InsideMobileApps InsideSocialGames 10,000 Words FishbowlNY FishbowlDC LostRemote TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige

How Many Copies Make a Literary Bestseller?

In a long interview at The Onion‘s AV Club, novelist Neal Pollack gave readers a frank look at his bookselling track record.

He shared real numbers behind the career of a literary writer who achieved bestseller status and a big book deal. Aspiring writers should read the whole interview for more literary guidance.

What do you think–how many copies make a literary bestseller?

Neil Pollack Book Sales Estimates via The AV Club

Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature: ”despite all the attention it was getting, sold maybe 10,000 copies.”

Never Mind The Pollacks: “I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I got a six-figure advance for Never Mind The Pollacks. Low, low, low six figures, but it was there … It is for a book that has sold, to this day, maybe 4,000 copies.”

Alternadad “[It] got more publicity than two-dozen books combined. I was on Nightline, and they did a piece on my family life. That book was everywhere and did a ton of press. But, again, it sold only 10,000 copies.”

JewBall: “500 copies Kindle and paperback. Which is pretty normal for a self-published book … [Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint]  republished it and quickly, very quickly, published it online and, a few months later, as a paperback. It sold 10,000-plus copies since they did that. And it’s never appeared, as far as I know, in a bookstore.”

Downward-Facing Death: “I wrote a yoga novel about that, again sold 10,000 copies. Ten thousand copies appears to be my threshold.”

Mediabistro Course

The Art of the Book Review

The Art of the Book ReviewStarting August 4, learn how to get paid to write reviews that will influence the publishing landscape! Taught by a Publishers Weekly book critic, you'll learn how to recommend a book to its audience, write reviews of varying lengths, tailor a review to a specific publication and more! You'll leave this course with two original reviews and a list of paying markets for book reviews. Register now!