And I thought Mal was tough...

7 replies
Late-1914, an aspiring young writer named Max Fedder sent a copy of his manuscript, "A Journal of One Who Is to Die," to Jack London, the author responsible for such works as The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and, most relevantly, Martin Eden -- the bleak story of a young man battling to become a writer.

The brutally honest response he received can be seen below.

Letters of Note: You must deliver marketable goods
#mal #thought #tough
  • Profile picture of the author sabinavarga
    The toughest teachers are usually the best ones.
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    • Originally Posted by sabinavarga View Post

      The toughest teachers are usually the best ones.
      It's because they tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear. It's these kind of people who push you to your limit, and make you strive to be better.

      Wish I had a teacher like this, but all I have at the moment is my own insatiable need to be better than I am now.


      Ben.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    That was a great response - and I hope Max took the opportunity to meet Jack.

    One interesting takeaway from this 98-year-old note: the lasting importance of doing research in identifying a niche market. People today will spend much time developing content, websites, blogs, and marketing funnels for products for which there is no demand.

    A little research beforehand is critical to success, as Jack pointed out so well.
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  • Profile picture of the author KirkB
    Not that I'm missing the point, but what ever happened to Max Fedder? The name is not familiar to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Yes, the takeaway message was...

    Have a MARKETABLE PRODUCT... and HAVE A MARKET FOR THE PRODUCT.
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    • Profile picture of the author perryny
      Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

      Yes, the takeaway message was...

      Have a MARKETABLE PRODUCT... and HAVE A MARKET FOR THE PRODUCT.
      My takeaway was a bit different...

      Want to be a writer? Then start writing and keep at it, because it's going to take plenty of time and hard work to develop this skill.

      Think you can read a bunch of sales letters, a couple of books and be able to write your own marketing overnight? Doesn't work like that.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
        Originally Posted by perryny View Post

        My takeaway was a bit different...

        Want to be a writer? Then start writing and keep at it, because it's going to take plenty of time and hard work to develop this skill.

        Think you can read a bunch of sales letters, a couple of books and be able to write your own marketing overnight? Doesn't work like that.
        There's more than one takeaway, and the one you mentioned is also a good one.

        They both confirm a point - even with the new technologies available today, some fundamental truths (the need for hard work, marketable product, and a market for the product (as Paul succinctly put it)) never change.
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