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#0499: Willa Cather to Roger L. Scaife, February 21 [1920]

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RLS Dear Mr. Scaife1;

Your letter3 about the supply of "Antonia"4 in Chicago5 is a distinct shock. The three people who wrote to me before Christmas were not "investigators", but bone fide buyers who wanted the book, were unable to get it, and two of them sent me checks, begging me to send a copy if I had one. I am convinced that they had made an honest effort to get the book at home before they took that trouble. It must be, as you say, that they applied to a green salesman, or to several green salesmen. Could the fact that the buyers called my name rightly, and that clerks in bookstores usually call it "Kay-thur" have anything to do with it. It is all nonsense that an unusual name is an advantage in authorship. One had much better b be named Jones. Salesmen in New York2 and Chicago always correct me when I pronounce my own name. Mr. Sell6 published a paragraph7 telling people that the name rhymed with 'rather', but if it convinced others, it did not convince the bookstores.

I will read8 Miss Singmaster9's book10 as soon as I have time, be but I'm not very hopeful. Like everybody who has ever done editorial work on a magazine, I've read scores of her manuscripts. Sometimes they served a useful purpose and we bought them,; but there was no more surprise in them than in Kirkman's laundry soap. Even her faults were not interesting. She not only hadn't a voice, she seemingly had no ear; she droned along. However, I'll read her book, since you've been kind enough to send it.

Sincerely yours Willa Cather