Reaching for the Stars, Stats be Damned

So I read last night that 70% of fiction never turns a profit and the average advance (especially for a first-time author) is between $10,000 – $20,000, rather than the larger, less common six figure numbers the media likes to quote. My response: so what?

I know it’s likely I’ll have to keep my day job for a while, but I’m okay with that. The reason I am doing this is because there is a series of stories in my head that have to be told, otherwise my characters won’t shut up and I won’t be happy. Don’t get me wrong, meteoric success is my plan, but there is no rule saying it will come with the first published book. Plenty of authors had several books published before a later one put them on the best seller list (Dan Brown, Alyson Noel, Suzanne Collins, just to name a few). But then again, JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer prove that once in a while, someone hits it right the first time. (And how many musicians and actors are on the same path? It only takes one golden opportunity to make it big.)

No matter which path my career takes, I’m dreaming big. To me, there is no point in doing anything else. So what if a six or seven-figure advance is unlikely and the NYT best seller list is very difficult to attain? My theory is if you start out expecting to be mediocre, that’s all you’ll ever be. Delusional or not, I’m planning on hitting it big with my first series, best sellers, foreign rights, movie deals and all. For me, there is no other way. It’s kind of like winning the lottery; it’s not statistically likely, but as long as you buy a ticket, you have a chance. If I don’t dream big, I may as well give up. And that’s something I won’t ever do.

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