Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books

When literary agent Sarah Yake shopped around Kirsten Kaschock’s debut novel “Sleight” this year, she thought it would be a shoo-in with New York’s top publishers.

“Her project was one of the most exemplary in the last decade or so,” said Jed Rasula, who has taught in the English department at the University of Georgia since 2001. “I certainly thought she’d find a New York publisher.”

But the major New York publishers passed on “Sleight,” a novel about two sisters trained in a fictional art form. Coffee House Press in Minneapolis, a small independent publisher, now plans to publish the book, offering Ms. Kaschock an advance of about $3,500—a small fraction of the typical advances once paid by the major publishing houses.

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