Boris Kachka on His Book’s Perilous Publishing Path

By Jason Boog Comment

Few writers ever speak frankly about their book deals for nonfiction books. In a candid interview at The AwlNew 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.

Author Evan Hughes conducted the interview for The Awl. Last year, we caught up with Hughes to talk about his book, Literary Brooklyn: The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life.

Press play below to listen to the encore edition of the Morning Media Menu interview on SoundCloud. While introducing some of the great Brooklyn novelists featured in his literary history, Hughes also shared the secret behind his headline-making book party in Brooklyn.