Book Sales

Dealing with Bad Publishing News

Remember the media principle of “if it bleeds it leads,” which means bad news or salacious headlines are designed to grab our attention. When authors are constantly barraged by bad news, it can be demotivating at the very least.

I’m sure sales for your book could be better. I’m with you. Instead, you might consider the number that have sold. If it is only 100 copies, put all 100 people in a room and stand in front of them and discuss the ideas your book presents and how those ideas have changed their lives.

The prophet Jeremiah toiled for 40 years and had only one convert (his secretary Baruch). His words were burned by the King, piece by piece as they were read (Jeremiah 36:20-27). Not once did he see any change in the people of Judah. But his words were not wasted.

Therefore, when any industry news crosses your eyes or ears (closure of a favorite store, a less-than-stellar royalty report, Amazon is taking over the world, etc.), take heart. Books are still selling. Words still matter. Writers are still needed. Oh, and one last thing, God is still sovereign over all things.

 

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Books Are Still Selling

Despite the desire of many to declare the death of the book, they continue to sell at a breathtaking pace. (New Yorker magazine “Twilight of the Books”  and BBC future – “Are paper books really disappearing?”) According to the “Association of American Publishers’ StatShot Annual Report for Calendar Year 2018,” …

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What Are Average Book Sales?

by Steve Laube


We recently received the following question:

“What does the average book sell today? An industry veteran at a writers conference recently said 5,000. What??? I know it all depends….but … nowhere near 5K, right?”

My simple answer?

It’s complicated.
It depends.

HAH!

Average is a difficult thing to define. And each house defines success differently. If a novel sells 5,000 copies at one publisher they celebrate and have steak dinners. If a novel sells 5,000 copies at another publisher you find staff members fearing for their jobs and in total despair.

Let me give you some real numbers but not revealing the author name (and there is a wide variety of publishers represented):

Author 1: novelist – 3 books – avg. sale = 8,300

Author 2: novelist – 12 books – avg. sale = 19,756

Author 3: novelist – 3 books – avg. sale = 7,000

Author 4: novelist – 7 books – avg. sale = 5,300 (Two different publishers)

Author 5: non-fiction devotional – 5 books – avg. sale 10,900

Author 6: non-fiction – 2 books – avg. sale = 5,300

Author 7: novelist – 4 books – avg. sale = 29,400

Author 8: non-fiction – 3 books – avg. sale = 18,900

Author 9: fiction – 7 books – avg. sale = 12,900

Author 10: non-fiction – 5 books – avg. sale = 6,800 (three different publishers)

So you can see it DOES depend. Depends on the author and publisher and topic or genre.

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Lifeway Stores to Close

Last week the Lifeway Christian Store chain announced the closure of all 170 of their stores by the end of this calendar year. This is follows the closure of the Family Christian Stores in 2017 (240 locations). And in 2012 the Cokesbury chain closed (35 stores). Over 400 total locations …

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Make Much Ado of Your New Book

(5 Ways to Plan a Success-Guaranteed Book Launch Event) I am no marketing genius, and though I’ve written fifty books, I still have much to learn about author and book publicity. But I nonetheless had a great time launching my book, The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, a …

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How Do You Count Lifetime Book Sales?

A key element in a book proposal is your sales history. Of course, you can ignore this if you’ve never published a book before. But if you have published, either with a traditional publisher or independently, your sales history must be included in your next book proposal. Here is an …

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Retail is Dead! Or is it?

You’ve read the news. This calendar year bankruptcies or total closures were announced by Toys R Us, Gymboree, Bebe, American Apparel, Guess, Rue 21, The Limited, Gander Mountain, Vitamin World, and Family Christian Stores. Sears and Kmart announced last Friday that they were closing another 63 stores in January, on …

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Be Published? or Be Read?

Is your goal “being published” or “being read?” What pieces of writing and publishing advice do professional agents and editors wish would go away…forever? I asked that question of some of my friends in the industry (yes, I have friends, and most are much smarter than me). The last two …

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