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“I write and sing about whatever I am able to understand and feel. I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.” –Bill Withers
Think you’re the next Steven King or Agatha Christie? Have the plans for your 20 room mansion and country estate primed and ready to go? Read this first.
As we’ve stated before, if you want to be rich and famous, study ACTING. If you’ve planned all your life to make your fortune writing conventional books, you might need to think again (unless, of course, you’re Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, or Rupert Murdoch).
Here are the hard cold facts, directly quoted from an article in Publisher’s Weekly:
… in 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies.
Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies.
Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies.
The average book in America sells about 500 copies.
Those blockbusters are a minute anomaly: only 10 books sold more than a million copies last year, and fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000.
Stunning. Painful. But it’s the truth. Fortunately, however, if you’re a great writer, you can now publish your work, virtually cost-free, by choosing the e-book route.
In the not-so-distant past, you’d have to make a rather hefty capital investment just to get a 3000-copy-run of a print book, then market, sell, and ship it; now, you can go from manuscript to book to reader’s hands all by yourself, if you’re willing to do a bit of legwork on your own.
So cheer up; reality bites, but it’s ALWAYS better to know, than not to know.
Good writing never goes out of style. First published 10/8/2011.
This is a must-read for any book lover: Archive.org founder and data mining pioneer Brewster Kahle has undertaken the gargantuan task of preserving one copy of every available physical book in the world.
“We must keep the past even as we’re inventing a new future,” he said. “If the Library of Alexandria had made a copy of every book and sent it to India or China, we’d have the other works of Aristotle, the other plays of Euripides. One copy in one institution is not good enough.”
20,000 volumes arrive each week and are catalogued and then stored in shipping containers located in a warehouse just north of San Francisco.
Here are the details, courtesy of David Streitfeld’s fascinating piece in the New York Times, published in Spring 2012.
Learn more about the Physical Archive here.
Bloomberg reports that a spokesperson for Harper-Collins sent an emailed statement that “Dynamic pricing and experimentation will continue to be a priority for us as we move forward.”