MT Letter to Elisha Bliss
Hartford, 4 March 1873

[Click on the PAGES to see the manuscript of the letter.]

[PAGE 1]
Hartford, Mch. 4/73
Friend Bliss --
    Statement rec'd for quarter ending Mch 1, & check for $1,656.69 for royalties on Innocents Abroad & Roughing It.

    So Roughing It sells less than twice as many in a quarter as Innocents, a book which is getting gray with age. The fault is mainly in the engra-[PAGE 2]vings & paper, I think. That, & the original lack of publicity. I believe I have learned, now, that if one don't secure publicity & notoriety for a book the instant it is issued, no amount of hard work & faithful advertising can accomplish it later on. When we look at what Roughing It sold in the first 3 & 6 months, we naturally argue that it would have sold full 3 times as many if it had gotten the prompt & early journalistic boost & notoriety that the Innocents had.

[PAGE 3]     Recognizing the importance, now, of this prompt notoriety (which I was afraid of & didn't want until we were dead sure of 50,000 subscriptions to R. I. -- but which I am not afraid of now,) I have conceived a plan which will advertise the next book from Maine to the Marquesas free of expense before the proofsheets are all read. But I'll fix that myself.

    Now Nast appears to be doing nothing in particular. I want him solitary & alone to illustrate the next book, it being an essentially American book, [PAGE 4] he will enjoy doing it. Nast only has just one first-class talent (caricature,) and no more -- but this book will exercise that talent, I think. I think he will be glad to do this work below his usual terms. If you say so I will write him. Tell me what you think, & tell me about the total amount you think it best to put in the drawing of the illustrations.

    I wish you would say nothing about a new book from me for the spring (or rather next fall) issue, because as soon as I can get some more stock, at easy figures, I want it. I want to be a Director, also. Yrs, Clemens.

How copies have been sold of Innocents? And how many of R.I.? Get it from official figures.