4 Publishing Trends We Could See After Covid-19…If We Try Hard Enough

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If the publishing landscape is representative of the time period and the current events surrounding it, we are heading toward a massive wave of pandemic literature across the genres. This could mean anything from scientific discoveries, quests for cures, and baking banana bread while working out at home over Zoom. We’re already getting a Covid-19 memoir from Andrew Cuomo, so who’s to say what’s next?

Well, you and I have a say in what’s next. Publishing trends are in part based off of sales. So we, as consumers, have a say in what the front windows of bookstores and the front pages of book-selling websites will look like.

What we buy today will affect what history books will say about the 2020s. Will they say that the 2020s were a sad time where everyone cried in their rooms and baked their feelings, or will they say anything about these potentially amazing trends in publishing post Covid-19.

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Instead of living in our time, why not spend some time living in the past and have some fun while you’re there? Whether it be to learn more about one’s family history that they found out from a DNA test, what sort of culture one’s neighborhood had before they gentrified it, or a greater desire to connect to the past — there is a historical fiction book for everyone.

A trend in historical fiction could mean more untold stories. For example, NYT Bestseller, Jasmin Darznik, is releasing a novel this spring called The Bohemians in early 2021. The book is about photographer Dorothea Lange the interesting characters she meets in San Francisco. I don’t know much about Lange or San Francisco during her time aside from hyperbolic testaments from Beat Poets, so color me excited.

Yes, if we don’t study history we are doomed to repeat it, but also, learning the past through a creative, imaginary lens can realign your soul in its place in history and in time.

Like much of the world, this is genre that I have admittedly overlooked. Literature about the environment and the planet may not be the escapist paradise that many of us look for when we read, but the planet is not something that can be ignored for much longer.

Whether you look back in time to works like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, towards Michael Pollan’s writing about food, or more contemporary works like The Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy and The Overstory by Richard Powers, Green Lit is a genre that is growing and thriving. It needs to, because if it doesn’t there is a good change that society will be in a place where books become a thing of the past.

An industry that uses the environment to create its product should really be more mindful about finding the sustainability to continue creating its product, so this trend is a no-brainer. Buy green!

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As a white person who went to school in a mostly white environment, this is an area I have to do the most making up for. In high school, the only BIPOC authors I was assigned to read were Sandra Cisneros and Langston Hughes. And that was a couple of vignettes and one poem, respectively.

Undergrad was better, but the only full-length texts by BIPOC authors were A Raisin In The Sun and Shara McCallum’s This Strange Land. As an English major, this was not okay. We know that reading fiction can help improves one’s ability to empathize, so if you had an experience similar to mine, you owe it to your fellow humans to learn and grow.

This is a trend that is already in motion, so the next step here is to make sure it stays that way. In June 2020, in the wake of the tragedies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, as well as the trending hashtag #publishingpaidme, black authors and nonfiction books on race dominated the top-selling spots in publishing in a way that has never been seen.

Look at your year’s book purchases, or look at the last ten books you’ve bought/checked out, and if the authors are predominantly white, challenge yourself to buy, give, and read a majority of books by authors that aren’t white in 2021.

The 2010s, in some sense, could be defined by dystopian fantasies. Whether it’s something like Zombie Apocalypses trend, the very real Mayan Calendar, or something more action-based like The Hunger Games, dystopia has been on our collective mind. For all we know, we could have manifested 2020 and all the apocalyptic tendencies along with it.

I want to learn more about what utopia might look like. I don’t want dystopias disguising themselves as harmful utopias to others, like in The Giver or The Handmaid’s Tale. This could mean something like Toni Morrison’s Paradise, Marvel’s Wakanda, to something even more interesting that my tiny brain can’t currently muster.

If we have different writers pushing for different ideas of perfection, who knows what type of snowball effect that might have on the minds of tomorrow? Do we as humans have the capacity to believe what a world might look like that is safe for all?

Reading towards a better future! Image from Andrea Piacquadio at Pexels

Every dollar spent is like a vote, so if we want books about home workouts and bread, great. If we want the publishing landscape to trend towards bettering the minds of ourselves and each other — even better. The pandemic has decimated so many industries and caused so much grief, but that does not have to stifle the publishing industry. In fact, it’s an opportunity for those who are able, to pave the way for a new era of book publishing.

Staying at home is hard, but whether you’re working from home, planning at home workouts, or watching bad movies, getting your game on, make sure you fit in time for reading and for books. It’s good for you.

To avoid the mistakes of the past in the post-Covid landscape, we need to support authors that are writing towards something better and not the ones looking to make a buck. Also, these purchases should be made predominantly at indie bookstores, a few at Barnes and Noble, your local library and not so many from Amazon. We deserve to be entertained and we deserve nothing but the best entertainment at this point. We’ve been through enough.

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Eric Mueller

Essayist and Content Constructor. Loves reading, reviewing, TV, gaming, art, music, and more.