According to surveys, about 80% of us believe we have a book in us.
Let’s play with some numbers. The US population is about 320 million. That means that about 256 million Americans believe they can (should) write a book.
Now let’s apply the 80-20, just for fun.
Of the 256 million who think they have something to say, only 20% of those will ever get around to actually trying to write a book. That’s 51 million.
Of those, only 20% will finish their book. That’s a little more than 10 million. That’s a lot of books.
According to my non-scientific research, there are about 300,000 books published in the US each year, not counting self-publishing in all its forms. Of the 300,000, about 100,000 are some sort of fiction.
Now 100,000 sounds like a lot. Surely your novel can be one of the 100,000.
Let’s look at it another way. Of the 10 million books that are written each year, only 1% get published. The best 1%.
Maybe you’re in the top 10%. That would earn you an A in school. You’re better than 90% of the others. But it’s not good enough to get published. You need to be in the top 1%.
Here’s the part that’s not true.
The 1% doesn’t necessarily represent the best writers. It represents the most marketable, the books that publishers are willing to take a chance on because they believe they can sell product. Sometimes lesser writing is marketable.
So not only do you have to be a good writer, you have to have a sense of what is marketable if you want to get published.
The odds are against you. But then again, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about the words.
Tell your story. Even if it’s just for you.