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Vanity Fair's How a Book is Born: The Making of The Art of Fielding Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 53 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Print Length: 53 pages
  • Publisher: Vanity Fair (September 5, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 5, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LEWYYU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Keith Gessen's article, Vanity Fair's How a Book is Born: The Making of The Art of Fielding, is expanded from a piece that appears in the October 2011 issue of Vanity Fair. It reveals the haphazard process of turning a manuscript into a book.

If you've ever read about how an author becomes published, you'll know that luck plays as big a role as talent and perseverance. There is no by-the-numbers guide for how to get your book published, because every book seems to take a different path.

This is the story of The Art of Fielding, a first novel that is currently on the New York Times bestseller list and is getting very good critical reviews. That it is a "good" book is hardly a guarantee that it would be published, let alone be a bestseller.

Gessen's narrative emphasizes the quirky characters that populate the book industry. Author Chad Harbach sent his book to dozens of agents and publishers for ten years, until finding the one agent that loved it. Gessen also tells of the designer who created the artwork for the hardcover and had to change it half a dozen times to please everyone. Then there's the publishing consultant who has "zany" opinions about where the book industry will be in the next decade.

Considering the state of flux the publishing industry is in now, The Art of Fielding took a fairly traditional road to being published, going through agents and publishers and eventually an auction for the rights.

Self-publishing and ebooks are not part of the story of The Art of Fielding, but according to Mike Shatzkin, the publishing consultant Gessen writes about, once people migrate to e-books, there's no turning back.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this e-article about the publishing history of "The Art of Fielding" before I read the novel. Article first, novel second or novel first and article second, the order doesn't make much difference. This is a stand-alone. It's interesting reading even if you aren't interested in picking up the novel.

"How A Book Is Born," as the title suggests, is the back-story and publishing history of the novel the "Art of Fielding," the 10-year effort to write it and the adventure and struggle in getting it published, which it eventually was and for a moneybag filled with $650,000. The article is nonfiction with most all the drama and narrative drive of a good piece of storytelling.

Keith Gessen and "Fielding" author Chad Harbach are cronies and co-editors at the hip journal "n+1." Their long-time personal relationship is important. It gave Gessen the inside scoop as the novel gestated just as it gave him access to the business of books at the very time the paradigm is shifting and the future of publishing is as unstable as it is uncharted.

For me what made this e-article worth reading (this Kindle Short is pretty much a reprint from an October 2011 "Vanity Fair" piece "The Book on Publishing") is the glimpse it gives inside book publishing in the age of e-commerce where no one seems to have anything close to a good formula for success and where more often decisions seem to be seat-of-the pants choices that can give shape to either success or failure, as defined by number of hardcover and digital books sold.

Publishing today is a $14 billion business (in annual sales and that doesn't count educational materials or textbooks) in an imprecise world where "No two books are the same book and no two authors are the same author.
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This detailed and very interesting account of how Chad Harbach's fine novel wound its way around agents and publishers and friends really speaks to the randomness of this world - but also to the magic of events that converge towards a happy outcome. At last The Art of Fielding came before the public - and what a superb book it is.
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Interesting perspective on what an author needs to do get his/her book published. It was a bit too introspective (the writer is not the "author" of the book at the center of this story), but there are some useful lessons presented.
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I happened to wrap up "The Art of Fielding" without any suggestions for a short book to follow. I happened to pick up this and give it a read. It only took a few subway rides before I was finished, but it was a great palate cleanser and a satisfying way to move on to another subject. It was a window into a world that I've always stood outside of, and will continue to enjoy from the outside.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read "The Art of Fielding" a few months back and really enjoyed it (you can read my review for that book here also). Last week, a friend told me about "How a Book is Born: The Making of The Art of Fielding" and I immediately picked it up. With my debut novel ("The Holden Age of Hollywood") hitting bookshelves in August, I was very interested in this behind-the-scenes look at how "The Art of Fielding" came to be and how it became a best seller. And the book did not disappoint. I loved it and could have read another 300 pages -- it was that good.

The book is a very thorough look at the journey a book takes -- from writing to re-writing, querying to finding an agent, bidding wars to marketing. And it also explores the amazing changes going on in the industry since the inception of Amazon and the Kindle.

I'd recommend it to any and every writer I know as it really does provide a lot of insight into the craft of writing and the uphill battle of getting published. The one thing I'd recommend is to read novel before this tell-all because the latter will make you want to read the former, but the latter also contains many spoilers of the former. You've been warned. Now go get both books!
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