Recent book sales reflect a troubling decline in literary fiction on a broad scale. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported last year that adult fiction sales fell 7.8 percent in 2016, compared to the year before—and have fallen a staggering 23 percent since 2012. The New Republic brought this interesting information to our attention in their article, “The fate of literary publishing in the twenty-first century, in three numbers.

Are the days of the novel that sells a million copies gone? Maybe.

The image of the impoverished writer tapping out their masterwork on a typewriter by the light of the winter moon has not changed much, except the typewriter is now a laptop. Independent writers, and I mean those who make their living solely on their writing, are quickly becoming ghosts. A recent report commissioned by Arts Council England (ACE) revealed that collapsing sales, book prices and advances mean few can support themselves through writing alone.

Melody K. Smith

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