Can You Find The Way?
I watch the news when I work out on my treadmill and that news is generally dismal these days. It's easy to fall into a negative way of thinking about your writing or the publishing world.
This week I received a fresh reminder in Gary D. Foster's newsletter, Religious Market Update where he included this item from a four-year-old Publishers Weekly: "Tough Odds Although the data is 4 years old, it is basically unchanged in ’08: 950,000 titles out of 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies, while just 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in America sells about 500 copies. Only 10 books sold more than a million copies in ’04. Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000. Nearly 200,000 new titles are published each year. (Publishers Weekly, 7/16/04)"
My encouragement to you is not to dwell on the statistics but look for a way to be the exception and succeed. It will take some diligent searching and trial and error on your part but it is possible. As a writer, your first task is to craft an excellent product with riveting page-turning excitement (whether fiction or nonfiction). Then once you have that product, you need to figure out how to reach your audience. Understand that more than 50% of the books sold are purchased outside of the bookstore. You will need to tap those non-bookstore sales channels.
Some times you can look at successful people and wonder if they know anything about failure. Just take two minutes and listen to what third baseman Brooks Robinson, newscaster Ted Koppel and singer Amy Grant have in common. Or watch what author Caitlin Friedman says about the challenges and opportunities in today's market.
It does not happen overnight but takes persistence and determination to find your way through the publishing maze.
As another resource for you, look into this link which gives 100 useful search engines for writers. I will not gloss over the truth that the days ahead can be challenging for writers yet there are ways to achieve your goals. Are you determined to find them?