There is more noise than ever before, and for the writer trying to build an audience and get people to read her work, it can be discouraging.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
- There are currently over 181 million blogs.
- Three million books were published in 2011. That’s one book for every 100 or so people in the US.
- The chances of getting your book published traditionally are somewhere between 5% and .1% (1 in 20 to 1 in a thousand).
- If you give up on a traditional publisher and decide to self-publish, the average self-published book sells somewhere between 20 and 100 copies.
For the aspiring writer, those are not great numbers to hear, and in the midst of all that noise, you might wonder, “Does my story really matter?”
Your Story Matters to Someone
Before I decided to be a writer, I wanted to be a singer / songwriter. I thought I was going to play my songs to thousands of people and become the next John Mayer. What really happened was I played at a few empty coffee shops and seedy bars. I was desperate for an audience, but I could never manage to break through.
On a retreat from the world, I randomly wrote a story about a friend who was struggling with an addiction, and when I got home, for some reason I decided to submit it to a tiny newsletter. I didn’t think much about it. I just did it on a whim.
All of a sudden, I had people calling me, telling me how much the story meant to them. Friends of the family, grown men, told me the story made them cry. But what surprised me the most was that my dad (the handsome guy in the picture above) had read it and told me he loved it.
That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer.
I didn’t have much of an audience. I hadn’t written a bestseller. But my story had touched someone, and that was all that mattered.
Tell Your Story
Don’t worry about your audience. Don’t worry if you’re going to make a lot of money or if you’re going to get famous. Just tell your story.
Tell it bravely. Tell it vulnerably.
Tell your story as best as you can.
If your story is bravely told, it might not be a bestseller, but it will matter to someone (share this?).
At the very least, your story will matter to you.
Are you discouraged by the amount of competition in publishing? How do you handle it?
Tell a vulnerable story, a story that captures the depths of you.
Write for fifteen minutes. When your time is up, and if you feel comfortable, share your story in the comments section.