But how many people do actually set out to write a novel?
Replies to comments
@Jay In the context of my question, "set out to write" means that they begin to write it. The number I'm after includes those that eventually give up, as well as those that manage to publish their novel.
@MarkBaker: I'm not after professionals here. I'm trying to understand the situation of aspiring writers.
The percentage of the population that attempts to write a novel directly reflects how desirable writing as a profession appears to the general public, compared to other professions.
@ggiaquin Any numbers would be helpful at all. Of course there are cultural differences, but given the scarcity of data, numbers from all over the world are relevant for a first impression.
If the scope of this question must be regionally limited, I am mostly interested in the Western world. There is a lot of cross publishing among countries of Europe and the Americas, there are many cultural similarities, and there should be some similarity among aspiring writers, too. Also, those are the countries where most of our users come from, so that is where we will have most information.