The plant - By Stephen King

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 true. 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 "The World 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 now. 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 manuscript with return postage in case you don't like it (or don't understand it). Please respond as soon as possible. I think "multiple 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

interoffice memo

TO: Roger FROM: John RE: Submissions/January 11-15th, 1981

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know how the rest of your toiling editorial minions are doing, but I continue to roll the existential rock of America's unpublished aspiring-at least my share of it.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 sponduix," 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 subbasements 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