Letter to Richard Searight

From Clark Ashton Smith

Auburn, Calif.
May 24th, 1934.

Dear Mr. Searight:
Miss Ione Weber, 41 East 38th St., New York City, is the attorney whom Mr. Lovecraft mentioned to you. She collects debts on a 15% commission basis, and appears to make a speciality of publishers. I believe she has collected money from Gernsback for Hazel Heald and Raymond Gallun--doubtless for others too. Many authors, I suppose (perhaps the majority) will go so far as to take legal steps in getting their due; and I dare say that highbinders of the Gernsback stripe are well aware of this and count upon it in their business operations.

Another attorney, whom Donald Wandrei has recommended to me for this type of service, is Nat Schachner, the well known science fiction writer, who at one time contributed to Wonder Stories. I do not know his address; but he could be reached in care of Astounding Stories.

I have written to Miss Weber recently, offering her the job of collecting my own arrears from Gernsback, and hope that she will be able to get some action. I have not yet had a reply to my letter, and do not expect one for several days on account of the time involved in mail-transit. I hope that you will give her a trial, and that she can collect your money. Even though the sum is small, and part of it will go to the collector, I think you should force the issue for moral reasons. If more authors would do this, there would be less piracy and dishonesty on the part of publishers. Gernsback will probably get a surprise when my bill is presented. Apart from occasional dunning letters, I let the matter slide so long that he must have thought himself safe. He owes me for stories that were printed in the fall of 1931, as well as work published in 1932 and 1933. I have not contributed for over a year, having grown weary and suspicious of the excuses offered for non-payment. Incidentally, my first four contributions were paid for, though always after a little dunning. Gernsback nowowes [sic.] me for eleven stories, and I have figured the total indebtedness at $769.00. Apart from the moral issue, I can't afford to let him get away with that.

Thanks for your praise of my drawings. Tsathoggua is one of my specialities! I am glad you liked The Double Shadow. Unfortunately, this printing venture has not been profitable financially, and I do not know when I shall undertake another of the sort. Crawford, of Unusual Stories, may print one of my tales in a separate booklet instead of running it in the magazine.

I wish you the best of luck with your own work, as well as with the collection of your due from Wonder Stories. A poem of yours, which I saw some time ago in Fantasy Fan, impressed me by its eery [sic.] imaginative touch; and the impression seems to persist with uncommon vividness.

Yours cordially,
Clark Ashton Smith

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