The Creative Download: Trends in Publishing

Reflecting on 2023 and Anticipating 2024's Breakthroughs in Publishing.

The Creative Download: Trends in Publishing

The world of publishing is ablaze with possibilities, and we're excited to see what the future holds. With the support, funding, and community-building that publishing projects have achieved in recent years, we're inspired to reflect on what's shaping the world of literary crowdfunding and to look ahead at what’s next. 

As Kickstarter’s Head of Publishing, I have the pleasure of engaging with many talented authors, agents, and publishers at different stages of their writing journeys. Some are just starting out, others are emerging talents, and still others are veterans of the literary industry, but they all share a common passion for the craft of writing and a love of books and media. At Kickstarter, our publishing category is a dynamic field that encompasses literature, periodicals, podcasts, journalism, and anything else that falls under the world of words.

As we turn the page from 2023, join me as I look back at the milestones, numbers, and trends that defined the publishing category – on and off Kickstarter – and anticipate some of the exciting developments I think we’ll see in 2024.

2023 By The Numbers

It is thrilling to see bestselling authors like Cassandra Claire, Lemony Snickett, Katee Robert, and Will Wight coming to Kickstarter. Their tremendous success on the platform demonstrates the incredible possibilities authors can find with crowdfunding — access to the funds necessary to make beautiful books, of course, but also creating and deepening bonds with their readers, building a strong community around their written work, and offering thrilling rewards to boot. That’s not to say that you have to be a bestselling novelist to find success here, though; as the projects above demonstrate, you can be anything from a lit RPG sensation like Matt Dinniman, a YouTube astrology star like Adam Elenbaas, or even a tech historian like Marcin Wichary who is really, really, really into typewriters. Any kind of writer or publisher can find a home for their books and build bridges to their readers here, and I can’t wait to read what will be brought to life here in 2024.

The Rise of Romance

The growth of the Romance category on Kickstarter this past year was nothing short of remarkable. From 2022 to 2023, total dollars pledged to Romance projects grew more than 23x. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of creators who poured their hearts into their projects, as well as the enduring support of the highly engaged readers who are so eager to read these books. The Romance category on Kickstarter has continued to blossom, providing a platform for love stories, heartfelt memoirs, and other works that capture the essence of human connection. We’re feeling the love.

See the trend in action: Corrupt Shadows Deluxe Hardbacks || Eastbrooke Academy: Jillian Dodd's New YA Romance Series || Keisuke Uyama's bestselling LOVE LIKE THE FALLING PETALS

Celebrating Special Editions

One of the joys of crowdfunding for books is raising enough money to show off your wonderful words with packaging that’s just as stunning. We saw a huge rise in these kinds of special editions in 2023, from reprints of previous works to celebratory anniversary editions to omnibus collections. On Kickstarter, these exquisite book objects often feature unique and intricate designs, including deluxe features like metallic sprayed edges, multicolored ribbon bookmarks, foiled slipcases, full-color velum illustration inserts, and holographic covers. Brandon Sanderson started this whole trend with his record-breaking campaign, but now it's everywhere!

See the Trend in Action: War of the Worlds Deluxe || Red Winter || Pale Kings Illustrated || Gilded Blood Omnibus

Swag Galore

Swag boxes are all the rage on Kickstarter these days as a delightful way to bring backers even deeper into the worlds of their favorite books, and I definitely think they're here to stay. Backing publishing campaigns on Kickstarter is a great way to get your hands on cool, innovative stuff, and readers are honestly obsessed. You can find all sorts of things in these boxes, from the usual merch like enamel pins and tote bags to lavish, unexpected surprises like resin skulls, knitting patterns, and even custom jigsaw puzzles.

See the trend in action: Dukes of Forsyth U || Knitting in the City || Paranormal Romance Book Box || Murder in the Alps

A Look Into 2024

As we reminisce on the diverse trends that characterized Kickstarter Publishing in 2023, let's take a look ahead at some upcoming innovations we expect to impact the industry in 2024. This year holds the promise of introducing new dimensions to storytelling, where conventional barriers are dissolved and genres amalgamate to generate new immersive experiences.


The world of publishing is constantly evolving, with exciting new trends emerging all the time. The talk of the literary town right now is "romantasy" — a blend of fantasy and romance that is capturing the hearts and minds of readers across the globe. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating stories that transport readers to new, magical worlds — with a little bit (or a lot!) of love along the way. With this trend on the rise, we can look forward to a future filled with even more imaginative and captivating tales that will inspire and delight us all. Don’t believe us? Check out some of the many beguiling romantasy projects that are currently live in our Genre Fiction feed. 

Beyond the binding

Once your book is published, what's next? If you’re not ready to let go of these characters or this world, you might want to jump into the trend of crossover campaigns, transporting your intellectual property (IP) into non-book items. On Kickstarter we see writers turning their characters into enamel pins, comic books, and a whole lot of tarot decks, and as we move into 2024, we expect to see much more of this. These campaigns offer a unique marketing strategy and a whole new way to bring your readers into your creative worlds. Check out Sherrilyn Kenyon, Shannon Mayer, or Willow Winters if you need some inspiration. 

Meaningful Communities

When it comes to audience building, the last few years have seen a shift away from the primacy of social media and toward smaller-group methods of communication. As the benefit of amassing huge, casual communities of support decreases, creators have begun working instead to build smaller but more dedicated audiences, using tools like newsletters, private online groups, and IRL meetups. This method can lead to great success with crowdfunding, especially on a platform like Kickstarter, which has always prioritized giving creators direct access to the supporters in their crowd. Expect to see a lot more writers running niche campaigns to the delight of their most impassioned readers, like an artbook for monster-lovers, an anthology written by sex workers, a mythic compendium about endangered animals, or an oral history of an enigmatic punk band.

Closing Thoughts

As we close the chapter on a transformative year in publishing and peer into the horizon of 2024, it's clear that the landscape of literature and crowdfunding continues to evolve in thrilling and unexpected ways. Whether it's through the enchanting blend of genres in "romantasy" or the extended universes beyond the binding, the creative boundaries of publishing are being expanded like never before. And we’re so excited to see Kickstarter remain not only a platform for funding but a crucible for innovation, community building, and direct creator-reader engagement.

The narratives we've seen and the ones yet to unfold in 2024 underscore a significant truth: the heart of publishing beats strongest when creators and readers come together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms. As we look ahead, let's carry with us the lessons of resilience, creativity, and community that have defined the past year. Here's to a future where we continue to break new ground, together writing (and reading!)  the stories that shape our world. Here's to the tales we'll tell in 2024 and beyond.

With tens of thousands of creative projects launched on Kickstarter every year, this platform is a thermometer for the trends bubbling up across the creative community. Kickstarter's Creative Download is an editorial series where our category experts share the trends they saw from the previous year and give us a peek at what they think is on the horizon.