Advice for aspiring writers, part 4: Dealing with publishers

by RH

Dear Mrs Rust
I am sorry, but we cannot help you. We had incessant difficulties with Julian Maclaren-Ross and our rights to the two books of his which we published reverted to him many years ago. He used to give ‘c/o the BBC’ as his address but I think he exhausted their patience as well as ours; other addresses he gave us proved to be bombed out sites or non-existent. The last time he called on us he demanded his taxi-fare home before he would leave and when a guileless editor called a cab and gave him a few shillings to cover the fare, Ross threw the money in his face, ran off and never, I am glad to say, came to see us again.
A great pity as he wrote brilliantly and had the best handwriting I have ever seen. But I am sorry to have no practical advice for you.
Yours sincerely

Letter from Roger Machell of Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1981. Quoted in ‘Julian Maclaren-Ross Selected Letters,’ edited by Paul Willetts, 2008.

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