Stephen King is a loser
This is my 51st show, so bear with me for a
minute before you throw a fit about me hating on a living legend. I do have a
point I promise. I know it’s crazy to call Stephen King a loser. I mean that’s
insane. He’s one of the most popular authors on the planet.
But he is a loser and I’ll tell you why.
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Here’s the deal. Stephen King does very well for himself. He
sells between 1-2 million copies of every book he writes. I mean every book. He
could write a book that is titled I Hate All of You, and sell a million copies.
The man knows his way around the written word, and many
people love what he has to say. But still, he is a loser.
Because even though he sells 2 million books, there are 7.4
billion people in this world!
Now, let’s just assume for a moment that every single one of
those 2 million books is sold to a brand new customer. That means nobody is
buying a second copy and libraries aren’t buying multiples either. This is a
fantasy world of course because fans often buy dozens of books as do libraries.
Let’s also assume that half of the world’s population are
old enough to buy a book. That’s 3.7 billion people on this planet that are old
enough to buy a book.
Then, let’s remove the 800 million people who are illiterate
out of that. So we have 2.9 billion people on this planet who can buy a book
and are literate enough to read.
I’m going to be a chum and cut out another 900 million
people to give us a nice round number of 2 billion people. Stephen King has a
potential audience of 2 billion people.
And he only sells 2 million books. That’s 1/1000 of the
population who buys his books. Which means that 99.9% of people in this world
DON’T buy Stephen King books.
That’s pretty pathetic, right? Well not really. It’s
actually amazing that .1% of the population DOES BUY his work.
And that’s really what I want to get at here. Stephen King
doesn’t concern himself with the 99.9%. He concerns himself with the .1%. He
isn’t worried that most people don’t like his work. He’s just trying to find
the people that do.
And we as creatives should be doing the same. We need to
stop focusing on all the people that won’t buy our work and realize that is
just 1 in every 100,000 people does like our work we can have a very nice
But in order to get 20,000 people who like our work we need
to talk to all the people. We need to talk to as many people as possible. Most
of them will turn their backs away, but if 1 in every 100,000 says yes then
you’ll have 20,000 screaming fans.
But you can’t find that if you worry about rejection. So I
want you to go out and talk to 100 people, and understand that 99 of them are
going to say no to your work. However, one will say yes and you will light up
their lives. That’s precious. That’s worth the rejection.