Anne! I have written a book. I have no money to invest in publishing it and I do not wish to give it away. Are you able to help me determine if it has merit? Thanks in advance for your consideration.
I did respond with a link to my coaching services and I wasn’t a bit surprised that I didn’t hear from the person again. I think I also suggested putting together a book proposal and looking for either an agent or publisher. Or, if it were fiction, submitting the manuscript to either agents or publishers. I probably should have pointed out I’ve got a whole category about book publishing.
As you might suspect, these kinds of requests happen pretty often and I always either turn them down flat or offer to do it for pay. Here’s why:
It takes time to read a book length manuscript. Most run 40,000-100,000 words. While I may read a suspense novel or mystery in a couple of evenings, those are books that have already gone through a selection and editing process.
I’m not an agent or a publisher. Although I have some pretty good ideas about what makes a book saleable, I’m not making money for the books I read – unless I’m coaching a client.
If your book is awful, and many in manuscript form are, I’ll still feel some sort of obligation to help you fix it – or at least provide some suggestions.
When I have read a book for free I’ve often found myself in an argument with the writer – because they hate what I’ve told them and instead of fixing the book they want to endlessly discuss it with me or prove to me I’m wrong.
I doubt that people who make this kind of request really understand what they’re asking. They see me and other writers with websites, as professionals but apparently feel it’s okay not to pay us. I suppose there’s not much harm in asking, but I suspect they are asking in hopes of figuring it out for themselves.
On the other hand, if that’s the worst request I ever get I’m not doing badly.
What do you think? How much should a pro be willing to do for free?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu