Each year there are 172,000 new books published in the United States.
93% of those books (160,000) 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 different lines 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 into the mainstream. Writing books and blogging regularly help people like me expand our sphere of influence significantly. After all, 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. If people want to expand their sphere of influence, they must learn to write well.
In my case, I have a passion to help small churches reach the next generation for Christ. After years of working with small churches I realized one hindrance was that so many pastors in small churches had work a second job and were too exhausted to do the extra work required to reach the next generation. So I wrote a book that helps pastors develop leadership teams in their churches so they can be more effective in ministry. As of October 16, 2010, that book has sold less than 500 copies, so I am a long way from being rich or famous as an author. But that is nearly 500 more people who I have been able to influence for the Lord than if I had not written the book.
I am now working on a second book, specifically aimed at helping small churches think through some very practical things they can do to reach the next generation and communicate to them the important truths of the Gospel. Some ideas for a third and forth book are already stirring in the back of my mind and if I could find the time, I would start writing them while the ideas are still floating around in my brain.
I do not know if any of my books will ever be in that top tier of books that go viral and sell tens of thousands of copies. But it is my prayer that the books I do write and the blog I maintain will impact the people who read them so that God is glorified through the expansion of His Kingdom. My goal is to do all that I can with the abilities and resources God has given me so that when my life is over, I will have made an eternal difference in the world I leave behind. May it be so, Lord, may it be so.