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Fifty Shades of Book Publishing – Why Bother Being an Author?

by Seth David Chernoff   //   Connection

Take My Sunshine Photo PictureHow does our perception prevent us from taking conscious action in our lives? Have you ever wanted to do something amazing, inspiring or innovative in the world? Sometimes we find an area in life where we want to show up, to be of service, and suddenly we see countless others who appear to be doing the exact same thing. Looking to purchase a blue BMW? Look around and now everyone has one. Have an idea for a new invention? You come across someone doing it already.

Take book publishing for example. These days, it appears to me that everyone is or knows an author. Some would say that EVERYONE has a book in them, but not all books should be published. Does that mean that there is no space or need for our contributions? Who is to say whether or not a book should be published? Let’s walk down this path together for a moment as I believe you might find it insightful.

Book Publishing Statistics that may surprise you:

According to the New York State Library Bookboard, there were only 9,260 books published in the US in 1907. Jump forward just overacentury to 2010 where 328,259 books were traditionally published (source: Bowker). We can add to that about 3.8 million books published by on-demand or non-traditional publishers which brings us to a total of 4,134,519 books published in 2010 (again Bowker). According to Google’s advanced algorithms, in all of modern history, 130 million books (or 129,864,880 to be exact), have been published. (A fun side statistic is that 2010 accounted for over 3% of all books in modern history – if only there were a direct correlation there between quantity and quality) – but I digress…

Let’s put book publishing into perspective:

The number of words in the English language as estimated by the Global Language Monitor as of January 1, 2012 is: 1,019,729.6 words. In the context of the 130 million books published in all of modern history (thank you Google), and doing some very simple math – that equates to 127 books for every word in the English language. Can that be right? 127 books for EVERY WORD? Do we REALLY need ANY MORE BOOKS?

Hasn’t everythingbeensaidinone form or another (at least a few hundred times by now)? One could make the argument that there is NO NEED for new writing. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even with all of these books, the content each of us is looking for in our lives in categories like business, happiness, fulfillment or spirituality is somehow unique. We can’t get enough, we are constantly thirsty for more.

Why do authors publish new books?

Crestie Your Happy Gecko

With this information, why is there a SURGE in new authors publishing their work? Is it rumored that NO OTHER industry in the world has so many new product introductions. Yet there are still surprises like Fifty Shades of Gray selling OVER 15 MILLION copies – is that a reference to pent up demand or clever writing? Other renowned books have only had a fraction of that success like Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (just over 300,000), and Life of Pi by Yann Martel (around 150,000).

Is there still room for new writers or new content? Why would I or anyone else consider publishing a NEW book?

The answer is actually simple. For most of us, it’s not for the money or the notoriety but it’s because it’s who you are, it’s part of your reason for being – it’s in your blood and in your soul. You realize that your life is unfulfilled without stepping forward into the fullness of who you are. It doesn’t matter whether you sell 10 copies or 10 million – your impact isn’t determined by statistics or revenue – but by the lives you impact, starting with your own.

Its easy for us to give up on our dreams when we obsess over the excuses for why we should play it safe, but perhaps our dreams aren’t about outcome or income, but instead about our inner journey and the rewards that arise as a result of following our dreams and being true to ourselves.

Don’t get caught up in the hype.

Listen to your heart and follow your dreams – rarely has better advice been given. Your rewards are not measured in numbers but in feelings, not in dollar signs but in a sense of fulfillment and reward.

Enjoy the journey and until next time,

Many blessings,
Seth

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