So the book industry just hit a major milestone they didn’t bother to tell authors about. And it’s not exactly good…
Between 2012 to now, self-published book titles grew 156%. Last yearbook titles grew from 786,935 to 1,009,188, surpassing the million mark for the first time in human history!
So why aren’t we celebrating?
It’s never been easier and more affordable to launch a book to share your knowledge with the world. We have more legit subject experts than at any time in human history. This is the single biggest achievement in book publishing since Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1454 over 565 years ago!
So why aren’t publishers celebrating and sharing the good news?
The truth about book publishing today:
The truth is, books have become needles in a haystack to consumers these days. Most publishers need authors more than authors need them. The entire industry is flipping upside down right now.
What publishers won’t tell you today is just how much the industry has changed. With over 1 million books being published each year the chances an authors’ book gets noticed organically is low, really, really, low.
Here are the numbers from Publishers Weekly, the American trade magazine providing industry insights to publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents since 1872:
- The average self-published author sells less than 250 books
- The average published author sells less than 2,000 books
- over 70% of books don’t turn a profit for authors
- Only 62 out of 1000 titles sell more than 5,000 copies
Publishers know this information. So why don’t authors?
Publishing a book is no longer The Field of Dreams’ game where if you “build it then they will come.” The days of being discovered organically and getting retail placements are long gone. Publishers in the past controlled the distribution. Today the distribution rests in the ability of the author to create awareness amongst their followers.
Marketing is the primary responsibility of the author. Authors need to establish relationships with publishers with a mutual understanding of roles. Think of your publishing partner as a printer with a vested interest in your success.
There is value in the brand positioning of the publisher and their ability to negotiate distribution agreements into retail outlets and airport bookstores. But make no mistake, they are pay to play agreements. As they should be. You are after all taking up valuable and expensive real estate by occupying the end of isle positions others are more than willing to invest in.
However authors today need to know, the minute you publish your book is when the real work starts.
If you don’t have a solid marketing plan to promote your book to the people who need it, you will be very disappointed.