Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Check Out the Numbers

Recently I wrote about how truth sells books pointing to a Publisher’s Weekly article which is now online. I recommend you study this article. With all of the massive amounts of print and hype about books like The Davinci Code and other novels, nonfiction continues to substantially sell more than fiction.

Yesterday Bowker released the statistics on U.S. book publishing for 2005.  The numbers of new titles have decreased which is the first decline since 1999 and only the 10th time in the last 50 years.  If you scan through these statistics, it’s easy to grow discouraged. Publishers are making fewer choices and the price of books is increasing in costs.  Here’s a key statement in this news release, “In 2005, publishers were more cautious and disciplined when it came to their lists,” said Gary Aiello, chief operating officer of New Providence, N.J.-based Bowker. “We see that trend continuing in 2006. The price of paper has already gone up twice this year, and publishers, especially the small ones, will have to think very carefully about what to publish.” Why? Because if these publishers don’t make wise choices at the beginning of the process, then they can’t stay in business and will publish fewer books the next year.

How can you beat these trends? The first way would-be book authors can beat the numbers is through standing out from the other proposals.  As I describe in Book Proposals That Sell, it is hard work to put together an excellent proposal but it’s not difficult to stand out—because of the high volume of poorly-crafted proposals in circulation. 

From my perspective, these numbers help writers and editors live in reality—and work even harder to write with excellence then get the word out about their books.

1 Comment:

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Daniel Darling Left a note...


Great stuff and great links. I've always had a hunch that nonfiction sold more--and it makes sense on a number of levels. Looking at the Christian market, for instance, there are so many aspects of Christian living to write about, marriage, child-raising, prayer, money, etc, that the field is so much wider.

Plus, nonfiction writers, by writing for magazines and then getting into books, can emerge as experts and people want to keep reading their books.

Your stastics prove just how competitive fiction is, especially Christian fiction. Every writer's group I go to, every conference I attend, the ratio of hopeful novelists to hopeful nonfiction authors is always like 10-1. So, fiction is a narrower field with many more people trying to get in, while nonfiction is a wider field with less trying to get published.

Great stuff, Terry, as always.


Post a Comment

That's the writing life...

Back to the home page...