Debut Novel from n+1 Co-Editor Brings in Big Bucks

March 31, 2010 | 3

Those who watch the book deal emails from Publishers Lunch know that Chad Harbach, an editor at n+1, recently sold his first novel, The Art of Fielding, but a Bloomberg article today reveals it went for an eye-popping $650,000. The book centers around baseball at a fictional Wisconsin college, and Bloomberg pegs the deal as “one of the highest prices for a man’s first novel on a topic appealing to a male audience.” Possible buried lede: n+1 compatriots Benjamin Kunkel and Keith Gessen saw their first novels sell 48,000 and 7,000 copies respectively, according to Neilsen BookScan.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. Man book sales are weird. I have to say I probably know personally 1% of the folks who bought Gessen’s novel. And if Indecision sold 48,000 copies it seems crazy to give an n+1 guy $650,000. Having said that, I will read it.

  2. Wow, this is somewhat shocking. I’ll keep an eye out for the reviews on this one. An advance that high means something, but Im not sure what.

  3. Congratulations to this guy; I hope it’s good. But how many of these massive advances for (so-called) literary novels have panned out in recent years? Charles Frazier, Reif Larson, Andrew Davidson, Audrey Niffenegger (hard to believe she’ll make up that $5 mill.), Martin Amis — the list of duds, at least as measured by sales, is long. Joshua Foer reportedly got 1.2 mill for his book in 2006, and according to Amazon, it’s not due out until 2025. Long time for the bean counters to wait.

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