Lessons from The Art of Fielding

By Frances Caballo for Redwood Writers

You have spent years crafting your novel or anthology of poems and now you’re ready to send it out into the world. You’re trained as a writer but what about marketing? This series of blogs will endeavor to help you master the next steps to selling your book.

Did you read the October issue of Vogue magazine? There was a fabulous article in it titled “The Book on Publishing” by Graydon Carter and Keith Gessen. In case you missed it, you can purchase the article for $1.99 from Amazon.

It’s an engrossing tale and a good read.

The article chronicles the life of Chad Harbach, author of the novel The Art of Fielding, from his undergraduate studies to an MFA program as he pursues his passion of writing. Like too many writers, he wades through the morass of low-paying jobs while committing himself to the one novel he keeps rewriting.

With the support of friends who believe in his talent, Harbach meets literary agent Chris ParrisLamb of the Gernert Company in Manhattan. The agent loves Harbach’s novel and forwards copies to publishers.

After an initial offer of $175,000, which Harbach turns down, Parris-Lamb calls for an auction. Bidding starts at $100,000 and eventually ends with Scribner’s successful bid – of $750,000 and an opportunity to work with the editor of David Foster Wallace.

Now Harbach is not only a successfully published novelist but also a publishing story that Vogue and other media outlets can’t resist.

By the way, his book is doing great too. On GoodReads, the book has generated 1,242 ratings and 389 reviews. On Facebook, the book has nearly 500 “likes.”

This kind of story gives me hope. None of us will know the outcome of our passion for writing unless we stick with it, make time
to write, work on our revisions – and never sell ourselves to the lowest bidder.

Let me know what you think of the Vogue article, this blog, or any other thoughts you’d like to share. Thanks!

About the Author: Frances Caballo, owner of ACT Communications, has 22 years of communications and resource development experience. She has worked with small businesses and local, regional and national nonprofits at all levels of management. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor and a Board Vice President for Redwood Writers. She specializes in helping writers, small businesses and nonprofits with their social media marketing, external communications, and fund development needs. Frances is bilingual in English and Spanish.

 ©Frances  Caballo 2011 – This post cannot be reproduced without permission from the author.


  1. Frances,
    Great summary of the Vogue article and quite encouraging! It prompts me to take the time to define what success looks like to me. And it’s not the same as success is to Chad Harbach, even though his path is the traditional dream of most fiction authors.

    This week I’ve been creating my vision of success in publishing and production for 2012 and I’m pleased to say that it is unique to my own project and mission. Good to realize.

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