For me the real topic is this: Why is it that literary fiction seems to be losing readers? The only reason my literary novel This Is the Place sold well in 2001 (at least for a first novel) is that I am also a marketer and took lots of time nurturing the sales and thinking of angles that would appeal to large segments of readers (yes, like the romantic aspect, that it is based on a true story, etc)
Here are some reasons I think literary work is not being read, in no particular order:
* Literary fiction (including poetry) isn't being published, at least not in the numbers it was published in the past.
*Publishers are assigning their marketing dollars to their top authors and stars and very nearly ignoring their midlist people. In fact, they aren't building midlists in any genre as they once did which doesn't bode well for publishing in general as the big names age and retire.
*Our education system isn't encouraging critical thinking or reading.
*Our education system is failing to teach reading/vocabulary building, etc. at a level required by many literary novels. So must we dumb-down our literary writing?
*Evidenced by the way our culture votes for their leaders, it doesn't much value anything intellectual. No matter what your politics I think we writers might agree that Obama's critical thinking, speaking and writing skills might be an encouraging sign for the future.
Please don't forget to discuss the sorry state of poetry. I read recently that even poets aren't buying books or chapbooks of poetry. Sorry, I can't find the article in my files.
Carolyn's web site: How To Do It Frugally.