It is said that a successful fiction book sells about 5000 copies and a successful non-fiction books sells about 7,500 copies. The average first time author will sell between 1000 and 2500 copies of their first work. In 1947 there were 357 publishers around the country and today there are over 100,000. There are primarily six major publishers them being; Random House, Penguin Putnam Inc, Harper Collins, Time Warner, Simon ‘&’ Schuster and Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings. There are about 3,500 medium size publishers and over 80,000 small/self publishers. Publishers range from what is called a “vanity press” (which is a publisher that prints and sells thousands of copies of your book to you and you alone for you sell for your self)-whatever you do my advice is to stay away from these guys, to big royalty contract publishers who give you a contract to print and distribute your book for you giving you a percent of whatever is brought in. The reason for the sudden rise in the amount of publishers is the invention of the P.O.D. technology that is available today. The Print on Demand technology (which means that books are only printed as they are needed) makes even small publishers able to compete with the big guys by taking on more authors’ books and not being stuck with thousands of the same books in storage somewhere that aren’t selling. As I said before I would stay away from vanity publishing, but self-publishing is not a bad idea if you have a market to sell your book through yourself. Otherwise you will be like the rest of us and submit your manuscript to a royalty publisher and hope for the best. Some royalty publishers charge you to help with the promotion of the book. Others will foot the whole bill, but do not be mislead-you will have to promote your own book for yourself until you build up a name and a reading clientele of people who enjoy your writing.
With my first book I submitted it and got it accepted. After about six months and a lot of proofreading on my part I was holding it in my hand. At this time I thought I could just sit back and wait for the royalty checks to start pouring in. Boy was I wrong. My first royalty check was for $114.00, which means that if I don’t do something to promote the book I’m certainly not going to get rich from this endeavor. IN fact less than 5% of all authors live entirely from their writing alone. So don’t plan on getting rich soon.
My main motivation for writing was to help grow and live a better life and if I make any money from it that is just a bonus. Keep all this in mind when you’re considering writing a book. Writing a book is one thing, getting it published is another, and selling it is altogether something else. IN the next part we are going to look at how to find a publisher that can connect with your book.