While rummaging through some old papers yesterday, I found a couple of things I'd photocopied from an old edition of The Mystery Writer's Handbook. Both were short articles by Harry Whittington, one on "Why I Write" and one on "The Paperback Original." Here's something he says about the latter:
"If you want to sell to Gold Medal Books, don't read Gold Medal and ape them. Read Faulkner, Hemingway, Dostoevski and Scott Fitzgerald, O'Hara and Herman Wouk.
If you read Gold Medal Books, you might hit a market several pay grades lower. In order to hit those markets, read Gold Medal. But to hit Gold Medal, read Faulkner. Don't read Graphic Books to write their mysteries. Read Fred Brown, and Cornell Woolrich, and Chandler and Huggins."