Saturday, October 01, 2011

Raymond Chandler on Self-Publishing

May 22, 1950
To: Hardwick Mosely

I have a note... that Houghton-Mifflin would like formal consent from me for... reprint editions of The Little Sister and The Simple Art of Murder. Please take this as my consent. Please send me my end of the take as soon as possible as the cat needs a new basket.

I had of course originally planned to republish these books myself. A close friend... has a small hand press and a fair supply of deckle-edged vellum, and also a font or so of 24-point Goudy Lombardi capitals. We thought we could turn out something really quite nice, say in a limited edition of nine copies, handsomely autographed by the author during a rare moment of sobriety, and retailing at about $65 a copy. We were quite confident of the result, but I shall not specify what result...

-- from Raymond Chandler Speaking (1962), a fascinating collection of correspondence from possibly the crankiest crime writer who ever lived. He would have burned through the mumbled mouthed primordial forest of discussion groups, blogs and Twitter like Napalm.

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Blogger Steven said...

But just imagine the current market value of those 9 copies if only he'd followed through...

8:25 AM, October 03, 2011  
Blogger Guillaume said...

It might have nothing to do with the topic of this post, but I just had an epiphany moment: I think the look of your blog (and mine) was influenced by the cover of the Série noire series from Gallimard.

1:49 PM, November 14, 2011  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Very possible, in fact. I used to prowl through the French bookstores of Montreal all the time, curious to see what was currently being published in Série-noire. I seem to recall Mary Higgins Clark, of all people.

A nice lady and a solid writer, but hardly what one first thinks of when they consider "noir" writers.

Then again, in this case, "noire" referred as much to the colours of the books' covers as anything. It was only in the 60s that "noir" began to be used to refer to a certain type of crime film or book. At least in English...

1:42 PM, November 15, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice idea, thanks for sharing...

7:47 AM, December 17, 2011  
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