Several months ago, I broke with the last of my 4 publishers. I’ve had 4 because the first became ill and closed the business. Another bought a company that held my contract and turned out to be a crook. Law enforcement eventually shut him down. A third tried to change the terms of our agreement after three months. When I refused, we parted company. The last publisher was a disappointment, so I found a loophole in the contract and broke free. These experiences taught me the only publisher I could rely upon was myself. So, a few months ago, I created Rutherford Classics. (Click)
The name Rutherford comes from the matriarchal side of my family. I’ve always preferred it to Miller, and Classics gives deference to the fact the books have been in circulation a while — two of them in print since 2008. With a traditional publisher, books that old would have been backlisted by now. Reprinting them under Rutherford Classics gives them renewed life.
Publishers large and small do not like old books. They care only for fresh print and readers in search of the new. I’m guessing classics wouldn’t exist if universities didn’t dump old titles into their curriculum as samples of art. Those titles endure because, every year, a new crop of students is forced to buy them. Otherwise, Martin Chuzzlewit would have faded from memory long ago.
Still, books don’t lose value because they are old. Victoria magazine, before it died and was resurrected, used to review old books, not classics, but those popular in their era. I read several of them and felt no ill effect from the time warp. Author Margery Sharp became a favorite. (Click) She wrote copiously but her books went out of print after she died. Two titles might jog the reader’s memory: The Rescuers and her play The Lady in Waiting. Kindle revived ten more and brought them out in 2016. For anyone curious, I recommend Cluny Brown. The title character is a precocious young woman with an attitude before her time.
Giving my books renewed life under Rutherford Classics makes it possible for a college professor with a discerning eye to insert one or two into the curriculum. Or, Stephen Spielberg might come calling for movie rights. I’m not holding my breath, but the improbability of either doesn’t make the books unworthy of an audience. What’s more, as the publisher, I can reduce the price, a bonus to my blog readers who already know I can put two words together to make a sentence. Book listings appear on my web page (Click) and on Rutherford Classics. (Click) With the calendar just turning to August, there’s plenty of time for a summer read and a little adventure.