How many copies do you have to sell to be a “best-selling author”?
March 15, 2013 § 3 Comments
FULL DISCLOSURE: I had never heard of Neal Pollack before reading this interview. I have read nothing by him. I now feel like I ought to, especially since I read a lot and feel like I should have heard of him. But I haven’t.
Regardless, Neal Pollack sat down with The Onion’s A.V. Club for a brutally frank interview about the ups and (mostly) downs of his career. He even breaks the taboo about talking sales figures, telling how many copies his “bestsellers” have actually sold. Check it out here.
Here’s how Pollack sums up his career as “the greatest living American writer”:
I was still just a guy with one book under his belt. And a book that, despite all the attention it was getting, sold maybe 10,000 copies. It wasn’t some sort of international publishing phenomenon. It was, at best, sort of a moderately successful indie-rock project. So I still had to do stuff like write promotional copy for Weight Watchers to support myself and pay my mortgage, which was relatively small. The year I quit the Reader, I made almost no money. Maybe $30,000. And I thought, “Aren’t I supposed to be a famous writer? Is this it? A drafty townhouse in Philadelphia?” So that pattern established itself for me over the years; I’d have a little success, let it go to my head, and then make some outrageous move to try and capitalize on that, and the move would come crashing down on my head. I would always get a little overexcited.
Have you read anything by Pollack?