Do the math: 170,000 real books published a year, probably 50,000 of them are commercial, well constructed and seriously published. Of those 50,000, as many as 100 (that’s 2 a week) hit their potential. One out of five hundred. It’s got to be some book, but it doesn’t have to be yours.
One of the biggest distinctions between old publishing and new is the nature of luck.
The fact is, in the old model, something had to become a bestseller. What to Expect When You’re Expecting just hit its tenth year on the bestseller lists (520 weeks in a row, 17 million copies sold). It’s a great book from a great publisher, but a run like that is as much the work of good timing, good breaks and the fickle finger of fate. There’s a reason the expression, “surprise bestseller” is in the vernacular. Most bestsellers are in fact, surprises.