According to polls conducted by the Huffington Post, about 80% of Americans want to be a published author. In 2012, statisticians tallied over 320,000 books published in the U.S. alone and 2.2 million books published by the rest of the world. Overall, Google says that about 5 years ago, humankind reached a total of 130 million works that are known to have been published throughout time.
All of the books, however, were not successfully marketed. Some writers have only been able to publish one book, and succumbed to the difficulties of being an author.
As for the successful ones, the author life hasn't been exactly easy. Mystery author Janel Evanovich earned $33 million in 2012 but before being published for the first time, she wrote 10 years straight without any luck nor did she make any notable money from her job. She tried hard writing romance but hit the gold mine when she tapped Mystery.
Even Stephen King wasn't spared from the hardships of being an author. His first big novel, Carrie, was rejected dozens of times.
John Grisham, author of the legendary novel A Time to Kill, was rejected 12 times by publishing companies. However, in 2012, he earned $26 million from said novel.
C.S. Lewis' experience is quite possibly the worst of them all. He was rejected over 800 times before he even got published.
Of course, J.K. Rowling had one of the saddest stories before she became a billionaire with Harry Potter. She was rejected by over a dozen publishing houses, all while struggling from the aftermath of a broken marriage.
So what does the trend tell us? To become a successful writer, one must never give up easily, even after being rejected hundreds of times. The writer must continuously edit, revise, and improve until someone says, "Hey, this could sell really well!"
Whenever we take part in a game of risk, we are playing the odds. To understand the probabilities involved, people must know the risks involved in reaching a certain goal. For most events, people can generally describe what the outcome will be, and identify their likely occurrence, In the case of these writers, they became more experienced the more they tried, ultimately limiting their failures from the past until they finally reached their respective goals.
Of course, there are other factors involved in order for a book to sell well. For example, hiring an experienced publicist who can help launch a book through different mediums. A good book, after all, will never sell itself. In truth, there's no actual recipe to becoming a successful published writer. It's just trial and error and hard work -- two things that have always launched authors, both old and new, to success.