By Joseph McAleer
Joseph McAleer makes use of clean archival fabric to discover Jack London's publishing profession outdoors of North the US. He illuminates the relationships with publishers and brokers, largely in Britain, as a key to realizing the nature, force, and overseas good fortune of this renowned determine of twentieth century American letters.
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Additional info for Call of the Atlantic : Jack London’s publishing odyssey overseas, 1902-1916
I can’t do anything myself out here,” he wrote to Brett. ”79 He asked Brett to find him a new publisher, adding that it “would not be unfair” for another English publisher to pay the same rates as Isbister did, which were the same as he was receiving in America. Brett wasted no time in securing a deal with Heinemann for London’s next two books, a shortstory collection (The Faith of Men) and a long novel, The Sea-Wolf. Heinemann offered the same 15 percent royalty as for The Call of the Wild. In May 1904, Brett wrote regarding Isbister: “I am afraid it is only too true that Isbister has failed.
I give over to them a sense of justice. ”31 Robinson, meanwhile, was determined to impress. He bought from McClure’s 700 copies of The God of His Fathers in sheets, printed from the American plates and using the same cover design, and ordered a set of plates for printing in England. ”32 At the turn of the century, it was estimated that to cover the costs of a six-shilling novel in England it had to sell 500 copies, which did not bode well for Isbister’s bottom 29 Letter, Brett to London, January 23, 1902, HUNT JL 2967.
The Call of the Wild was second in a list of six titles, behind Gordon Keith by fellow American (and notorious defender of lynch mobs) Thomas Nelson Page (Charles Scribner’s Sons), but ahead of Lady Rose’s Daughter by Mrs Humphry Ward (Harper & Bros). HUNT Box 517. 68 Andrew Sinclair, Jack: A Biography of Jack London (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1977), 78. Considered today one of the biggest blunders of London’s career, the relinquishing of rights to The Call of the Wild seemed the right thing to do at the time, when London’s earnings were still low, and a lump sum of $2,000 was a windfall to a still-struggling new author.