I wish we printed an article like this ...

... every Sunday in The Dallas Morning News. It might have cut down on the half-a-dozen requests I'd get each week from would-be writers for help editing-writing their manuscripts, help getting an agent, help getting their self-published book reviewed: what's entailed nowadays not just in getting that first novel published but getting copies of it sold. Plus a few rare success stories.

To give you some idea, these are the stats for British publishers according to the Guardian story. Double or triple these numbers for US houses:

· Around 70,000 titles are published a year in Britain, of which 6,000 are novels [it's closer to 180,000 new titles in America]

· Any large UK publisher will receive 2,000 unsolicited novel manuscripts in a year

· The average sale of a hardback book by a first-time writer is 400 copies

· Many publishers use this rule of thumb to work out advances: they pay 50 per cent of the royalty earnings expected from the first print run

· According to the latest edition of Private Eye, the first novel The Thirteenth Tale by ex-teacher Diane Setterfield (author's advance £800,000) has sold 13,487 copies to date. Only 516,129 copies to go and the book's paid for itself...

March 27, 2007 8:37 AM | | Comments (1)



Actually, Setterfield's book may have paid for itself ages ago - I believe the UK deal was for world rights, not UK only, and with the phenomenal success of the book (plus the hefty advance sums) I think Orion earned out even before the book's publication, or at least shortly thereafter. It's interesting the book did significantly better in the US than the UK, but that's a whole other story.


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