Read The Plant Online

Authors: Stephen King

Tags: #xxXsTmXxx, #Internet eBook

The Plant





Copyright © 1982,









January 4, 1981

Zenith House, Publishers

490 Park Avenue South

New York, New York 10017


I have written a book that you might want to publish. It is very good. It is all scary and all
It is called
True Tales of Demon Infestations.
I know all the things in it from first hand. Contents include stories from “The World of Voodoo,” “The World of the Aether,” and “TheWorld of the Living Dead.” I include recipes for some potions as well, but these could be “censored” if you felt they were too dangerous although for most people they won’t work at all and in a chapter called “The World of Spells” I explain why.

I am offering this book for publication
I am willing to sell
all rights
(except for movie rights; I will direct the film myself ). There are photos if you want them. If you are interested in this book (no other publisher has seen it, I am sending it to you because you are the publishers of
Bloody Houses,
which was quite good), please answer with the

“SASE” I have enclosed. I will send the manus cript with return postage in case you don’t like it (or don’t understand it). Please respond as soon as possible. I think “multi-ple submissions” are unethical, but I want to sell
True Tales of Demon Infestations
as soon as possible. In this book there is some “scary s**t!” If you know what I mean.

Yours sincerely,

Carlos Detweiller

147 E. 14th St., Apt. E

Central Falls, R.I. 40222


i n t e r o f f i c e m e m o

t o: Roger

f r o m : John

r e : Submissions
January 11-15th, 1981p>

A new year, and the slush in the slush pile grows ever deeper. I don’t know how the rest of your toiling editorial minions are doing, but I continue to roll the existential rock of America’s unpublished aspiring—at least my share of it. All of which is only to say that I read my share of crud this week (and no, I haven’t been smoking what W. C. Fields called “the illicit spon-duix,” either—I’m just having a prolix day).

With your concurrence, I’m returning 15 book-length manuscripts which arrived unsolicited (see Returns, next page), 7 “outlines and sample chapters” and 4 unidentifiable blobs that look a bit like typescripts. One of them is a book of something called “gay event poetry” called Suck My Big Black Cock, and another, called L’il Lolita, is about a man in love with a first grader. I think. It’s written in pencil and it’s hard to tell for sure.

Also with your concurrence, I’m asking to see outline and sample chapters on 5 books, including the new bodice-ripper from that bad-tempered librarian in Minnesota (the authors never snoop in your files, do they, boss?

Ordinarily it would be a flat submission, but the poor performance of His Flaming Kisses cannot be justified even by our horrible distribution set-up—

any word on what’s happening with United News Dealers, by the way?).

Synopsis for your files (below).



Last, and probably least, I’m appending an odd little query letter from one Carlos Detweiller of Central Falls, Rhode Island. If I were back at Brown University, happily majoring in English, planning to write great novels, and laboring under the misapprehension that everyone who publishes must be brilliant or at least “real smart,” I’d throw Mr. Detweiller’s letter out at once. (Carlos Detweiller? I ask myself even now, as I rattle the keys of this ancient Royal—can that be a real name? Surely not!) Probably I’d use tongs to handle it, just in case the man’s obvious dyslexia was catching.

But two years at Zenith House have changed me, Roger. The scales have fallen from my eyes. You don’t really get heavyweights like Milton, Shakespeare, Lawrence, and Faulkner in perspective until you’ve lunched at Burger Heaven with the author of Rats from Hell or helped the creator of Gash Me, My Darling through her current writer’s block. You come to realize that the great edifice of literature has one fuck of a lot more subbase-ments than you expected when you sneaked your first stroke-book up to your bedroom under your shirt (no I have not been smoking dope!).

So okay. This guy writes like a moderately bright third-grader (all declarative sentences—his letter has the panache of a heavyset guy walking downstairs in construction boots), but so does Olive Barker, and considering our creaky distribution system, her Windhover series has done quite well.

The sentence in the first paragraph which says he knows all of these things

“from first hand” suggests he’s a ding-dong. You know that. His assertion that he’s going to direct the movie suggests that he’s a ding-dong with delusions of grandeur. I think we both know that. Further, I’d stake my last pair of skivvies (I’m wearing them, and mighty gray they are!) that, despite his dis-claimer, every publisher in New York has seen True Tales of Demon Infestations. Loyalty to one’s company can go only so far, chum; not even a moderately bright third-grader would start at Zenith House. I’d guess this letter has been patiently retyped and sent out by the indefatigable (and probably obsessed) Mr. Detweiller at least forty times, starting with Farrar, Straus

& Giroux, or maybe even Alfred A. Knopf.

But I think there’s a possibility—albeit an extremely thin one—that Mr.



Detweiller may have researched enough material to actually make a book.

It would have to be rewritten, of course—his query letter makes that abun-dantly clear—and the title sucks, but we have several writers on our books who would be more than happy to do a little ghost-writing and pick up a quick $600. (I saw you wince—make that $400. Probably the indefatigable Olive Barker is the best of them. Also, I think Olive has a thing for Valium.

Junkies work harder than normal people, boss, as I think you know. At least until they die, and Olive’s tough. She doesn’t look too good since her stroke—I hate the way the left side of her face just hangs there—but she is tough.)

As I say, the chances are thin, and it’s always a trifle risky to encourage an obvious crazy, because it is so difficult to get rid of them (remember General Hecksler and his book Twenty Psychic Garden Flowers? For a while I thought the man might be genuinely dangerous, and of course he was a large part of the reason poor old Bill Hammer quit). But actually, Bloody Houses did do pretty well, and the whole thing—blurry photos and all—

came out of the New York Public Library. So you tell me: do we add ole Carlos to Returns or do we invite him to submit an outline and sample of chapters? Speak quickly, O great leader, for the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.




from the office of the editor-in-chief

TO: John Kenton

DATE: 1/15/81

MESSAGE: Dear Christ, Johnny! Do you
shut up? That memo was
three pages long!
If you
stoned, you have no excuse.

Reject the damn query letter, tell this Carlos What’s-His-Face to send his manuscript, buy him a pony, whatever you want. But save me the mother-fucking thesis. I don’t get them from Herb, Sandra, or Bill, and I don’t want them from you. “Shovel the shit and shut up,” how does that strike you as a motto?


P.S. Harlow Enders called again today—we’re going to keep on drawing paychecks for another year at least, it seems. After that, who knows? He says there’s going to be an “assessment of position” in June, and “a total review of Zenith’s overall position in the market”

next January—I construe those two fulsome phrases to mean we could be for sale next January unless our market position improves, and given our current distribution system, I don’t see how it can. My head aches. I think I may have a brain tumor. Please don’t send me any more long memos.


L’il Lolita
is actually a pretty good title, don’t you think? We could commission it. I’m thinking maybe Mort Yeager, he’s got a touch for that sort of thing. Remember
Teenage Lingerie Show
? The girl in
L’il Lolita
could be eleven, I think—wasn’t the original Lolita twelve?


i n t e r o f f i c e m e m o

t o : Roger

f r o m : John

r e: Possible brain tumor

Sounds more like a tension headache to me. Take four Quaaludes and call me in the morning. By the way, Mort Yeager’s in jail. Receiving stolen property, I think.


from the office of the editor-in-chief

T O : John Kenton

DATE: 1/16/81

MESSAGE: Don’t you have any work to do?


i n t e r o f f i c e m e m o

t o: Roger

f r o m: John

r e: Merciless huckstering by insensitive superior Yes, I’ll write a letter to Carlos Detweiller, next year’s National Book Award winner.

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