When your odds look worse than your protagonist’s.

Posted: July 26, 2010 in Writing Life


Some writing statistics from JenkinsGroup:

80% of adult Americans want to write a novel.

33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

42% percent of college graduates never read another book after college.

80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. 

70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. 

57% of new books are not read to completion. 

70% of books published do not earn back their advance. 

70% of the books published do not make a profit.

53% read fiction, 43% read nonfiction. The favorite fiction category is mystery and suspense, at 19%.

55% of fiction is bought by women, 45% by men.   About 120,000 books are published each year in the U.S.

A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies.

A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies.   On average, a bookstore browser spends 8 seconds looking at a book’s front cover and 15 seconds looking at the back cover.  

Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.

…Still want to write a book? It better be a labor of love. In fact, you’d better be a literary lovestruck idiot to get into this business.

“I have great faith in fools; self-confidence, my friends call it.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  1. What’s all this about not making any money from writing? My mate was paid a £3k advance for a book that was shit. Even he admitted that it was shit. After hitting the big time he got to buy a really awesome TV with HD and 3D as standard.

    Let’s have some positivity already!

    Best wishes,


    • kellyeparish says:

      I have never seen three thousand dollars at one time. Personally, I’d be happy with a car that isn’t on the verge of spontaneous combustion every five minutes. But you’re right – we gotta keep our chins up and our pens moving.

      Thanks for stopping by Christian! 🙂

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