How many copies do average authors sell?

I posted earlier about the sales number for best-selling authors. What about the average author?

Here’s Patrick Nielsen Hayden, an editor at Tor Books, in an interview on about the future effects of e-text on publishing:

io9: Does it make a difference to you if an author has an online reputation? Does that go into your decisions to acquire books?

PNH: Obviously it makes a difference if an author has a public online profile of some sort, even just down to the level of having a moderately popular blog. Most books sell 5, 10, or 15 thousand copies. Most are midlist books. With those people, even a modest online presence can make a difference in sales.

The whole interview is interesting. In fact, he says something that I think is important to note about what today’s novelists and, to a lesser degree, short story writers are actually providing:

One thing I’m sure of is that we’re [Tor Books] going to be in linear immersive narratives that produce the reading trance. We won’t be moving towards a “choose your own adventure” thing. People will do those things, but those are different art forms. There’s something about immersive text that you can read in order – it’s persisted through many technological changes. This fiction stuff works pretty well. It’s been around a long time

I think he’s right. The EXPERIENCE you get in the reader’s trance, similar to the one you get in a movie, is a strong experience. The media used to convey that experience doesn’t really matter as long as it makes it easy to get into the trance.

Check out the whole interview.

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