Few writers ever speak frankly about their book deals for nonfiction books. In a candid interview at The Awl, New York magazine journalist and author Boris Kachka shared the story behind his nonfiction book.
As he wrote the manuscript for Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Kachka’s book a perilous journey between publishing houses. Kachka explained in the interview:
A small house picked up the book for $30,000. It was not an easy sell, and in fact [the eventual editor] Jofie Ferrari-Adler was one of the editors who declined to take it on the original proposal. He was at Grove/Atlantic then. Things didn’t work out with Thomas Dunne Books, my original publisher … We parted ways with Dunne, returned the half-advance I’d gotten, and went out to others. It was easier to do that with a completed book, but it was a risky thing of course. Jofie eventually sent me a note: “This book is marvelous, baby.” He had lots of suggestions and there was some rewriting involved. He matched that first advance.