Author Tess Gerritsen has a terrific post on her blog about aspiring writers who want her to read their manuscripts… and get pissed off when she doesn’t.
If I were to say yes to every unpublished author’s request, I
wouldn’t have time to write my own books. And truly, I’m astounded that
people whom I don’t know, or hardly know, would come up to me and
essentially ask, "Say, will you spend eight hours reading my incredible
literary work?" Because that’s what it works out to. Eight hours of
And if you don’t see my point, think about this. What if someone you
barely know says to you: "Hey, wouldn’t you love to come over and spend
eight hours cleaning my house?"
You’d tell them thanks, but no thanks.
Which will then earn you the resentful comment: "But you OWE it to me
because your house is so clean! Your clean house makes you OBLIGATED to
If the person asking me to clean their house is my mother or an elderly
friend, you betcha I’ll go over and help clean the house.
Same with reading manuscripts. Mothers and close friends get special dispensation.
But when I hear unpublished authors whine that published authors are
OBLIGATED to help them get published, that’s when my blood goes from
simmer to boil.
I’m not in Tess Gerritsen’s league, but I get asked by strangers all the time (mostly by email) to read their books, scripts and series ideas… and to pass them on to my agent…or pass them on editors and producers…and they are furious when I politely decline (apparently, there is no polite way to say no to these people). I’m willing to bet just about every published author or produced screenwriter can relate to this.