Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's a Successful Literary Novel?

How many copies sold make a success of a work of literary fiction?

The answer (cribbed from GalleyCat care of Editorial Ass):

If you've sold between 4,000 and 7,000 copies, in hardcover, of your literary novel, you did a damned good job... If you sold between 2,000 and 4,000 copies of your literary novel, you sold pretty strongly. You're still in a good position to have your publisher want to take on your second project, or to comfortably find a home elsewhere. If you sold below 1,500 copies, your publisher is probably disappointed, although they will never tell you that. Instead, they will tell you that debuts are hard, and literary fiction is nearly impossible. Both these things are true.

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