Clearly, authors are simply too humble in approaching editors. This is how it should be done, straight to the point and don’t forget to pay me. In this story, the children need to raise some cash and Noel hits upon the brilliant idea of flogging his poetry. Except that they are turned away at the door of the publishers, which is what prompts him to write the letter. The letter at least makes it through the publisher’s lines of defence aimed at keeping writers at bay.  And then the letter opens the door, if only because it piques the curiosity of the editor.

‘DEAR MR EDITOR

I want you to print my poetry and pay for it, and I am a friend of Mrs Leslie’s; she is a poet too.

Your affectionate friend,

Noel Bastable’

 

Source: Edith Nesbit, The Story of the Treasure Seekers, foreword by Julia Donaldson (London: Hesperus, 2013 (1899)), p. 54

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