Do you have negative self-talk? What you’re telling yourself might be even more powerful because it’s true. Nobody really cares about your stupid book. In the US alone there are over 300,000 NEW books published every year. I will account for three of them this year, maybe four or five or six next year, and you know what? For the most part nobody (percentage-wise) really cares.
1812: 204 years ago, the year Charles Dickens was born, 66 novels were published in England. In the whole year. Yes, about five per month. That’s it.
1837-1901: 60,000 novels published during the Victorian era. That’s an average of 937 a year, but of course it was accelerating, so in 1837 it was much lower than that average, and by 1900 it would have been quite a bit more.
2000 and later: 300,000+ per year in the USA alone (China doubles it). Let’s say that 1% of those are decent, and 0.1% are very good. It’s unlikely you’ll read 300 very good books in a year. That’s one a day! If there was a way to curate and determine the best 0.01% of all the books written in a single year, you’d still need to get through three a month to read them all. (And instead you’re reading my blog.)
The odds that anyone will ever care about your stupid book are slim. So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on.
On the other hand, by the end of the decade 6 Billion people will have a device with which they can get online. Quite a few of them are able to read in English, but if you want to write in Mandarin or several other languages you might have a larger potential audience of those 6 Billion. And you only need 10,000 fans of that 6 Billion to make a decent living if you can publish a new book every other month or so. That’s only 0.00001666% of the people who are online. Suddenly it looks more doable. Is 0.0000166% nobody?
Let’s say you sell a book for $3.99 (on average) to each of those nobodies (Amazon will likely take 30% so lets round to keep it simple and say you maybe make $3 per copy to 2500 of your 10,000 person fan base of nobodies. And you do this 4 times per year. You just made $30,000. Now in my town you can almost live on that.
But if you don’t have 10,000 readers, then you’re sort of back to nobody cares.
So why write the book?
Because it gives you a sense of fun, accomplishment, satisfaction. That is all. You have the fans, or you don’t, you build a database or you don’t. Most people who complete a new book will tell you they didn’t expect it to make them a lot of money. They did it for that personal satisfaction of completing something. Making something well. Sharing it with a few friends.
A true friend: someone who cares about the book you wrote.
Forget about the six billion. If you’re ambitious there are plenty of books that will tell you how to get 10,000 fans. If you’re not trying to earn a living with it, that’s ok.
You have to get past worrying about whether anyone will care. They won’t. And even if they don’t, you’ll be glad you did it.
2 thoughts on “Why you should write your book”
You could insert any number of examples of media into this essay, besides books: paintings, in my case; albums, for songwriters, poems, etc. On the one hand, the world doesn’t “need” any more art. On the other hand, the universe needs us to continue to capture its expanding Beauty, Truth and Goodness and interpret it through our unique personalities.
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For sure. Any medium.