New! Mathematical Mondays

…Exploring dubious theories by using real numbers to prove intangible arguments.

Today: Why You Should Be Writing A Book

The Formula

Your Potential Readers

(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.

Remember, writers are readers too

Remember, writers are readers too

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?

  11 comments for “New! Mathematical Mondays

  1. October 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Very encouraging news to all writers!


  2. carolannwrites
    October 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Ok… Let’s sell a book or two…


  3. October 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Fingers crossed — trouble is they have to get to know about us first and that’s the difficult bit.


    • October 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      True – it’s all in the marketing – but while marketing could make an average book sell, it won’t necessarily make readers come back for more. That’s down to the quality of the story and the prose, and the more work we put in, the better those are. Honest!!


  4. johanna buchanan
    October 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    632 million potential customers; now where can I meet them?


    • October 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      It’s a kind of an online dating service… you may well get judged by your cover, but if you say the right things it can lead to a mutually beautiful relationship 😉


  5. johanna buchanan
    October 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    632 million potential readers. Now where can I meet them?


  6. johanna buchanan
    October 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    So sorry – didn’t realise I had said that already. Think I need a lie-down thinking of all those numbers.


  7. October 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Interesting post – it’s the marketing that makes the difference I suppose – a more difficult task!


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