Out of curiosity this week I decided to search for some novel writing statistics, specifically how many people write novels. The results were surprising. Here’s what I discovered.
Out of 97% of people who begin writing a novel:
30 out of 1000 go on to finish it.
Only 6 out of those 30 go on to see their novel published.
Thought provoking, right?
I’m amazed to find myself within not only that 3% of the population who have completed a book, but part of the 0.6% who reach publication. Pretty staggering stats. You can check out more here and here if you’re interested.
Writers and poets, if that doesn’t give you an injection of motivation for your current work in progress, I can’t think of anything else that would. It certainly gave me a much-needed boost. As we progress through life, society expects us to meet certain milestones: marriage, kids, education/ career, house, car. The list goes on. The percentages for these things (that I got from a quick Google search and some calculations to work out the averages) are as follows:
Tertiary education: 45%
Drive/have a car: 77%
Since I’m decidedly average with the list above, knowing that I am part of the 3% who have completed a novel, and the 0.6% who have had books published, is something that I am proud of; not to mention a huge part of my identity. I write, therefore I am. Authors, I’m sure you can relate to that.
This stat is hard for me to believe. SO many people are writing novels. The markets are oversaturated with amateur novels!
I know, it certainly does feel like there are so many Indie books out there. Still, if it’s an accurate ratio of published authors Vs the population as a whole, it’s certainly a thought-provoking stat. 🙂
Interesting stats. Thanks for the article. 🙂 I’d heard something similar to that over the years. Out of curiosity (typical author) when you say ‘published’ is that through either legacy publishing or self-publishing? Or is your stat an amalgam of the two?
Hi Katie, apologies for the day in replying, I hadn’t received notification of your comment! Yes, the articles I had looked at refer to publishing generally, so I assume that includes both traditional and self-publishing. It might be interesting to see if there is a difference between the two, and if so by how much, since Indie publishing makes it so much easier for writers to achieve their publishing goals. Might look into that as a matter of curiosity. 🙂
Thanks for the response. If your curiosity overwhelms you, I would love to read the article. 🙂
Delightful to have found your blog as I searched for facts on how many people want to write a book and how many actually complete their book.
Glad my post helped.☺️ It actually is quite hard to dig up the statistics!
You start the statistic, “Out 97% of people who begin writing a novel.” What do you mean?
I’m not sure what’s confusing? You can read the links in the blog post if you’re unclear, the info is all there. 🙂
The 97% part is confusing.
What happens to the rest or the 3%?
Is this statistic maybe just saying that 3% of people (everyone) who start a novel finish it? And 97% don’t??
Yes, I think that maybe of the sample of people conducted, which I understood to be 1000 people from the articles, 97% start writing a novel but only 3% finish it, then 0.6% of that 3% go on to publish their novel. Though I haven’t found any more precise data about how many of the 0.6% traditionally, hybrid or self-publish their book.