In this post, I look at important statistics about the writing industry (and their impact).
Most writers like words, not numbers. Writing is also about figures. Sales can push a publisher’s yes or no. Popular genres still sell. Good stories work. Stats have everything to do with being a writer.
8 Statistics About The Writing Industry (You Should Know)
Here are eight industry numbers you should know.
1. The Amazon Top 3 Books
Today’s Amazon Top 3 Books are:
Here’s a little more about the books.
- When The Crawdads Sing has a movie deal. It’s also an all-time bestseller four years after its release, and a debut. ‘One part mystery, one part legal drama, one part coming of age story, and one part love story – equals a full heartrending poignant tale that will leave you gasping for air.’ – Blurb for Where The Crawdads Sing. Delia Owens is a writer and zoologist.
- It Ends With Us is a story of escape from abuse, and finding love. ‘With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.’ – Blurb for It Ends With Us. and ‘Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.’ – Blurb For Verity. Colleen Hoover began as a self-published writer, with a background in social work.
Write what you know, or enrich writing with your own experience. When you love what you write, it sells more.
The Amazon Top 3 should say: tell a good story, you can do it.
2. The NY Times Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers
The NY Times Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers are:
- The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
- Sparring Partners by John Grisham
- Suspects by Danielle Steel
Why these three? A mixture of promotion and talent.
- ‘After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore — until it’s purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling.’ – Blurb for The Hotel Nantucket
- ‘Sparring Partners, Grisham’s latest publication, is a set of three stories that the author found to be too short for a full fledged novel, yet too long for a novella.’ – Blurb for Sparring Partners
- ‘A dedicated CIA agent becomes an unexpected ally to a woman haunted by the kidnapping of her family, in Suspects, a thrilling novel from international number one bestselling author Danielle Steel.’ – Blurb for Suspects
Know what’s reassuring here? All three began with a simple idea.
3. Fiction Sales Figures
Don’t believe rumours: fiction is huge. In 2020, a total of 825.7 million print books were sold in the United States – an 8.9% increase.
According to the UK Publishers’ Association, total fiction sales went up 13% in 2020. A 47% spike in UK audiobook sales was also seen. Ebook sales in the United States increased 16.5% in the first ten months of 2020.
The world likes great stories. If you can come up with one, you could be a writer. If you can dedicate your time, you could be an even better one.
4. Rejection Rates
Get rejected sometimes, it’s good for you. Writers face rejection all the time. It’s part of writing. It lets you find another market, or try another draft.
Carrie was rejected 30 times. Today, there are several movies, remakes, and a series.
‘The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.’ – Blurb for Carrie
Statistics from agent Heather Hummel estimates that 96% of submissions to a literary agent can be rejected.
If rejection hits you, you have two choices: adapt (or submit again).
5. Writer’s Earnings
According to Statista, here are some top writer’s earnings.
- John Grisham, $21 million (June 2017 to June 2018)
- Stephen King, $17 million (June 2018 to June 2019)
- Danielle Steel, $12 million (June 2017 to June 2018)
It’s not just good writing. It’s good business sense.
These three writers invest, and continue to do business while writing. While they sure sell books, their fortune isn’t just made up from book sales.
Learn about business, and run your writing like a company.
Does Amazon (or Stephen King) do only one thing? No, and neither should writers. Explore your skills, such as proofreading, translating, or even coding.
6. Average Submissions (An Agency Gets)
According to Darley Anderson Agency, they get over 300 queries…per week.
That’s more than 1, 000 stories per month.
Put it together, and you understand why agents aren’t patient with pitches that aren’t perfect. If you understand an agent’s or a publisher’s workload, rejection isn’t personal.
If you don’t hear back, ask again. If you get rejected, try again. Agents and publishers deal with a lot.
7. New Books Published
According to UNESCO, as much as 2.2 million new books publish a year. The incredible figure shows a cutthroat industry. It also shows that work pays off.
If your first or second book doesn’t work, keep going. Even if that doesn’t work, keep going.
The world is overloaded with writing, but it’s always been this way! You’ll notice the good, dedicated ones stand out.
8. Number Of Magazine Closures
Evolve as a writer, or you will starve doing it. Professional writing asks for constant change.
One moment you’ve just sold fiction, but the next you’re writing copy for a cereal box. One moment you’re selling well, and the next week, you’re not.
Did you know that Hunter S. Thompson wrote a sports column…for the internet?
You have to keep moving.
The Last Word
In this post, I explored writing statistics. I hope that you can keep going!
By Alex J. Coyne. Alex is a writer, proofreader, and regular card player. His features about cards, bridge, and card playing have appeared in Great Bridge Links, Gifts for Card Players, Bridge Canada Magazine, and Caribbean Compass. Get in touch at alexcoyneofficial.com.
If you enjoyed this, read other posts by Alex:
- 5 Incredible Story Beginnings & Endings
- 7 Tips For Writing Competitions
- Writing The Vampire Tale
- Writing Advice From Twitter
- 9 Tips For The Artful Interview
- 8 Elements Of Great Gothic Fiction
- 7 Bits Of Editing Advice From Famous Writers
- 8 Bits Of Writing Advice From Eudora Welty
- 6 Bits Of Writing Advice From Louis L’Amour