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:

Marriage: 50%

Kids: 30%

Tertiary education: 45%

Homeowner: 65%

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.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/75c5a1ad6956/leilanie-stewart-author-info

12 responses »

  1. Abby says:

    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. 🙂

  2. Katie Berry says:

    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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. Kristal Melbye says:

    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. 🙂

      • Kristal Melbye says:

        The 97% part is confusing.

      • Kristal Melbye says:

        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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s