I got an email today from a complete stranger that began with lots of praise for me and my Monk books. Then, after buttering me up, she got to the point:
I'm a pre-published author who is destined for success. My latest book is an 80,000 word erotic-suspense-romance-thriller and I would really appreciate it if you would read the manuscript and give me your detailed critique. I would also like a blurb I could use to help sell it (I will give it prominent placement on the book when it is published). I need your comments no later than Feb. 1, 2009.
I'm glad that you enjoy my MONK books. While I appreciate your kind words, I'm not interested in reading your manuscript. It takes a lot of time to read and critique a manuscript…something I might do for a student in a class that I'm teaching, or a close friend, or a member of my family. But you are none of those things. You are a total stranger to me. It's already presumptuous of you to ask someone you don't know to read your raw manuscript — but demanding that they do so by some arbitrary deadline crosses the line into offensive arrogance. This may shock you, but I have a life of my own. I don't appreciate it when a stranger assumes, simply because they like my books, that I am obligated to set my life aside for them. What were you thinking?!