Questions Asked – Giving it to you Raw

question-mark-gif.gifToday, I thought I would start off by answering some of the most commonly asked questions that an author may receive. I try to answer every email that I get and will try to assist most when I can; but sometimes I’m sure the recipient is not “totally” satisfied with my responses, which leads me to the first question:

1. I have a good story. I’m learning fast that people don’t or won’t help you. Why is that?

I don’t want you to have the misconception of authors not wanting to help…many of us do.  You also have to keep in mind of your approach. Have you ever contacted this particular author before? Have you ever bought one of their books? My question is, why would you ask for advice from an author if you’ve never purchased or read one of their books? I don’t ask for advice from just anyone. You best believe any writer I approached in the past, I’ve read their entire book; not just an excerpt off their website.

2. Will you read my unpublished manuscript and give me feedback?

For legal reasons a lot of authors will not read the work of people they don’t already have a relationship with in some capacity.   As a writer, we have to protect ourselves because there are too many “sue” happy folks out there.  Please keep that in mind the next time you ask the question and don’t get the response you want. Don’t hold it against the writer.  Also, most writers do not have the time to read other people’s manuscripts because they are too busy working on their own and trying to meet deadlines.  I would suggest joining a writing group where some of the members may be able to assist with critiquing your work.

3. Can you help me write my life story?

Yes, for a price; but most people don’t want to hear that.  They expect you to do something for free. Writing is a passion for most of us but it’s also a business. Don’t get upset if you get turned flat down because you’re not willing to pay for the writer’s time.

Also, keep in mind that if you live long enough, there’s a story within all of us; but not every life’s story is meant to be told. Meaning, just because your life is interesting to you; doesn’t mean we all want to read about it. That’s one reason why I write fiction. Nobody wants to hear about the ins and outs of my life (that’s what blogging is for…lol).

If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to email them directly to me or leave a comment and I’ll answer them in the next round.

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10 comments on “Questions Asked – Giving it to you Raw

  1. Good questions and answers which I needed to read. Thanks. For the past two months, I’ve been writing a book that I hope to be finished with by January ’08. Needless to say, I may need your help Sheila. Right now, I am in talks with Vivian Stringer.

  2. Your #1 really clicked with me, especially the part dealing with if you’ve ever bought or read the author’s book.

    Recently, I met a self-published author at a book fair. He told me others had compared his style to Walter Mosely. He went on to say he’d been trying to meet Mr. Mosely. Then shockingly, he confessed that he’d never read a Walter Mosely book . . .

    I was like, dude, why are you so hellbent on meeting Mosely when you can’t even be bothered to sit down and read his work?! I strongly suggested he make the time to read at least one of Mosely’s books before he approached him.

  3. Shelia,

    I have to concur with the others. My usual response now to the “help me write my life story” thing is to say, e-mail me a couple of pages detailing what you want to say in your book. I figure if you aren’t willing to do a little work, you’re definitely not ready for the long haul of a writing project. Haven’t gotten one e-mail yet. Oy!

    All the best,
    Dee

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