The best estimate that you will usually encounter of how many people in the U.S. regularly read science fiction and fantasy is five million. There are probably three or four times that many who read F&SF occasionally, and there are certainly fifty or sixty million who enjoy science fiction and fantasy in the dramatic form of movies or television.
So. My solid fan base consists of about one percent—that’s right, ONE percent—of the solid mass audience for F&SF. It rises to perhaps two percent—yeah, that’s right, TWO percent—if we measure everyone who’s occasionally read something of mine against the occasional audience for science fiction and fantasy. And it falls back closer to one percent if we measure my name recognition against the entire audience (including movie-goers and TV-watchers) for our genre.
In other words, the difference between Resplendent Popular Author Me and Pitiful Literary Auteur Whazzername is the difference between tiny (one percent) and miniscule (one-tenth of one percent).
–Eric Flint on small things.
Flint’s post is about Puppy-related Hugo drama, but I think the quote’s interesting on its own merits to show just how, well. Tiny SFF book fandom really is.