The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.
Mike Hammer drinks beer because I can't spell Cognac.
The most important part of a story is the ending. No one reads a book to get to the middle.
Inspiration is an empty bank account.
Those big-shot writers ... could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.
I'm not an author, I'm a writer, that's all I am. Authors want their names down in history; I want to keep the smoke coming out of the chimney.
I'm a commercial writer, not an author. Margaret Mitchell was an author. She wrote one book.
I don't like people. I don't like any kind of people. When you get them together in a big lump they all get nasty and dirty and full of trouble. So I don't like people including you. That's what a misanthropist is.
Hemingway hated me. I sold 200 million books, and he didn't. Of course most of mine sold for 25 cents, but still... you look at all this stuff with a grain of salt.
I have no fans. You know what I got? Customers. And customers are your friends.
If the public likes you, you're good. Shakespeare was a common, down-to-earth writer in his day.
If you're a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes.
Nobody reads a book to get to the middle.
No one likes my books except the public.
Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.
If I need something, I'll invent it.
The first page sells this book. The last page sells your next book.
I started off at the high level, in the slick magazines, but they didn't use my name, they used house names. Anyway, then I went downhill to the pulps, then downhill further to the comics.
I'm the most translated writer in the world, behind Lenin, Tolstoy, Gorki and Jules Verne. And they're all dead.
I dont like any of them, because they don't read the books. In Kiss Me Deadly my story is better than his story. Anthony Quinn played in The Lond Wait and he didn't read the book either.
See, heroes never die. John Wayne isn't dead, Elvis isn't dead. Otherwise you don't have a hero. You can't kill a hero. That's why I never let him get older.
I know an awful lot of Hollywood people, who are so self-important, I can't understand it.
I'm 82 years old, wherever I go everybody knows me, but here's why... I'm a merchandiser, I'm not just a writer, I stay in every avenue you can think of.
If the public likes you, you're good.
I'm actually a softie. Tough guys get killed too early... I've got a full head of hair and don't wear eyeglasses.
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