…Exploring dubious theories by using real numbers to prove intangible arguments.
Today: Why You Should Be Writing A Book
(Where y= number of books read by a regular reader in 1 year and P = population)
How Many People Could Be Reading Your Book?
I read between 20-40 books a year, depending on how long, literary, bloody fantastic or eye-wateringly boring they are. I don’t know if that’s a lot, or not many. But even on the lower end, that’s 20 books, written by 20 different people. It would be unusual for me to read 2 books by the same author in a year.
I am only 1 person, and yet I rely on at least 20 authors to write (or have written, let’s not forget the classics) books for me to read in a single year. More people don’t write books, than do write books, so there are far less authors than there are readers.
And What Are They Reading?
In 2012, over 80% of the combined hardback and paperback book sales in the UK, according to Nielsen Ratings, were fiction of some type or other, including children’s and young adult. Although e-books aren’t included, I think we can assume that more reference books were sold in paper format than digital (in 2012 at least), so that could bump up the fiction numbers even more.
Could I please get to the point?
So, to the numbers.
Let’s say out of an underestimate of Ireland’s population, we’ll count 4 million, 3 million read books, and 2 million of those read books with stable regularity. If those 2 million people read 10 books a year, and 80% of those books are fiction, that’s 16 million possible scenarios where someone could be reading the story YOU wrote on just one tiny, cold, wet island on the edge of the Atlantic.
Translate this to America (pop. 316 million). If only 50% of them read books, and these people read just 5 books a year, and just 80% of these are fiction, that’s still 632 million occasions when a person lays their hands on a story and at least begins to read it.
I know that books get swapped, re-sold, taken out of libraries and demonised by hardline fanatics. But that’s not the point. The point is that if you’re writing a book, a thousand other people aren’t.
There’s a huge audience out there, folks. Why shouldn’t at least some of them be reading your book?