Letter to Grant Richards (1898-1899)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

This letter was written by Arthur Conan Doyle from Undershaw, between december 1898 and january 1899, to Grant Richards (publisher) about the publication of A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus (published in march 1899).


My dear Grant Richards

The only valid reason I can ever give a publisher for quitting him is that I can get better terms. So if I come to you with "A Duet" my terms must be high. But they would be great in a convenient form... as thus.

1. No advance.
2. Half yearly accounts.
3. Two shillings per copy on 6/ book.
4. Your guarantee to fairly spend £100 in advertising.
5. The form to be such as I approve.

How does this strike you? If too high or too anything then let me know at once.

I propose to sacrifice the serial rights of this book and bring it out at once in book form. This will in itself be an interesting experiment & should, I believe, help the sale of the book materially. To bring it out at a low price would be a second experiment and I think it would it would be well to try one experiment at a time. Therefore let it be 6/.

The book will be from 60 to 70 000 words. Over 50 000 are done — so it should be ready for appearance early in March. I shall have what I have done typed without delay.

This is only the English rights of course.

I am on very friendly terms with Smith and must return to him, so don't be hurt when I do so with my next book. The fact is that this book ought to be published by a young married couple and so I give you the refusal of it.

I shall be in town on Wednesday morning if you wanted to see me on any point — but I shall be rather rushed.

With kind regards
Yours very truly
A. Conan Doyle.