Mark Terry

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Something to Contemplate

August 6, 2008
I'm going on a hiatus. Tonight I'll be chaperoning a cabin of 11 boys at marching band camp, then tomorrow I'll be trying to wrap up some work before going back to the camp for a performance. Then Friday we're taking off for a vacation and unlike last time, I'm not going to blog about it. I will, unfortunately, be taking my laptop, checking e-mail, and perhaps even working some (well, definitely some), but I'm going to try hard to get out of a work mindset.

Gee, you're missing me already, aren't you?

Anyway, while I'm gone, I wanted to provide some very basic statistics about the publishing industry. I got the raw data from some agent's website yesterday, but verified it from Bookwire today, although their most recent statistics are from 2004. Still, I doubt they have changed significantly.

Let me put it bluntly:

75% of the books published in the U.S. are nonfiction

People writing novels outnumber nonfiction book proposals by 10 to 1.

Let me say it a little differently:

Even though you stand three times the chance of getting a nonfiction book published than a novel, ten times the number of people writing nonfiction books are writing novels.

You can go to Bookwire and check the numbers yourself, but here are some old raw data.

In 2004, 195,000 books published in the U.S.

25,184 were adult fiction
21,516 were juvenile

That's about 24%.

The rest, in as much as they are described, are nonfiction of some sort.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Hey, we will miss you! Have a great time. I have a bunch of students at band camp. One is field commander this year! He's so proud and excited.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Interesting stats, Mark. But I would think unless you have a platform, or a PhD or MD or something, nonfiction is as hard a nut to crack as fiction. One good thing with nonfiction, though: a first-timer can get away with pitching a proposal and waiting to see some dough before spending a lot of time actually writing the book.

Enjoy your time off!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Have a good time.

I don't know enough about anything to write a nonfiction book. I see that almost as many Juveniles are published as adults. Wonder how many people are trying to write juveniles? I don't tend to write in a manner that would be verboten for a juvenile. Heck, juvenile sf was my first literary love. Of course I haven't read a juvenile in over 40 years. Oh, wait, I have read new juvenile...

8:03 PM  
Blogger Suzanne Perazzini said...

Of course those statistics probably include all manuals, school texts etc. in the non-fiction section. However, the stats have won me over. Just got to figure out what I know enough about now.

2:52 AM  
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