I haven't had the opportunity to address this before, but it's a statistic thrown around by people in the publishing industry constantly.
"The average self-published book sells only one hundred copies in its entire lifetime. All those copies are sold to friends and family."
This is a lie and it's bothered me for awhile now. This is about self-publishing e-books. People have only been able to do this for the last few years. That isn't even enough time for any books to be much older than baby books, let alone have full, long lifetimes where they sold only one hundred copies.
Also, most people I meet and befriend will never even see my book covers, let alone read them, but I still find ways to sell people books every month.
If you are thinking about going into self-publishing or you just self-published, ignore this statistic. I've sold many more copies than this and I think anyone can do what I've done. This statistic is always quoted in articles where someone is talking about how you can't make a living self-publishing and it's used to discourage people.
I panicked when I first saw it before I published my first book. I thought that my book would sell five copies the first month to five people that I beg in person to buy the book and no one else would buy it ever again.
I'm not saying the average self-published novel sells thousands of copies in the first year. They do not. But self-publishing is about the long term. It's about years of writing, marketing, and self-publishing books. It doesn't matter if your book sells only five copies a month. (Which might total only $10 in royalties a month.) That might be five copies every month for the rest of your life, which in total if your book is around for fifty years could be over ten thousand dollars.
Keep writing more and that number will increase every month. I've been told by some authors that the number increases exponentially. I'll let you know as I publish more books.
Even if you've only sold one hundred copies and your sales have died, try marketing a new way. A self-published book only dies if you give up on it. I had a month when Kindle Unlimited made my sales basically zero, I worked at marketing and now my book sales have stabilized and last month was my highest sales number ever.
Don't give up.