Letter from Norman Leys to Leonard Woolf (11/03/1925)




[[MS 2750/255/62]]


11th March 1925


Dear Woolf,


I really must get things clear. For example, you begin your letter just received by saying you dont [sic] want to over persuade me against your my judgement. Persuade me to what? My wife, who has read all your letters carefully thinks your advice is not to have a second edition. In one quite recent letter you do give such advice. But other phrases seem inconsistent with the opinion. I do know, of course, that you think that if there is to be a second edition the printing order should be sent at once. But on the primary question I dont [sic] know your mind. And I want it.


There are three alternations.





1. For you to come here to talk things over.


2. For me to get the other people I have to seen see in London to see me on Thursday rather than Tuesday.


3. For you to answer on paper the enquiries that here follow.


[symbol in the margin has been crossed out] I can guess that you have never published a "serious" book that got the length of a second edition and so do not know how it is likely to go. (I dont [sic] mean that qua publisher you are anything but a splendid one but merely that on this point, a highly technical one, experience is everything.) Can you not consult some author on it?







Do you see anything seriously unlikely in the following forecast.


1. First ed[ition]. sold out May 1st


2. 300 copies of 2nd ed. sell up to Jan 1st 1926


3. 200 "          "           "  during 1926


4. Cheap ed[ition]. published autumn 1926


5. Most of remaining copies of 2nd ed[ition]. sell in following 3 years.


I know it is absurd to deal in precise figures. All I ask is whether, in view of the steadiness of sales until now, there is anything improbable in such a guess.


Does a cheap ed[ition]. prejudice the sale of an ordinary ed.?


What do you estimate an ed[ition]. of 3000 copies to be sold at 3/6 would cost, if turned out with the cheapest materials







as regards paper, wrapper, no advertising - type of course would presumably be the same?


How much expenditure on advertising do you advise for the second ed[ition]? Would you wait and do none if it went on selling pretty well? Lewellyn  [sic] Powys*1 (I expect you know his books) is to send advice about advertising in America. I cant [sic] express myself briefly on this point. But perhaps you can say in what papers you would advertise, how much you would spend, whether you would use circulars again and so forth.


What about the financing of the second ed[ition].? I understand that money would begin to come in three months after the first sales,







i.e. early in Feb. Will enough to pay the printer for the second ed[ition]. have come in by the time his bill arrives?


Did you send a copy for review to the organ of the United Methodists? And to all the papers of which I gave you a list? If not all of them, - there werent [sic] many, - I suppose you would send one of the second ed. to those omitted.


The April Easter Holidays begin - I believe - four weeks tomorrow. You said 3 weeks for reprinting. The extra week would surely be ample. I happen to be too busy to collect all misprints at once. But I enclose those discovered up to the end of Chap vii so that the printer can begin if you





think it really necessary.


In time, please if you cannot come here and think things cannot wait until Thursday of next week, answer this letter as fully as you can - I fear I have forgotten several points - making specially clear just what it is that you dont [sic] want to over persuade me to, whether in fact you think we should or should not have a second ed[ition]. When I read your answer I shall telegraph my conclusion.


I am sorry we are not likely to meet next week.


Yours | Norman Leys [signature]


I agree of course that there would be no need to do any proof correcting.


If you could come here, whether for a night or for the week end [sic] you would be extremely welcome[.]



* Endnotes


1. Llewellyn Powys, British novelist and essayist (1884-1939).

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Source: MS 2750/255/62

Image Rights Holder: © Estate of Norman Leys

Letter from Norman Leys to Leonard Woolf (11/03/1925)



University of Reading, Special Collections

Archival Folder:

Norman Leys writes to try and clarify Woolf's correspondence with him and his feelings that he is 'overpersuading'. He believes Leonard Woolf's advice is to not print a second edition. He wants to meet Woolf to make further enquiries that he needs to answer. Leys also makes a series of forecasts. He also asks if a sale of a cheap edition will prejudice the sale of an ordinary one. Leys asks Woolf for some estimates in relation to how long a cheap edition would last and also asks about expenditure relating to advertising and advertising in America. Leys questions if Woolf has sent review copies to the United Methodists, and all the papers on the list that he had provided. He finishes by requesting that if Woolf cannot meet him, he should answer this letter as fully as he can, being clear with what his intentions are.

Handwritten letter signed by Leys