We all hear that getting published is one of the longest, most frustrating, and near impossible processes out there. Publishers get thousands of proposals a week that they need to evaluate, and in comparison to authors that are already published, you’ll never make it. So, you might as well give up on your dream of ever becoming a published author right?
Well, this post is here to help you determine your answer to that question. We are going to look at the hard, cold facts about publishing and really dig deep to figure out what your actual chances at publication are. Whether you’ve never completed a manuscript in your life, or have tried and failed, keep reading to find out how you stack up in the publishing world.
There are many statistics on how many first-time authors get published. According to literary agent Chip Gregor, there are roughly 65,000 new books published traditionally per year, and publishers get almost ten million proposals a year. Literary agents are not much better as they get almost 10,000 queries a year on average. Writer’s Digest also suggested that nearly ninety percent of all manuscripts and query letters received by publishers are rejected immediately. These odds are clearly not great, and if you used these to determine your chance at success, your chances would add up to a big fat hopeless. So does this mean you might as well not even try? Maybe not.
In 2014, Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Surveys conducted a survey and formulated a report based upon 9,000 respondents. Each of these respondents had completed a manuscript, and 23% succeeded in becoming traditionally published (13.4% of the total sample). While this report only cancels out 23% of the potential competition, Mark O-Brannon, a self-published author, states that “If you have a good, unique story idea and develop it well, you can cut out 90% of your competition.” So does this mean you should try as a new author? The statistics do seem to be a bit contradictory.
Overall, it seems that statistics vary greatly depending upon the quality and uniqueness of your story. While 90% of those proposals do get rejected, that 90% percent is said to be poor in quality and not worth publishing. If you can beat that, your odds are great.
However, this means editing, revising, re-writing, all of which add up to suffering, anxiety, and emotional despair (just kidding it’s not always that bad). It seems that first-time authors’ statistics come down to who can write the best story, and are not sincerely based on how many stories are submitted.
According to the Purple Crayon Blog, the odds are terrible when looked at statistically and “you shouldn’t care.” Statistics prove that your chances at getting published are significantly influenced by how you handle yourself, your writing, and your process. The odds of getting published increase significantly when writers truly commit to their book. This includes hiring an excellent editor, building a strong writing platform, creating strong promotions, and then eventually finding the right publisher or agent. For those who are willing to stick in it for the long haul, odd definitely are improved, but still uncertain. According to an article published by the Purple Crayon, your black and white, numbered statistics are always going to stink. Another article states that odds shouldn’t change how a writer approaches what he or she is doing.
Overall, the chances of getting published by a traditional publisher as a first-time author are mixed. The numbered and literally statistics show that it is a truly impossible feat and that you should never put in the effort because it’s simply not worth your time. However, reality states something different. Reality states that while the odds do suck, so do a lot of writers, and the ones that don’t have significantly good odds. Bottom line, put in the work, accept rejection, improve, become the best, and your odds will improve. It’s never a guaranteed success though.
***That’s it! Thanks for reading guys. I know this topic has a ton of different perspectives and angles, so I’m going to post a few links below to articles that also speak on the statistics of getting published as a new author. Feel free to comment and share what your publishing experience or advice is. Hope you all found this useful!***