sound familiar? 

Quick question. What if you wake up 5 years from now and nothing has changed? Is that the future you want? 

If the answer is NO, there’s still time. 

Stop by the 100% webinar that made all the difference for thousands of people in these same shoes. 

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