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advertising. When the ads were prepared, I wouldn't let
them run. I felt they would be a bad thing for the Random
House name. Without them, the book couldn't do well. We
did sell it for a very big sum for a paperback so everybody
came out of it well, but I've always been a little ashamed
of myself. I'll use this as a moral: don't publish a book
that you don't feel proud of and that you're not willing to
back to the hilt.
Do you think that ads sell books?
That kind of a book, yes. I think that the advertising
and exploitation of Valley of the Dolls are what gave it its
great start. The same thing was true of a slimy number
called The Exhibitionist, which isn't selling as well as
they hoped that it would, I'm delighted to say.
But on the whole do you think that ads would sell--for
instance, if you had put great advertising on Rod McKuen,
don't you think his books would have sold even better?
The only ad that we've run on Rod McKuen is a fullpage
ad in the New York Times Book Review, which we placed
just to please Rod. He knew as well as we that advertising
didn't sell his poetry. It was word of mouth. The younger
set “digs” him. As a matter of fact, with the full-page ad
the sales pace of his books didn't change one way or another.
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