LONDON, JACK. Typed letter signed ("Jack London") to Max E. Feckler, Glen Ellen, California, 26 October 1914. 2 pages, 4to, double-spaced, with a holograph correction, marginal fold tears, a bit wrinkled, two tiny holes in second leaf affecting two letters.
"IF YOU ARE GOING TO WRITE FOR SUCCESS AND MONEY, YOU MUST DELIVER...MARKETABLE GOODS"
An excellent letter giving advice to a young writer who had sent London a short story manuscript entitled "A Journal of One Who is to Die." London responds: "...I enjoyed your story for its psychology and point of view. Honestly and frankly, I did not enjoy it for its literary charm or value. In the first place, it has little literary value and practically no literary charm. Merely because you have got something to say that may be of interest to others does not free you from making all due effort to express that something in the best possible medium and form...If it takes five years work to become a skilled blacksmith, how many years of work intensified into nineteen hours a day, so that one year counts for five -- how many years of such work, studying medium and form, art and artisanship, do you think a man, with native talent and something to say, requires in order to reach a place in the world of letters where he received a thousand dollars cash iron money per week! [as London]...Had you made any sort of study of what is published in the magazines you would have found that your short story was of the sort that never was published in the magazines. If you are going to write for success and money, you must deliver to the market marketable goods..."
"Dear lad, I'm talking to you straight from the shoulder...Your ennui of twenty, is your ennui of twenty. You will have various other and complicated ennuis before you die. I tell you this, who have been through the ennui of sixteen as well as the ennui of twenty; and the boredom, and the blaséness, and utter wretchedness of the ennui of twenty-five, and of thirty. And I yet live, am growing fat, am very happy, and laugh a large portion of my waking hours...There's only one way to make a beginning [in writing], and that is to begin; and begin with hard work, and patience, prepared for all the disappointments that were Martin Eden's before he succeeded -- which were mine before I succeeded -- because I merely appended to my fictional character, Martin Eden, my own experience in the writing game [in his novel Martin Eden, published 1909]..."