RARA-AVIS: Donald MacCampbell

From: abc@wt.net
Date: 18 Mar 2003

MacCampbell is the author of DON'T STEP ON IT--IT MIGHT BE A WRITER. I got it from abebooks, and I'm glad I did. MacCampbell was (or maybe still is) a literary agent. Two of his clients were Day Keene and Harry Whittington, and MacCampbell concentrated on the paperback market. There are some great stories in the book about the beginnings of Gold Medal, especially editor Dick Carroll. You also learn about a minor publisher, Bart House, and what happened to it. MacCampbell has a reticence about naming certain names, but reading between the lines you can learn about (I think) Phantom Books, Original Novels, and Venus Books, all which Whittington sold to. And even why the Australian Phantom Books are almost exclusively reprints of MacCampbell's clients.

Reading this book got me started digging through my stacks of stuff, and I uncovered a photocopy of Harry Whittington's Keynote Address to the Florida Suncoast Writers' Conference from back in 1978. It's a treasure trove of info about Whittington's career and has the whole story (from his perspective) of why he dropped out of the writing business for a while and of how he got back in. Also tells what he thought about Donald MacCampbell. (He thought he was wonderful. Day Keene called MacCampbell "God.") Just great reading.

Bill Crider

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