Why I Won’t Read Your Script, Book, or Epic Poem

Lots of people ask me to read their books and scripts… relatives, friends, my Mom’s friends, friends of my Mom’s friends, and as you’ve noticed from postings here over the last few months, complete strangers. My brother Tod, in his weekly column, describes one reason why I offer any excuse I can think of *not* to read people’s stuff…

there was a letter waiting for me from a man named Kevin. A month earlier, my cousin Leigh asked if I’d read Kevin’s epic poem as a favor to her–he cuts her hair–and see if I could help him on his quest to get it published. I said sure. I read the epic poem, offered some advice to Kevin on it, including an honest critique, and spent a good two hours of my life on his work. He sent me a two-page, single-spaced letter in return essentially calling me an idiot who obviously didn’t appreciate quality writing and that I should re-evaluate why I’ve chosen the career I’ve chosen and that he hopes I choke.

The smartest thing I ever did was co-write a book on breaking into television… now I just tell people to buy my book. All the advice I have to offer is there…

(Oh, I should add one exception…my wife’s best friend showed me her first novel. It was incredible… certainly better than any book I’ve ever written. She writes with such confidence, power and grace… I knew as I was reading it that she was a natural born writer. I immediately tried to convince my agent, and a couple other agents I knew, to take her on. Sadly, she’s still looking for representation…)

3 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Read Your Script, Book, or Epic Poem”

  1. It’s a vicious circle. So far, I’ve managed to dodge that question except from maybe three writers who either returned the favor or I knew by rep already.
    Complete strangers leave me alone because 1.) my book’s not out yet, and 2.) I have a non-relative fanbase of about 12.
    And two of those felt sorry for me. So I don’t get asked very often.

  2. As a book reviewer for a small Southern newspaper, I had people ask me to read their books. One even offered half his royalties if I could get it published. I don’t know why I turned him down.


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