John Martin (publisher)
John Martin (born 1930) was the founder of Black Sparrow Press. He was both publisher and editor for 36 years, retiring in 2002. He is most noted for helping to launch the literary career of Charles Bukowski and re-publishing the works of John Fante. He published a dozen or more titles annually, with more than $1 million in sales. He also published works by Wyndham Lewis, Paul Bowles, Robert Duncan, Theodore Dreiser, Joyce Carol Oates, D.H. Lawrence, Diane Wakoski and many others. Martin sold Black Sparrow's backlist to David R. Godine. But publication rights to three major authors, Bukowski, Paul Bowles, and John Fante, were sold to Ecco Press, where they still appear, sometimes with the now-famous covers designed by Barbara Martin.
According to Born into This, a documentary on Bukowski's life, Martin, offered Bukowski 100 dollars per month for life on condition that Bukowski would quit working for the post office and write full-time. He agreed and Post Office was written within a month. Post Office was Bukowski's first foray into writing a novel. All of his earlier work had been poetry. Martin was actually a little worried that Bukowski would not be able to make the transition to prose. However, the fear turned out to be quite unfounded as Bukowski had no trouble writing stories about his life.
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