Friday, November 07, 2008

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?

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3 Comment:

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Kristi Holl Left a note...

As the saying goes, thanks for keeping your head when all those around you are losing theirs! An encouraging word is appreciated. I have an old ('50s) Writer's Digest I got years ago at a garage sale. In it is an article on the dismal publishing scene, how hard it was to get published, etc. etc. You could have slapped a 2008 date on it and sold it. Publishing apparently has always been difficult. Most things in life worth having ARE. 8-)
Kristi Holl
Writer's First Aid blog

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller Left a note...

Listening to the world define who you are is dismal to me--the odds, the numbers, the stereotyped definitions. So this post comes at a time when I am feeling old and tired.

But then, I was reading my Bible this a.m. and had jotted this in the front: "You are remembered by your words."

Then, I read this post and these things you write here continue to uplift when most want to dwell on what's "wrong" with the world.

Thank you so much for finding the things to give us hope.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Gail Left a note...

The most valuable words in this post are: "not to dwell on the statistics but look for a way to be the exception and succeed."

I chuckle as I consider my background in sports publicity along with a competitive nature, but I believe lots of numbers are misleading.

Whether the number of Twitter followers you have or book stores' slumping sales stats keep you up at night, you serve yourself best to work hard, write smart and create your own success story.


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