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Selling Books

So! Your book is going to be published! How exicting!

You have reached the big times, haven’t you? Pretty soon you will be rolling in dough - all that royalty money coming in after you book becomes a best-seller, right?

Well, not so fast. Here is a dose of reality.

First, you need to sell a lot of books. Secondly, those books are not going to sell themselves. Third, you are the only person capable, qualified, positioned, and interested in high numbers of sales. If you don’t get out there and “hawk” your book, more than likely you will face dismal sale numbers.

Here is an ugly truth about book publishing. In 2009, Bowker reported US publishers produced just under 1.1 million books for that year. According to The Huffington Post, that number increased to 2.7 million books in 2010. By using those numbers, that would mean more than 7000 books hit the street - every day. To be honest, that number is probably double that this year and who knows where it is going in 2017.

What these numbers do is illustrate the daunting task new authors have before them. In order to sell their book, they must be competitive. In other words, the work as to be good, it has to stand on its own, the author will have to go out and sell it - directly to his or her adoring public - and there is going to be a little bit of luck involved.

The reality is that most books do not sell more than 100 copies. Those that do sell well, do so because of the efforts of the writers who worked to get them out. Most who write books think their job is finished when they write, “The End” at the finish. The truth is, the work is only beginning.

Smart writers know this - they treat their writing projects the way they should be treated - as a business. If you open a restaurant, you would not stop working there once you go it going, would you? If you do, the business is on the way to failure. It is the same with writing projects.

Completing a writing project, getting a book out there on Amazon and other online retailers, and then never promoting it, is tantamount to opening a really good eatery and turning it over to the staff to run. The successful restaurants have the owners working shoulder to shoulder with the cooks, waiters, waitresses, dishwashers, and janitors. Everyone works well together for the success of the company.

Writing a book is no different. If you want to rise to the top of the heap of (7000+) books produced today, you will have work hard to make it happen. Just like a phenomenal number of famous authors who self-published books or were published by very small publishers that went on to become best sellers, you, like some of them, will have to sell a few hundred, if not thousands, of copies out of the trunk of your car. If your book is good, it will do okay. If it is exceptional, it will really take off.

While the writing on this page may seem discouraging, it really is not. If you want it, you can make it happen. But keep in mind, you are the only one who can make it work.

For more information and hints, please read the other articles on the previous page, Suggestions and Other Information about the Writing Life. More information concerning book submissions may be found on our Book Submission Guidelines page.