Each year there are between 170,000-240,000 new books published in the United States.
93% of those books will sell less than 1,000 copies.
Less than 2,500 of those books sell more than 5,000 copies.
Only 1,000 new books each year will sell more than 50,000 copies through normal retail channels.
These are sobering statistics for those of us who are aspiring authors. People who think they will make a lot of money as authors should probably look for a different line of work. Those who think writing will be the pathway to fame most likely will be disappointed as well.
Despite these challenging statistics, people like me who have a burning passion about something see writing as one way to get our message out. Writing books and blogging regularly helps expand our sphere of influence. There are only so many conferences one person can speak at and only so many breakout sessions one person can lead. Time restraints limit the number of people that can mentored in person or through social media. Therefore, if a person wants to expand their sphere of influence, writing is often the only way to do it.
I have a passion to help small churches reach the next generation for Christ. So I wrote a book that helps pastors develop leadership teams in their churches so they can be more effective in ministry. As of January 3, 2011, that book has sold 750 copies. I am currently in the process of negotiating a "group sale" of 500 copies, which will push me over the critical 1000 mark. Even with that pending big sale, I am a long way from being a rich or famous author. Fortunately, being a rich or famous author is not my goal. My goal is for God to use me to expand His Kingdom in a way that I could never do on my own. Knowing that 1,250 people have been or will be influenced for the Lord through something I wrote is very moving to me.
As I near completion of my second book, which is specifically aimed at helping small churches think through some very practical steps they can take to reach the next generation, I am filled with enthusiasm. A third book, which is a collection of Bible puzzles and games, is also nearing completion. I already have an outline written for a fourth book, which will deal with the advantages and disadvantages of bivocational ministry. My wife and I are already talking about a fifth book that will include a testimony about how our family was nearly killed by a drunk driver a few years ago. If each book helps a thousand people draw closer to Christ, my role in God's Kingdom will have expanded much larger than what I could ever accomplish without a writing ministry.
That's why I write. To God be the glory.
This is modified from a similar post I wrote in October 2010.