Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Spring 2000

Publication Title

The South Carolina Review






Clemson University Press


Is it depressing or inspiring to discover that everyone work harder than you do? After reading Hired Pens: Professional Writers in America's Golden Age of Print, one will be forced either to the keyboard or the couch. Virtually every page of this excruciatingly detailed study chronicles people who measured out their lives by their word count. We learn that Zane Grey churned out over eighty books and was never off the best-seller lists between 1917-1925. Frederick Faust published 25 million words of fiction under at least 20 different names, not the least of which was Max Brand. Janet Dailey wrote at a rate of fifteen to twenty-five manuscript pages a day and managed to write thirteen novels in the year of 1980. Even when we are not being barraged by manuscript tallies, Weber indefatigably thrusts other numbers at us. If it weren't enough to know that Jack London tracked fifteen acceptances on a first try between August 1898 and May 1900, Weber also informs us that during this same period London had eighty-eight pieces rejected a total of over four hundred times. The rejection slips, skewered on wire, mounted five feet high.


Copyright is held by Clemson University Press.



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