Today I’m going to finish giving serious answers to the questions in my humorous post The Top 10 Things People Say to Writers, and How You Should Respond. So when you’re tired of being snarky this will help you give some constructive–and helpful–answers to your non-writer friends and family.
I’m combining 9 and 10 for this last post, since 10 was just a funny throwaway.
9. Will you read/edit the book I wrote and give me suggestions on how to make it better, maybe rewrite a few scenes for me?
Wow, we’re ending on this doozy of a question. I understand, I really do. If I had access to a ***real writer*** (aka someone who has books published) when I was a young, green, inexperienced writer, I probably would have made this faux pas too. Actually KNOWING someone who has done what you want to do seems so shiny and wonderful, of COURSE they’ll help you! I did help someone once by editing his short story, but quickly learned this was a mistake because then he wanted me to edit and revise ALL of his stories (all the while not taking any of my editing advice to heart). I was also in an unfortunate, cringey position in which my boss brought his daughter’s book to work and asked me if I would read it and give her some suggestions.
Of course, a lot of writers have beta readers, and these are people (usually other writers) who have volunteered to read your stuff and give advice and suggestions–and often, you return the favor. But basically ‘cold calling’ an author is a big misstep. There’s four huge reasons I won’t read or edit your book for you:
- You’re going to get offended when I tell you what’s wrong with it (been there, seen that).
- Editors are people who get paid to do what they do. It’s a real job.
- If I spend all my time editing and reading for other people, I’ll never get any of my own work done.
- You probably don’t write the same stuff that I write, or am interested in reading, and I can’t give you a fair evaluation because of that.
My humorous answer on the list: Sure thing. Just let me look up the going rate editors/ghostwriters charge these days, and I’ll get back to you with an invoice. By the way, I only take cash, paid in full in advance.
A more constructive answer: The same, but slightly more polite.
And that leads us to:
10. Why are you so grouchy?
Well that’s it, folks! I hope you got a laugh out of this, and maybe learned a few things.
By the way, stop by Long and Short Reviews today, there’s a contest going on and I’m giving away a copy of Star-Crossed! There’s tons of other prizes to be won as well, including books and gift cards, so come on down!