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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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And a workman. When he finishes one book, he never duplicates himself. He's always going off in some new direction. Every book that he writes now is a guaranteed best-seller. His next book will be Iberia, a book about Spain. It's already been picked by the Book-of-the-Month Club. We call Jim our instant gold mine.

James Michener is always in the right place at the right time. I mean, he wrote the Bridges at Toko-ri at the time that the Korean War was in the news. He wrote the Bridge at Andau at the time of the Hungarian Revolt when the Russians put it down. His was the book that sold. There were lots of books about that crime against civilization that didn't sell! Michener's was the one that was the big best-seller. Sayonara was an enormous success, too. A wonderful movie they made out of it of course. We went to see all of the settings for it in Kyoto last spring.

Jim Michener is the ideal author as far as a publisher is concerned--a man that lets us do the advertising, like Faulkner does--and trusts us. Of course we break our necks for him. He thinks that the publisher has his function and he has his, which is correct. The author who really is a pest is the one who wants to design the jackets, write the advertising, and tell you how to sell the book. He's just a nuisance, and what's more, he's usually the second-rate author, too! You very seldom will meet a really great author who doesn't say, “If I didn't think you were a good publisher, I wouldn't come to you.”

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