“Publishing” — John Steinbeck

Oh, Steinbeck.

Biblioklept

“Publishing”

by

John Steinbeck

from his 1969 “interview” in The Paris Review

EDITOR

The book is out of balance. The reader expects one thing and you give him something else. You have written two books and stuck them together. The reader will not understand.

WRITER

No, sir. It goes together. I have written about one family and used stories about another family as—well, as counterpoint, as rest, as contrast in pace and color.

EDITOR

The reader won’t understand. What you call counterpoint only slows the book.

WRITER

It has to be slowed—else how would you know when it goes fast?

EDITOR

You have stopped the book and gone into discussions of God knows what.

WRITER

Yes, I have. I don’t know why. Just wanted to. Perhaps I was wrong.

SALES DEPARTMENT

The book’s too long. Costs are up. We’ll have to charge five dollars for it. People won’t pay five dollars…

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