Letter 106, pg. 3
Ten publishers rejected it because it was “too strong”, “too intellectual”, and they said it would not sell. Look at it now. It has sold about 25,000 copies at this writing, has had seven printings in six months, and the sales are growing every week. The original exploitation campaign of my publishers was not large—but they did inform the public of the nature of my book. The public did the rest. From the fan mail I am getting, I know that it is not the story or any particular literary merit of mine, but the idea of the book, the philosophy of individualism, that is selling the book. The idea answers a public need. “The God of the Machine” would answer it much more effectively—precisely because it is not fiction.
Incidentally, don’t let anyone tell you that “The God of the Machine” is “too difficult to understand” or “above the head of the average reader.” I have given copies of it to many people, most of them men and women without formal education. They had no trouble reading and understanding the book. They were enthusiastic about it.
As a practical suggestion, I would like to urge you to make mimeographed publicity releases along the lines of this letter—and send them to editors, columnists, political commentators all over the country, as well as to industrial leaders, and even to book stores. But not just to book reviewers and the usual trade channels. These alone will not do the job.
I would suggest that you take a few ads—they don’t have to be large, but they must be most carefully worded along these lines, for full effect.
I would suggest that you discuss the book and enlist the help of the men [conservative business leaders] listed below. It would be most helpful if you met them in person. I have spoken to them about “The God of the Machine”, but a conversation with the publisher could have better practical results. These men represent organizations with thousands of members. If you make the proper arrangements, they would send out circulars and publicity to their memberships—a ready-made field of readers most interested in the subject. They are doing this for my book.
Mr. Fred G. Clark, American Economic Foundation, 295 Madison Avenue, New York City
Dr. E. [sic] Rumely, Committee for Constitutional Government, 205 East 42rd Street, New York City
Mr. Mervin K. Hart, National Economic Council, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York City