I have to say this list is my best reason NOT to write anymore books:
The best-selling books of the past decade:
1. E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey (2011) – 15.2 million copies
2. E. L. James, Fifty Shades Darker (2011) – 10.4 million copies
3. E. L. James, Fifty Shades Freed (2012) – 9.3 million copies
4. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (2008) – 8.7 million copies
5. Kathryn Stockett, The Help (2009) – 8.7 million copies
6. Paula Hawkins, The Girl on The Train (2015) – 8.2 million copies
7. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (2012) – 8.1 million copies
8. John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (2012) – 8 million copies
9. Stieg Larsson, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (2008) – 7.9 million copies
10. Veronica Roth, Divergent (2011) – 6.6 million copies
The American appetite for intelligent, well-researched literature is small and getting smaller. Almost no one reads actual books anymore, except for soft porn with a little S & M thrown in, or futuristic action thrillers. The only two books I enjoyed from this list were “The Help” and “The Fault in our Stars.”
According to the article “Reading habits in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts” “On average, Americans aged 20 to 34 spend less than seven minutes per day reading. Although the time spent reading increases in the older generations, the general trend is worrying…While more modern forms of entertainment such as watching television, browsing the internet, and video gaming have all become major pastimes for Americans, traditional forms of entertainment such as reading books or magazines seem to be on the decline.”
Being an academic librarian for 25 years I find I am so “old school” on this topic. I assumed that Americans read to improve their minds and learn about the lives of others, not to find something fun to masturbate to. As usual, I came to the “party” too late to write books that some would read to improve their understanding of midlife change, or how one might use psychology to live a better life past age 50. Silly me.
My last book is a memoir about the breakdowns and breakthroughs of searching for a whole new life in rural Colorado in a solar home:
“Finding the perfect perch for solar exposure was a top priority, but finding a place with pristine mountain views was also essential. In 2014 they sold their nice suburban home in Fort Collins, Colorado and headed south to build on their lot with spectacular views of the Spanish Peaks in the foothills west of Walsenburg. Here I share our unique experience, building passive solar from the footers up.”
To be honest, I had my doubts about writing all of my books. I wasn’t so out of touch as to doubt the interest of Americans in reading anything anymore except their own ratings on social media and posting more selfies! I now see that our interest in only following the websites that don’t require much reading or critical thinking and support our own personal biases, have brought us to this sad state of American politics.
I’m not afraid to admit our future scares me if alternative facts, outright lies, ignorance is bliss, and anti-intelligent rhetoric has become the American way. I appreciate my excellent education everyday. At one point I was a scholar of Chinese history, so I have seen how attacks on the best minds of our country can destroy ALL OF OUR FREEDOMS.
Go check out the “Cultural Revolution” in modern Chinese history if you want to learn how that worked out!
Believe me, we don’t want to go there!
9 thoughts on “Why NOT to write a book these days!”
I couldn’t agree with you more.
Yes Sydney! I find this new development so distressing!
I agree with 99% of what you wrote. The 1% I disagree with is the Hunger Games. I read that book before it hit the best seller lists and became nothing more than a “which boy does she love more, and let’s swoon over them all” commercial success. I loved it. I feel it is a well written dystopian cautionary tale of where we could end up if we continue down our present path, with some satire of reality shows thrown in for good measure. (Divergent, on the other hand, I was unimpressed with.) What scares me is how people took that dystopian tale and did what they did with it, which proves your point exactly. So maybe I agree 100%.
The timing of this post is interesting because last night, my husband was telling me that I should write a book about my anti-diet approach to weight loss and having a peaceful relationship with food. He said it would sell a ton because people love my method. I told him that few people make money on books. All it does for coaches is give them a kind of BS credential, and they don’t make much money on the book. You’ve made some excellent points about why I shouldn’t do it, too. Thanks! I’ve got too much else on my plate right now!
Hi Shari! I have made some money on my books over the years and even received a few wonderful letters of support for my efforts. Now I say don’t write a book for any reason unless you feel certain you must. That way if it costs more to publish than you make, you still feel good about it 🙂
I agree. I wrote a non-fiction book for parenting teens last year. It has done marginally well. I am just now following some people and their free stuff to begin marketing. If there is info that you have to share, I say go for it!
I agree completely! If you feel a strong need to write books, then write them. I’m just trying to temper high expectations like, “Maybe I’ll make a million!”
I think much of the world has dumbed down when it comes to books and reading. I’m guilty as well. I try to read books and honestly, haven’t finished one in years. I can start reading but never get to the end. Something “shiny” online grabs my attention and I do a lot of online reading. Sigh. It’s a sad affair unfortuniately.
Ain’t it the truth Jae! I still read magazines & books, but I am very picky what I read.