May 27, 1964
Mr. Lee Deighton
The MacMillan Co.
60 Fifth Ave.
New York 11, NY
Dear Mr. Deighton:
The object of this letter is to bring to your attention several facts in connection with the issue and the handling of my book Death as a Way of Life by your company. These facts, it seems to me, are detrimental to my interests as an author both from the literary and financial points of view. I must confess I was disturbed. I sincerely hope that by making you aware of these happenings similar ones could be prevented in the future.
In the first place it took almost three years, since I first handed my manuscript, for MacMillan to secure an adecuate [sic] translation of it. This is quite a long waiting period by any standards as it was apologetically recognized by Mr. Herbert Weinstock in a letter to me. Finally, the book came out, and now I have what I consider another important and reasonable complaint to make in connection with the handling of the publication both in its publicity and its distribution. The book was announced for publication on May 11, 1964. The day before, May 10, the Herald Tribune carried on its Sunday’s “Book Week” a fine review of Death as a Way of Life. On the following day, May 12, The New York Times, in its regular issue, printed another favorable feature review by Charles Poore. Then two weeks after, the Times again called attention to my novel in its Sunday “Book Review” with another piece written by a well-known critic of Spanish literature. And yet copies of the book were not available for purchase in any of the leading Fifth Avenue bookstores until May 20.
Moreover, in spite of all this very favorable critical reception, I have not seen anywhere either in daily newspapers, literary periodicals or any other media a single paid advertisement of my book by its publisher. Instead I was unfavourably surprised –and so were other people– by the fact that the back jacket of Death was used by the publisher for the promotion of a book by a different author.
All these facts put together seem to show at best a certain amount of negligence and professional carelessness.
In view of all the preceeding [sic], I am wandering what MacMillan’s policy is going to be in connection with the important matter of the paperback edition. Would you be kind enough to send me a couple of lines concerning this matter, just to reassure me? My address from next week to mid-September will be: Marqués de Cubas, 6, Madrid, Spain.
Earnestly hoping that you understand the sense of this letter, and thanking you in advance for any remedial steps that you deem to take with regard to all the above, I remain
Yours very truly,