I love writing in all its forms: blogs, articles, books, etc. However, the statistics for choosing this as a career are dismal. One in four Americans does not read one book per year. Over 200,000 new books were published last year. Average book sales for a Christian book put out by a major publisher are about 4,000 copies. AuthorSolutions reports that sales of their self-published titles average about 150 copies each. The average sales overall for a book published in America is about 500. Yes, sales of eBooks is growing. But if you think that technology is eliminating “real” books you’ll be interested to know that eBooks comprised about 4% of the overall dollars ($23.9 billion) in book sales in 2009.
Garrison Keillor recently commented on the sustainability of the publishing industry, in the Chicago Tribune: “I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (UR2 1derful)…The future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”
If you care about statistics and averages, the information above is enough to discourage and redirect anyone. But what if writing is your passion? Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol hit the #1 spot last year at 5,543,643 copies sold. Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue sold 2,674,684 copies. Obviously, there are still some amazing opportunities in writing books. Have you identified why your book should be written?
I currently have six book projects in the works. I can’t imagine doing anything else that I would enjoy as much – or that could bring me more success. The bad news doesn’t discourage me but it does remind me that I must write with excellence – as success in any area requires.