The Sunday Feed
What’s Your Story!
Would it offend you if I were to tell you that you know to read but you do not know how to write? Probably but not if were to tell you that when I say writing, I am talking about writing a book of your own!
We have come a long way since the first book, “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history was written. It is believed that so far around 130 million books have been published. That is quite less if you consider that some authors have written most of the books or on an average 20 books. According to the NOP World Culture Score Index, India is the country that reads the most, with over 10 hours per week. Thailand and China are second and third, with 9.24 and 8 hours per week respectively.
There are 2 probable reasons why people do not write. One reason is because the success rate of authors is excruciatingly low. It is believed that only 0.0025% of the authors are deemed successful because they manage to sell at least 1000 copies if you were to rate success only on the number of books sold. A first time author can expect to sell somewhere between 250–300 copies of the book in the first year. The other reason being that it takes a lot of effort and perseverance, especially the research you need to put in, no matter what genre your book belongs to.
Classics from the English literature have done very well when it comes to judging a book by the number of copies sold. The most read book till date is the Bible with 3.9 billion copies sold in the past 50 years. “Don Quixote” is the second highest selling book so far having sold 500 million copies followed by “A Tale of 2 Cities” and The Lord of the Rings with a sale of 250 million and150 million books respectively.
Based on data from UNESCO with statistics from about 123 countries, it is believed that approximately 2.2 million books are published per year. The number seems to be going up with more and more people opting for self-publishing. There are several advantages of self-publishing. One if you are not popular yet, there is very little chance that a publishing house is going to read your story, let alone putting money behind it. The second benefit is that you are in complete control of your script and you can decide what stays and what goes out! It is believed that in 2018, there were 1.7 million stories published in the US alone. This makes the figure of 2.2 million a little questionable because China publishes more books than the US.
Self-published print books in the US increased from 6% in 2007 to 92% as of 2018. It is believed that the cost of self-publishing is around $2000 to $5000 depending on what kind of promotional package you choose. The base cost more or less remains the same around $1800 but then there are extras for fancy promotional ideas and endorsements. I did self-publish a book called, “How Not to Speak Australian” in the year 2015 after working on it for about 4 years. I managed to sell about 50 copies of the same in the first 2 months. However, soon after the launch, the company that published my book went into liquidation and I never got any royalties. Nevertheless, I have a book in my name and it stands tall in my bookshelf along with other writers like George Orwell and Jane Austen. I am not saying I have the prowess like these writers and I am anywhere close to the skills they possess but it is a slice of my story and I am proud of it.
While I was writing this article, I found that my book is still available on Fishpond.com.au but only in the hard copy format. Feels good that if I need more copies, I can instantly order them and distribute it to those who want to read it or people could order directly as well. I am not too concerned about getting monetary benefits from the book. The reader’s time spent on my story will be my royalty!
Romance, thriller, adult colouring books and children’s books, science fiction and fantasy are some genres that can sell really well. So what is it that stops you from writing? Is it that you lived a live completely devoid of thrill or romance? Or, you never indulged in any form of fantasy to create a fictional story that would keep everyone on the edge. Well I cannot speak on your behalf but I can say one thing for sure. Writing is not an easy business. It requires a lot of effort, patience and perseverance. And with so many distractions around, it is difficult to put your mind to something till it is done and dusted.
After writing my first book, I realised that I had a dream of creating music and if I could publish a book, I could do music as well. I started composing and releasing music since 2017 and as of today, I have released 21 songs. Every song has a parallel video to narrate the story visually in accordance with the audio. After putting in all the effort, I have come to the conclusion that the things that seem difficult in the beginning will eventually become your source of motivation. If you find writing a book too daunting, you can start with blogs and slowly set a small goal of writing a relatively decent sized book.
It is not going to be easy, but then again nothing great in life is. One day, when you look back at what you have done, at least you will not regret that you will have nothing that will keep you alive after you are gone. Those who outlive you will take over all your wealth and the things that you own will be auctioned to the highest bidder rhetorically speaking. However, if you share a story, it will be yours till there is life on earth because no one can claim it. And so will be any other piece of creative that you develop. A painting or a song, they will all have your signature on it. Having said that it is time for me to sign off for now and leave you with a thought that for every story, there is always someone willing to lend an ear.