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The Man of Letters as a Man of Business William Dean Howells

Chapter VII

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Publishers have their little theories, their little superstitions, and their blind faith in the great god Chance, which we all worship. These things lead them into temptation and adversity, but they seem to do fairly well as business men, even in their own behalf. They do not make above the usual ninety-five per cent. of failures, and more publishers than authors get rich. I have known several publishers who kept their carriages, but I have never known even one author to keep his carriage on the profits of his literature, unless it was in some modest country place where one could take care of one's own horse. But this is simply because the authors are so many, and the publishers are so few. If we wish to reverse their positions, we must study how to reduce the number of authors and increase the number of publishers; then prosperity will smile our way.

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The Man of Letters as a Man of Business
William Dean Howells

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