Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pick A Number -- A High Number

During the last week, I've seen two different large numbers touting the number of new books which were released in 2007. In my entry from a couple of days ago, I gave the links which said 300,000 books were published. Yes that is a large number but what if it was actually an additional 100,000 new books for a total of 400,000 books? According to the New York Times article, "400,000 books were published or distributed in the United States, up from 300,000 in 2006."

No matter how you count the books, that's a lot of books. Make sure you read this New York Times article to see some of the other statistics tucked into this article. Does this information make you depressed or only more determined to sell your book and make it different? I hope you fall into the latter camp and have the determination.

With millions of book ideas and proposals in circulation and the lowering financial bar for authors to enter the book market through Print-On-Demand companies, individuals are getting frustrated and jumping into the book market. Unfortunately many of those books are poorly-crafted and as a result sell poorly into the market. The authors have no clue how to promote or market their own books. Many of them don't even understand their responsibility or work to get the book into the marketplace or reach people.

This morning I received a press release from a publicist about a new book and that she had review copies available and the author was available for interviews. It looked interesting so I dug a bit deeper into this particular book. I went to the website and watched a short television video clip of the author and applauded his good work. Then I went to the particular page on Amazon.com where the book was sold and checked out the name of the publisher. Now many book buyers will never check the name of the publisher but I've spent many years in this business. I instantly recognized the name of the publisher and made a decision not to do anything additional with this book. I will not be ordering or or asking for a review copy or writing about it. Why?

I've tried books from this particular publisher in the past and the books were poor in the writing category. The publisher treats everyone equally. If you have desire and money, you can get them to publish your book. Don't get me wrong, holding that book in your hand may fulfill the dream of a lifetime and be satisfying. That's all that some people need from the book publishing world and there is a place for it. I just don't want to be involved in this aspect of publishing. Why?

I want to work with the authors and books which soar into the marketplace and touch people's lives. Yes, in that process of impact, they sell into the marketplace. To have this type of impact, it involves a lot of hard work on the front end of the publishing process. You have to craft a great book proposal or book manuscript. Then as an author, you have to be committed to consistent promotion of that book. There are many different avenues for promotion and it can be overwhelming but the key is to consistently work at it.

Here's a bit of an update on 90 Minutes In Heaven which I wrote about recently: The cover of this book proclaims over a million copies in print. An email in my box today from the writer Cecil Murphey said the book has sold about 3.3 million copies.

Don't be overwhelmed or depressed about the large number of books which are being printed. Instead, let this information drive you toward excellence in your writing and becoming a different type of author.

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3 Comment:

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Krista Phillips Left a note...

Very good post! You are right, the numbers and the enormity of the issue will seperate the men from the boys (or the women from the girls!). One curiosity question, though. Is there a resource to find what a 'typical' or 'good'# of books sold for a particular book (I personally am more interested in CBA Novels than non-fiction). I think you noted elsewhere that 90% of non-fiction books don't sell over 1K books, is that normal for fiction as well? And if so, what is a good number to sell for those 10%?

Thanks again, Terry!


At 11:18 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


That statistic about books which sold was not just nonfiction. It covered all books--fiction and nonfiction.

While I have no real data, I suspect more novels are self-published than nonfiction books because of the greater challenge for novelists to get a traditional publishers--less possibilities (fewer publishers) and more intense competition for fewer publishing spots within each house. In my view, it's another call for excellence in your craft of writing.

The real numbers which count are not the books which are created--but the books which sell.


At 8:44 PM, Blogger Bonnie Calhoun Left a note...

Great info, and with all this panic about Amazon and their own POD publishing, authors need to learn more about the business part of writing, and forget about the instant gratification of having a book in their hands.

LOL...and Cec Murphy is a real sweetheart! I'm glad he is prospering so well after losing his house to a fire last year!


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