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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Authors Are a Rare and Unique Breed--Be Proud, Authors!

This blog was not on my unending To Do list.  Still the idea for it kept flashing in my brain, annoying me like that incessant 12:00 blinking on a VCR to go deal with it already.  I seem to keep adding to my To Do list more than I am taking off.  Grrr.  So, to stop the madness from taking root, here is the not-on-my-To-Do-list post.

I am proud of all 2011 NaNo participants, the two hundred thousand or more spread out over this glorious Earth.  (Wish I had exact numbers, but my quick internet search didn't find that data.)  Since NaNo ends November 30 and it is only November 27, I have no figures on the winners' count either, but would love to have that fact come December if anyone wants to share it with me (please confirm your data source).

Again, I came up empty when I tried to locate the number of authors worldwide; even a round figure on the authors registered within Amazon's Author Central netted me nothing.  So I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and their online Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-2011 edition), obviously with data mined from our Income Tax forms.  Based on 2008 numbers, there were 151,700 writers and authors here in the States.  There is no way for me to separate the two, but see my earlier blog about their differences.  Also see  http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos320.htm (where I found this info) for the great general descriptions that confirm my own definitions of "author" as versus "writer."

Since the BLS's figures are from 2008, with an expected 22,500 annual increase thereafter, I end up with an estimated 219,200 authors/writers being reported to the IRS at tax time for the year 2011.  And remember while there may be some 200,000 NaNo-ers this year, that does not mean all of them are reporting income and "have" to be among the 219,200 authors/writers the IRS recognizes.  They could be participating and winning NaNo yet not making any earnings therefrom at all.  Their salary may come from a totally different field or a day job to pay the bills.  Plus NaNo comprises people from all over the world, not just within the United States.

Here's the main point I'm leading up to.  Out of the 313 million people in just the United States, only approximately 219,200 are earning authors/writers.  Those figures alone should convince you of an author's uniqueness.  That's 7.00319 % of your fellow Americans. 

When we further refine that number, the statistics are amazing--at least they were to me.  The Kindle Direct Publishing's (KDP) November 2011 Newsletter gave me these statistics:  Within Amazon, there are only fourteen authors in the Kindle Million Club.  Remember KDP launched in 2007 along with the first Kindle release in November 2007 (not that e-books weren't born before the twenty-first century; they were there, as well).  So to have a tad more than a dozen authors reach one million in sales in four years is a pretty awesome accomplishment.

The current Kindle Million Club authors are:  David Baldacci, Amanda Hocking, Stephenie Meyer, Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Kathryn Stockett (with her debut novel), Janet Evanovich and George R.R. Martin, per KDP.

That is a club I aspire to belong to some day.  Even if it takes me decades.  However, should I do that in four years, we should throw a party or something.

Here are three more targets to keep in your sights.  

First Target:  Again per KDP, both John Locke and Amanda Hocking have sold more than TWO million books.  (Shouldn't their names be listed twice in the Kindle Million Club?  Ha!)  Really, there should be a distinction for these folks.  

Second Target:  Based on KDP figures, twelve KDP authors have sold more than two hundred thousand books.

Third Target:  From the same KDP newsletter, thirty KDP authors have sold more than one hundred thousand books.

Quite a litany, huh? Pretty impressive, I must say.  

And can be done, as these nice people before us have proven.  Like the four-minute-mile record that supposedly couldn't be broken, or Mt. Everest that couldn't be scaled--until some "uninformed" individual showed us differently.  If the KDP Kindle Million Club is too much to imagine from the get-go, look to hit one thousand in sales, then ten thousand, then one hundred thousand.

So whenever you authors out there are berating yourself mentally, or out loud--as we authors are somewhat prone to talk to ourselves--read this blog again.  Recalibrate the old mind-set.  Then get to your keyboard and pound out a new chapter, or revise an old one, or upload to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Don't stagnate.  Do something wonderful with your gift.


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