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book publishing statistics

So, who is going to buy your book?

When I started writing my book, I had a clear picture of who would read it. They helped guide my content and formatting decisions, and knowing they are time-starved business people, anything that didn’t provide quick access to practical advice was deleted. At least 30 percent of my first draft was edited out because it was not adding value. As I wrote my publisher’s proposal, I realized there are other audiences that could gain from my book and that I would need to market to them when it becomes available. Here are my three audiences:

1. Leaders of Change (primary)
2. Teachers and Students of Change (secondary)
3. Cadbury and Kraft Enthusiasts (secondary)

Leaders of Change
Leaders and their teams working on big change
projects, including executive
sponsors (who fund and have overall accountability for projects), project
managers (who run the day-to-day operations), and team members (who have project-specific roles).

Teachers and Students
Universities that offer change management/organizational development degrees and MBA programs (most include change management courses). My book includes 100 mini-case studies (fifty good practices and fifty poor
practices), accommodates all four
learning styles, has recommended actions that promote lecture discussion and assignments,
and all content is based on practical experience.
Cadbury and Kraft Enthusiasts
Current and former Cadbury/Kraft employees. My book includes  forty-four mini-case
studies on Cadbury and Kraft, almost all of which have never been published.
It excites me that these audiences will look at my book through different lenses and focus on what they find useful. Regardless of your intended destination, the reader is in the driver’s seat.
Phil

10 Facts I’m Ignoring About Book Publishing

As I write the introduction and conclusion of my book, my mind is wandering to the next phase: getting published. It’s easy to get discouraged when reading facts about the book industry. Most statistics-based articles say “it’s really, really hard” and “don’t get your hopes up.” I can’t think of a better underdog challenge!

It takes optimism and tenacity (and skill) to achieve great things, so I will be ignoring  the following: 

– Over one million books were published in 2009
– Amazon.com has 74,000 change management  and 640,000 change books
– In the first quarter of 2011, the number of print books sold in Canada dropped by 10.9 percent
– Book industry sales declined by 5 percent between 2007 and 2009 in the U.S.
– Less than 2 percent of published books are commercially viable
– 70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance
– 80 percent of book sales are controlled by five publishing conglomerates
– Out of 1.2 million books tracked by Nielsen Book Scan (as of 2004), 950,000 books sold fewer than 99 copies, and another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies
– The average U.S. non-fiction book sells less than 250 copies per year
– A book has less than 1 percent chance of being stocked in a bookstore

I know rejection is part of the process and that many successful authors have lived through it (Jack Canfield, William Faulkner, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss…). So, like any goal in life, I’ll persevere until it is accomplished. But I am getting ahead of myself: first I need to finish my book so that I don’t become part of a “books that were never finished” statistic.

Phil

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