Chad Harbach Tells All About Publishing

As a human being whose personal blog is primarily about cats, I would be extremely offended by the above passage in Keith Gessen’s piece in the October Vanity Fair (the one with Angelina Jolie on the cover, zzz), except that Gessen keeps company with a person whose blog can often be cat-centric, so, he is EXCUSED! In more important news, this is a very exciting piece that breaks down exactly how Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding was agented and published. The funny thing is that the book is going to be published tomorrow—so who knows what’ll really happen with the tale of the million-dollar first novel? (Gessen reveals, among other fun facts, that the combined foreign rights sales came to about half of the novel’s $660,000 advance.) The Art of Fielding is #42 in books on Amazon currently, so that’s pretty good! And I’m sure the publisher paid for good front table placement in all the remaining bookstores out there! Anyway, this is a really excellent idea to make a book sale transparent, and there’s even some good actual gossip in it. (Also let us never forget the hilarious Bloomberg headline announcing the sale: “Unemployed Harvard Man Auctions Baseball Novel for $650,000.”) There’s also a wee bit of hagiography of the oh so brilliant editors and agents involved in the world of publishing, and of course it all ends happily (so easy to feel on publication’s eve, if you’re the one who’s the exception to the rule, and who just paid off your student loans), and all success is credited entirely to the power of the writing of the book—but really, an awesome read, and it could only be improved conceptually if Gessen announced his word rate for the Vanity Fair piece at the end. (Maybe they’ll put it online even.)

UPDATE: Oh my God. Nope, it’s really not going online: the piece is being released as an “expanded ebook.” For $1.99. Fascinating…. (Also, Alanic.)