Letter by CJD to George Robertson 1915.04.08

8 April 1915

Geo. Robertson, Esq.
Dear Sir,

Your chastening letter to hand. I am glad that you like my stuff, but grieved that you do not like my letter. I cannot say that I am overjoyed at the tone of yours, and the fact that I don't resent it seems to say a lot for my good temper, or discretion, or sense of humour, or something of that sort.

I did not presume to give you, as publishers, any "instructions"; but I did make some suggestions regarding a proposed subscription edition, in the publishing of which I was prepared to bear the whole cost.

I realize that any self-respecting publisher wishes to have some control over the get-up of a book that is going to bear his name on the imprint; but I should say, also, that the man whose name appears on the title page, even as the mere author, might be allowed to make one or two diffident suggestions.

Having said so much, I will now admit that what I did write might easily have appeared to you as an attempt to teach you your business; but I have been once very badly bitten over the get-up of a book, and the indiscretions of the publisher in that case have, perhaps, made me over-careful.

Let me hasten to add that I do not class your firm with a publisher of that sort. Still, my experience has made me nervous.

In talking over the matter with certain literary friends, I learn from one of large experience that Mr Robertson, of Angus and Robertson, is the "only wholesale bookseller worthy of the name in Australia". This helps to set me at ease.

Except for one or two minor details I rather favour your proposals ...

From Dear Robertson: Letters to an Australian Publisher edited by A.W. Barker.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002