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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Thinking of asking a published writer to read your manuscript?

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


This is twice in as many days I've linked back to a John Scalzi blog. Today he has some very good advice for unpublished authors. I particularly like reasons 4 and 6, though all of them are excellent.

The best way to get an author to take a look at your work is to attend a workshop. The worst way to get an author to look at your work is to send your stuff unsolicited. Next worst is to bug the author in person. I once had someone hold up an autograph line while I patiently explained why I couldn't look at this person's work in progress. Fortunately I had an excellent (and true) reason: I was working on something that covered similar subject matter. What if this person were to accuse me of plagiarism down the road? I couldn't take that risk. I simply explained that it wouldn't be a good idea and in the end it wouldn't be fair to either of us. I'm afraid that person left massively disappointed and probably thought less of me after that encounter. I hope that on reflection (and experience) that person doesn't think I'm really evil or was picking on them. It really is easier to give a gentle "no" via e-mail than face-to face. At least it is for me.

If someone wants to hang out and talk writing at a convention, that's one thing. I learned a lot early on (and still do today) by hanging out in the con suite and talking - or just listening.

I may carry my WIP with me, but it's not for public consumption unless I'm reading an excerpt for a panel. Usually I'm editing. I'm making notes. Often I DON'T want someone else to see it in the state that it's in. It's like begging someone to look at my messy office. Oops. I did that yesterday, didn't I? ;-) Not really. There was an invitation involved. Which is sort of the point I was trying to make.

Gotta go get the tire fixed on that car - and work on my own WIP while I wait in the lounge. Better than elevator music.

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Filed under: Writing            
1/23/2007 1:28:08 PM
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