29 Dec. 1945
Forgive me for not writing sooner. But I have been in quite a spin trying to get squared around and in shape to go to work–and I mean go to work. Lurton, you are about to experience, come February or sooner, a flood of copy. You will have to hire squads of messengers just to get it around and an armored car just to pick up checks. . . .
Wednesday next will be delivered two Soundscriber recorders and one transcriber and a thousand records. I shall call hither and yon and get me a typist . . . These new Dictaphones are wonderful and even with the old ones I could roll out a volume. . . .
I wired you a couple weeks ago that I would take on the 49 book if you had an advance and a decent contract. Maybe you didn’t receive the wire, for I haven’t heard from you. Anyway, I will, for with my setup I can chew one off fast, the research data being plentiful in this locale and in my files. . . .
As you know, I roll enough copy in ordinary times so that sales operate as a sort of criticism service all its own. I know where I am going over well by sales. I very much need you for two vital purposes: to act as a bumper for rejects, to keep selling as only you can sell. This, I think, will answer its own question after we have been going for a while. . . .
The part of your opinion which I value highly is that steering ability into markets. You and I know that this business of openings for certain stories is overvalued. Competition, to really good yarns, is never very serious. No writer who is serious about it and who writes well has much competition. You can tell me, from what you are receiving from me, what markets I should try next, in what lengths. I like to write long stuff. Short stories pave the road to the poorhouse. Serials are covers. With my present setup I can roll the long stuff easily.
I am going, at first, into a small circle of writing. Novelettes thrust in succession into several fields just to orient myself. I used to be in DFW, BLACK MASK, WESTERN STORY, air-war, adventure, sea, fantasy, etc., books. I may try again for those markets in rotation just to see where I come out best and get into swing. Then I want to go serial. Rog Terrill will buy. Jack Byrne, Jack Burr, John Campbell, etc., will buy if they get a special play on each story from you (for otherwise they will think I’ve turned my back on them, finding my stuff buried or unmentioned by phone). Then maybe we try some slick. Some serials. . . .
Now, one thing, a promise requested before I close. I always wrote straight at my editors, seldom missed, habituated them to a lot of fanfare and showmanship about stories. When you start to get volume from me, please promise me you’ll phone the editor for whom the manuscript is intended and tell him you are sending it over, making him understand it’s especially for him. Otherwise my old boys, who’ve stood by these many years, are going to wonder what they did to make me mad at them, for the relationship in almost every instance is quite personal and deep. Please?
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