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only among the author's friends but in outer circles. In many respects a book is like a play. Many people go to the theater without the least idea of the plot of the play they are going to see. Of course the play has been criticized, but in these days of theatrical trusts dramatic criticisms count for little, while the personal element counts for much. If you see a play and are pleased with it you bubble over with enthusiasm about it, you tell your friends; they go, and they in turn enthuse, tell their friends, and step by step the success of the play is assured. It is much the same with a book; but to be successful nowadays outside the field of reference books, the author who wishes to write must have a story to tell, and he must tell it straight from the shoulder, and with as few interlardments to interrupt the narrative as possible. Men and women who read fiction to-day read it chiefly for pastime or diversion; as a rule, they do not care to be hampered at every step with page after page of scenic description, no matter how vividly penned. They want action and a good plot, ingeniously developed, to maintain their interest in the story. Authors who contemplate entering into the field of fiction should remember this: as sure as brevity is the soul of wit, so sure is action the strength of a story.
While the fiction=reading public wants action, it does not want too much action in too short a time. Action can be overdone-has repeatedly been overdone. An example of this is provided by a recently published novel. Here are the performances of the hero in one chapter only: “His countenance fell" ; ' his voice broke"; "his heart sank ; “his hair rose”; “his eyes blazed”; "his words burned,” and “his blood froze!” Remember, “Enough is as good as a feast.”.
BEWARE OF LIBEL In works treating on topics of the day, or in those in which the personal element predominates, authors should take great care to avoid offensive personalities, or references that may be construed as libelous, for no publisher will accept the responsibility of disseminating insinuations for which he might become liable at law.
HOW TO AVOID COPYRIGHT INFRINGE
Great care should also be exercised by authors who cite from the writings of others. To avoid the possibility of a suit for the infringement of copyright, an author who wishes to quote from the work of another should first obtain his permission (or that of his publisher) to do so. If
he fails in this, and makes use of copyrighted matter, he lays himself open to suit for damages for the infringement of copyright. This applies also to the use of illustrative material, be it painting, photograph, or drawing, which has been protected by law.
HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE THE AUTHOR
An author's responsibility to himself, to his publisher, and to the public does not end with the acceptance of his book, nor when it has been placed on the market. Then, if at any time, his help to encourage its sales is most needed. His duty lies in bringing his work to the notice of his friends, not obtrusively, and through them to their friends in such manner that he may unconsciously construct an almost endless chain of readers. Above all, he should avoid the hackneyed phrase, “Have you read my last book ?" For, if he heeds not this advice, he may be the target of some wit with the cutting repartee: "I hope so !"
The author should enlist the help of all literary critics he may know, secure opinions and endorsements of his work from them, and from all leading men and women of his acquaintance. By doing this work of propaganda he will reap the
reward of his efforts to assist his publisher by increased sales.
The publisher takes care of the trade side of the transaction. It is he who distributes the book broadcast over the land to booksellers, to libraries and literary clubs, to the public in general, and to the various “ inns,” of which it is the main support. It is he who sends out the copies of a work to the press and watches for notices, but the author should second his efforts with suggestions, by drafting catchy descriptions of his work, or by any other means in his power. Many books are failures because of the lack of interest shown by the author when “the gilt is off the gingerbread”-that is, when the book is on sale, and he has received a check in advance on account of expected royalties.
It is the author's duty to offer suggestions on advertising, circularizing, or any other means by which facts about his book may be disseminated ; but he should not insist upon their adoption if his publisher advises him of their impracticability through costliness or other causes.
This applies also to the manufacturing side of book-making. In this, as in the foregoing, the author may fittingly offer suggestions, but should be ready to modify them if called on to do so for some good cause. He must at all times be willing to yield
his idiosyncrasies when told they are not to his interest.
CONCERNING TYPOGRAPHY AND ILLUS
In matters of typography an author's tastes, if they be normal, should be considered; but in this respect, as in all others on which the success of his book depends, he should be ready to abandon whims for the more practical advice and the experience of his publisher, on which, the author will do well to bear in mind, the success of the publisher's business depends.
The possibilities of typography are limited. Type-faces once common may now be obsolete. To obtain them would require the making of special matrixes, a long delay, and a heavy expense for the casting of a special font. Methods of reproducing illustrations have changed also. Engravings done on wood are now scarce; they are rare because costly. Reproductions by photographic processes have displaced them. Nowadays the “demon” of speed has invaded the domains of pictorial journalism, so that a photograph, fresh from the film, can be turned into a half-tone cut within five hours. Thus is the public taste catered for, and the picture that formerly was cut into wood with painstaking care in five