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Book authors - Statistics & Facts

Writing can mean different things to different people. For some, it is nothing more than an occasional hobby, whilst for others writing is a way of tracking or venting emotions, fostering creativity or even a mere chore reserved for work e-mails and company newsletters. However, for many of the 45 thousand book authors in the United States, writing is a way of life, a source of income and indeed a long-term career, but pursuing such a career is not easy.

A survey revealed that 66 percent of emerging authors also work day jobs to support their income, and everything from book cover design to editing services must be considered, researched, negotiated and paid for. Making a name for oneself in any creative industry is notoriously tough, and the road to publication is rarely smooth. More than eight percent of young adult authors reported being rejected one hundred times or more by a publisher before securing their first book sale, and many authors struggle to sell their books even with the help of a literary agent.

Whilst globally renowned authors can earn millions of dollars for their work, this level of success in the industry is rare. In 2018, just 21 percent of professional writers in the U.S. earned their income solely from books, with most pursuing other writing work on top.

Whilst working in such a competitive field can be difficult, success is still celebrated and new avenues are opening up which allow emerging authors to achieve recognition. Many authors are opting to self-publish via digital platforms rather than waiting to be noticed by larger houses – a smart idea given the rise in demand for and popularity of audio and e-books in recent years. Print publishing revenues are inevitably affected by this, however the global move away from print and towards digital formats means that there has been and will continue to be significant side effects evident within almost all traditional markets.

Changes are afoot, with online print publishers boasting tens or even hundreds of thousands of titles, and self-publishing companies like Amazon’s CreateSpace have proved incredibly popular, and for many authors, online self-publishing is the main or only route to potential success.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 39 most important statistics relating to "Book authors".


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