In 1934, a young North Dakotan named Arnold Samuelson went to South Florida to ask Ernest Hemingway how to write. He spent a year with the author, who offered bits of wisdom like “Get a good night’s rest” and “Don’t get discouraged.” Hemingway also told him that writing is a “damned tough racket. The only reason I make any money at it is I’m a sort of literary pirate.” Samuelson documented all of this in a manuscript, which was found by his daughter after his death in 1981 and posthumously published by Random House three years later.

Writing remains a tough racket, but getting published is somewhat easier. Around 2012, e-books helped set off a self-publishing boom. Among the many companies that work with authors to bind, digitize, and sell their work is Mindstir Media, which, in March, added a new service for authors: an endorsement from a Hemingway, in the form of a foreword and a 90-second promotional video.