Columbia Business Report, Columbia, SC:
The S.C. Education Lottery recorded $1.047 billion in sales in the fiscal year that ended June 30, making the most recent year the second-highest revenue period since the lottery launched in 2002. The popular instant scratch-off ticket games saw sales of $697 million — the highest ever in that category. “We attribute our strong instant ticket sales to the fact we listened to our customers and provided a wide range of options,” Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea said.
During hard economic times, when families had less disposable income than in remembered history, South Carolina's lottery set record sales. The Executive Director can take credit all day long, but we know the real reason. People were daring to dream. Desperate people were seeking answers to their financial problems. Every lottery gambler enjoyed cheap entertainment deciding how they would spend their millions if they won. Bad times makes people gamble harder.
The lottery is proof that people still crave entertainment. They buy books for the same reason. Why do you think ebook sales are exploding? Your writing obligation is to pen stories that are wonderful enough to carry these people away from their troubles. The economy is hard, but people will spend money on feel-good items to serve as balm on their sore problems.
We should be publishing only our best ideas anyway, but when the means to do so is easy, we tend to publish before it's perfect. But times are tight, and dollars fewer, so you must create your absolute best if you want to pull struggling people away from their precious coins.
The lottery is proof that people want distraction, and will spend money to find it. A ticket costs about the same as the average ebook, especially with the added Power Play. Readers sacrifice hard-earned money to read your work. The least you can do is present your best as thanks. Remember, they could be buying a lottery ticket instead.