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Seth Godin reminded me about a couple of his older posts that share advice for authors. Good timing as I sort the final details of a book contract with Nikki at Peachpit.

"If you're doing it for the money, you're going to be disappointed. On the other hand, a book gives you leverage to spread an idea and a brand far and wide.

"Don't try to sell your book to everyone. First, consider this: "58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school." Then, consider the fact that among people even willing to buy a book, yours is just a tiny little needle in a very big haystack. Far better to obsess about a little subset of the market — that subset that you have permission to talk with, that subset where you have credibility, and most important, that subset where people just can't live without your book.

"The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you'll need later.

"Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one."

Advice for authors, Seth Godin, 21 July 2005
Advice for authors, Seth Godin, 02 August 2006

A must-read if you've ever thought of writing a book.

Further resources:
Book industry statistics
The Society of Authors