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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

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.

Q:

Do you think that ads sell books?

Cerf:

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.

Q:

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?

Cerf:

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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