The Truth About Publishing – 16

PART 2. SURVIVING PUBLICATION


Lesson 15: Is that all you’re printing?

Your favourite author gets a 200,000 copy print run, but don’t even dream about doing the same. She’s spent 20 years building her name and sales. Besides, she got in first, and lots of other authors in your chosen genre have prospered since, and there’s relentless competition from hundreds of thousands of people self-publishing their own ebooks. There’s not much room in the market for newcomers these days.

Print runs are surprisingly low in Australia and other English speaking countries – in fact everywhere. The initial paperback print run for a popular fiction title by a new author in Australia would typically be 3,000 – 8,000 copies. For literary fiction, it might only be 1,000 – 2,000 copies. In the UK, initial paperback print runs for popular fiction by new authors are typically 10,000 or less, and in the US, 25,000 or less. Again, for literary novels, print runs can be considerably lower. If you sell translations, print runs for European countries, except the largest, are likely to be in the range 1-4,000 copies.

In Australia, only major bestsellers are published in hardcover because consumers are reluctant to pay for them. It’s much the same in the UK. A lot of authors are published in hardcover in the US, where it’s a sign that your publisher is enthusiastic about your book. Even there, typical hardcover print runs are 10,000 or less.


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