Friday, July 31, 2009

A Classic or a Bestseller?

I have to ask this, because a friend and I have been talking about this lately and I'd love to know you all's opinions.

Let's say at some point you get a book published. (Come on, reading this blog you know it's gonna happen!)

Would you rather have:

a) the Classic, which becomes an enduring tale that millions read over the years, but wouldn't necessarily get you public approval while you are alive,


b) the Bestseller. Racing up the Charts! Hey look, a Movie! Instant acclaim?

Me, I'm for the classic.

But I'd love to know what you think too.


  1. Classic. Although I'd like to add the stipulation that it sell well enough that I can be 'successful' and continue writing for a living.

  2. Definitely Classic! I'm too shy to want the public knowing me while I'm alive.

  3. Bestseller, thanks. I like to eat :)

  4. I nominate a new category: The Classic Bestseller. This way I can eat, continue to write and know that they like me, they really, really like me. :) I am pretty shy so it's not the fame but the validation that I would like.

  5. You all area cheating!


  6. I started to say "duh, classic" but now I'm reconsidering. Yes, I hope I've written something with enduring resonance, but I think my current novel really is very contemporary. If it lasts, so much the better, but if I have to pick, I want people reading and discussing the book NOW, while the issues are still fresh and timely, not a hundred years from now, talking about how "things used to be..."


  7. My first impulse was to say classic, but I suppose I don't care in the long run. As long as it reaches the right people, then it's good! would be nice to know that it really WAS reaching people.

  8. I was in for the classic, too, until I read Tricia's nomination for the new category, Classic Bestseller. I have to say I'm totally with her.

  9. With the type of writing that I do, there's pretty much no chance it will be a classic. Bestseller for me.

  10. When I visit this blog, I think I have all the answers. But I leave realizing I have a lot still to figure out.

    Hmmmm, yeah, how about a classic bestseller as someone else posted? Or, wait, I'm tipping towards the bestseller. I'm way too into the instant gratification thing, although I adore the classics... ahhhh, tough.

  11. Fun question! I'd rather have the best-seller.

  12. The bestseller, definitely.

    As long as I'm dreaming, though...

    Years after the bestseller launches the movie, the sequel, the animated TV series, the graphic novel and the line of calenders, coffee mugs and greeting cards, my first couple of published books (solid, though moderate successes when first published) will be rediscovered and reprinted. They will be lauded as deeply insightful gems.

    Over time, these earlier books will be seen as my true masterworks. A Tony-award winning play will be based on one, and the book itself will be carried in high-school and college curricula across the country and the world. It will never go out of print.

    200 years from now, a hack will write a crappy pastiche of my book that features zombies.

  13. Best seller and a movie. That would be too cool!

  14. Well, I'd have to say a bestseller. I'm a young one and they don't just hand you scholarships for nothing. I'm aiming high when it comes to universities so I have to be something special to get in. Nothing says hard-working like a published novel, let alone a bestseller. A classic has always been a dream of mine but it won't pay for college! Plus, think of all the respect I'd earn from actually being published. How can I enjoy that from the grave? Bestseller all the way.


Join the conversation, add insight, or disagree with us! We welcome your thoughts.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.