“If we’re going to turn down the likes of Fitzgerald, I will lose all interest in publishing books.”
Maxwell Perkins, threatening to resign his position at Charles Scribner’s Sons, in protest of his colleagues’ unanimous decision not to publish F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise.
It was a risky move, but the heads of Scribner decided they would rather publish Fitzgerald’s unconventional tale than lose Perkins. The rest is history. Not only did Fitzgerald go on to write The Great Gatsby under the Perkins-Scribner masthead, but he also introduced Perkins to his friend and mentee, Ernest Hemingway. Their relationship blossomed and found Perkins editing and publishing everything from The Sun also Rises to The Old Man and the Sea.
Maxwell Perkins is now considered one of the greatest literary editors of all time. His lifelong employer, Charles Scribner’s Sons, one of the greatest publishing houses of all time.