On his mantel he found a letter from his publisher, in response to a note he had written him the previous day requesting a new advance in return for the promise of a new novel. ‘Hateful profession!’ he exclaimed, unsealing the letter. ‘So I’ll have to write again, write forever, no matter what my state of mind; to be light in style when my brain is weighted down with fatigue, emotionally tender when my soul is withering with anger, fresh and blooming with metaphors when my imagination is blighted by disgust.’ He broke the seal convulsively, and, much to his surprise, read a point-blank rejection in the style of a discontented publisher, who calls a spade a spade and a missed chance at success a lemon. The worthy man was out of pocket for his expenses. In the two weeks since the work had been published, he had sold only thirty copies. And then, it was so short! Bookstores would only take this wafer at a discount. He made a point of telling Horace that he should have stretched out that ending. Two more folios, and the book would have earned fifty centimes a copy. And then the title was not thunderous enough, the premise was not moral, there were too many reflections; and a thousand other causes for its lack of success that made the poor author hit the ceiling, beyond fury and full of despair.
– George Sand (Horace, p. 292)