Oh god, that’s awful. I’m sorry. At least some folks liked it, but I guess lit mags don’t pull that much weight when it comes to the actual selling part.I had the opposite thing, and it was just as horrible. A 'crossover' book and it got published because the publisher said, 'Look, there's a chance that it could fall between the two, but we think it's going to be pretty successful, and we're going to take that chance...' And the lit mags loved it and the book-selling reviews univerally hated it to bits. Really hated it. To bits.
I tend to remember the nice things and ignore the reviews, because I'm a sunny little person. But even with that, it took years and years to get brave enough to try again.
Crossover is such a huge gamble, but when it works, it really works.
Literaryguitar, I think 20k is a lot to sell of any one book—these days, anyway. I never have. According to a piece in Electric Literature, it’s not uncommon for the less hyped literary novels to sell 2-3k unless they win a prize, in which case they take off.
Anyway, I’m so excited that The Book Eaters is getting a great response, and I can’t wait to read it! Weird lit is the best lit, for my money.