Walk into any bookstore and you’ll see thousands, or even millions of books available. It makes it seem like everyone on earth has their own book on store shelves – and that there are, quite literally, more books in circulation than you’ll ever be able to read.
But the truth is, most books never get published. Most books end up incomplete, rejected by publishers, or dropped before distribution.
Why is this the case?
Books Aren’t Very Profitable
For starters, books aren’t very profitable for anyone involved.
For major publishers, most books lose money, and it’s only a small minority of books that end up turning a large enough profit to sustain the business. Because of this, publishers are highly discerning about the books they choose to publish; they turn many people away instantly and they only choose to take on projects with at least some chance of generating profitable momentum.
For individual writers, the cost benefit analysis of writing a book isn’t favorable. You might spend dozens of hours, or hundreds of hours polishing your book to perfection, only to find that nobody wants to publish it and nobody wants to buy it.
Because of this, many writers end up discouraged and never finish or publish their work.
Most People Give Up Prematurely
Roughly 15 percent of people have gone through the important step of starting a book, while only 6 percent of people have gotten halfway through or more. The writing process ends up being much more grueling and unpleasant than most people realize.
When you sit down to write a book for the first time, you’ll likely feel excited and enthusiastic about the project – but it’s only a matter of time before you hit your first roadblock, whether it takes the form of writer’s block, excessive perfectionism, or competing priorities from other areas of your life.
In any case, it’s clear that most writers end up giving up prematurely, long before their project is finished.
People Don’t Understand Publishing Options
Another barrier to getting books published is a general lack of understanding of the publication options available to you. If you finish a draft, you can take your work to one of many different mainstream publishers, or an even larger number of small, independent publishers.
If that doesn’t work for you, you could partner up with a literary agent, who can work on your behalf to pitch your book to others.
Additionally, people don’t understand that it’s possible (and cost-efficient) to publish and print your own book. With the right online printing company, you can quickly print thousands of copies of your book and make them ready for distribution.
Competition Is Fierce
On top of all that, competition is fierce in the writing world. There are probably dozens of writers, if not hundreds, who are more experienced and talented than you. If they’re writing similar work, they’re going to have an advantage at every step of the process, from getting to work with publishers to selling their work directly to readers.
The Case for Optimism
Despite the fact that most books never get published, there is some reason for optimism. You can get a book published if you can follow these three important steps: ·
- Write something both desired and unique. If you want to be successful, you can’t just write a book on a whim. You need to carefully and strategically plan your writing, the same way you’d plan a business, conducting market research, competitive research, and other forms of research to substantiate your ideas. The goal is to write something that is both desired and unique. You need to choose a topic or a format that’s highly appealing to a specific target audience and present it in a way they’ve never seen before. If you can do this, you’ll stand a much higher chance of standing out to both publishers and your target audience.
- Commit to finishing. Once you find an idea that seems to work, commit to finishing your book. If you can finish your work, in full, you’ll instantly have a competitive edge over all the people who gave up prematurely.
- Be open to various publication options. With a finished draft in hand, remain open to various publication options. You can work with a publisher directly. You can work with a literary agent. You can even publish the work yourself, either in physical or digital form. If you remain open to all these options, you’ll always have a path forward.
It’s not easy to get a book published. It’s even harder to publish a book and turn a decent profit on it. But once you learn to recognize the pitfalls of book publishing, you’ll be in a much better strategic position to overcome those pitfalls.