The Depressing Reality About Writing BooksBy Shane Snow February 17th, 2011
The number one misconception among authors is a cliche: “If you write it they will come.”
Every writer I’ve ever met – whether a journalist or hobbyist or poet – dreams of publishing a book. Unfortunately for the vast majority of authors, the years of sweat and toil that go into a book result, on average, in fewer than 8,000 copies sold. Even that average is skewed; 30% of all books sell less than 100 copies.
Perhaps it’s because most authors are terrible marketers, or perhaps it’s because books are a hit-driven business. Perhaps it’s because the publishing industry is in turmoil. Whatever the perfect storm of excuses may be, if you’re an author you had better love what you do, because the statistics around your chances for literary fame and glory are, well, abysmal:
Paradoxically, the number of books being published each year is increasing, despite no growth in demand for them.
Given the state of the industry, will people keep buying books, and will scads of new authors keep writing them? Or will this trend level off at some point?
Publishing a book seems more and more like winning the lottery. And perhaps the answer is in the same psychology that ensnares lotto addicts. “It could be me.”
Odds be damned. I’m still writing mine. How about you?