I Heard It Through The Grapevine:
At BEA 2012, Bowker vice-president for publishing services Kelly Gallagher released their newest self-published books figures.
For 2011, the number of self-published titles (based on ISBNs) was 211,269. The numbers for 2010 were 133,036.
Two Hundred Eleven Thousand plus self-published books were written and published last year?
My head hurts just thinking about it.
Among the other insights Gallagher shared on the self-publishing market: the most popular genre in terms of units is fiction (45%), but that nonfiction leads in sales (38%).
The average price for a self-published fiction book was… $6.94 Nonfiction titles commanded $19.32.
And while e-books accounted for 41% of self-published units, they only accounted for 11% of sales. The reason? The average self-published e-book sold for $3.18, while trade paperbacks had an average price of $12.68 and hardcovers averaged $14.40.
According to Bowker, Amazon’s CreateSpace was the largest player in the self-publishing space last year, publishing 57,602 titles; AuthorSolutions‘ various imprints did 41,605 books, and Lulu 30,019.
I don’t have the statistics at hand but I’d be willing to place a small bet that the percentage of first-time, first-book authors on that list exceeds ninety precent.
I’d also suspect that over ninety percent of those authors will sell far less than one hundred books each.
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics
I read eight (8) to ten (10) professionally published books a month. My completion rate (that means I read a book from front to back without tossing it because it was either awful or so boring or so badly edited I couldn’t stand it) is around ninety-five (95) percent.
Also, in any given month I read (or attempt to) somewhere between fifteen and twenty manuscripts. My completion rate is less than than five percent.
The number of self-published titles I read last year was twenty (20). I finished exactly six (6) of them. For the year 2010 the numbers were twelve (12) and three (3).
And the reasons for low completion rate?
More than one mis-spelled word per page over the first ten pages, characters changing names and/or genders from chapter-to-chapter, lack of cohesiveness to the story…
And the number one reason?