Friday, August 19, 2011

Publishing Catcher in the Rye

Recently, berfrois published this really interesting story about the drama surrounding the publication of The Catcher in the Rye. There are some really interesting details that both shed light on publishing and Salinger.
Salinger was actually lucky that he caught the attention of Robert Giroux, who was later on part of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, a massively influential publishing company. Giroux, like so many other good publishers, advocated for a work he believed in, even when people within his own company thought the work was about someone crazy.
This piece also notes, perhaps unintentionally, the strange and blurry line between publishers and writers. Salinger's comments about his own work, after all, prompt Giroux to ask him if Salinger should be a publisher, not a writer.
Salinger's reputation for being emotionally attached to the work is also confirmed in this piece, since the criticism of certain people clearly upset him. He did not want his picture to be included in the book jacket and he did not want to be sent any reviews or mentions in newspapers or magazines about his book. And even years earlier, he submitted his work stating that it would not be edited in any way. Salinger also apparently would not let them set review copies away to the press and refused to participate in its own promotion, which would probably be unheard of today for many writers. Most publishers would not even consider a book if the writer said they would not do any promotional work for it.

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