Thursday, April 12, 2018

What Mark Twain said about Profitable Writing #georgiapioneers #ancestors #genealogy

What Mark Twain said about Profitable Writing

A Chat with Mark Twain by an Unknown Reporter. Published in the Atlanta Journal 12 March 1786
The day the copyright people came to Washington to talk before one of our committees, I sat down a few minutes at a table with Mark Twain,and I asked him if it was true that Mrs. Grant had received $250,000 from the memoirs of her husband. 

Said he: "It is not due her for about a month, but she will get more than that."

"Good," said Senator Hawley.

Said I:  "Mr. Clemmons, you are as great a publisher as you were an author. Sir Walter Scott failed as a publisher, but you make money."

"Yes," said Mark Twain.  "I own nine-tenths of the capital in the publishing-house which has Grant's book. It has a remarkable sale.  But I received not long ago $58,000 for my profits of my own books, Huckleberry Finn, the last book I produced."

Said I: "I understood you to say that there was no money in books except the pleasure of writing them"

"Oh no," said Clemmons, "I did not say that.  I said that the only way to make a successful book was to write it with no other avarice than the pleasure of doing it, and then it might be a great success; whereas, if written for money it generally fails."

I looked at Mark Twin with a mild interest.  Eighteen years ago I first met him in this city, before he was married, when he was writing a few letters to the newspapers for $25 apiece. He had just returned from his trip to Europe and foreign lands, and boarded in a plain home in Washington, and was embarrassed to get possession of the letters which he published, which his newspaper employers had copyrighted and were indisposed to give him.  He got the letters at last and issued his book, and he met about the same time his wife.  He is now gray, but pale-looking, but can be quite entertaining when he desires.

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