Hmmmm... Yeah, about that... no.
I'm an author, not a manuscript reading service. And you as a writer hoping to become an author, need to understand that this is a business. If you want to make a living as a writer, than you need to shape up and start acting like a business professional. You need to look at this as though you are a self-employed business person (because you are, the IRS says you are, and come tax time you sure as hell better have your act together, because the IRS will be billing your ass to hell and back if you haven't.)
You will need to worry about the IRS, and soon, in fact BEFORE you publish your book, because as a self-employed tax payer you need to get your tax forms now (long ones) and start keeping careful records of every expense you make save all your store receipts (for paper, printer, computer, desk, munchies, etc) now so you can tell the IRS every penny you spent in the production of your book. You should have been thinking about the IRS long before you started creating your first character or plot line, because they'll charge you $250,000 and 25 years in prison if you don't pay taxes on any royalties you receive for your book and they expect you to have kept a record of every penny you spent, otherwise they'll be knocking on your front door to do an audit.
No. Please stop, right there. You've said too much all ready. Seriously stop and think about the legal issues of what you are asking for here. I'm not your mom, I'm not your best friend, I'm not a freelance editor-for-hire. If you are looking for a Manuscript Reading Service than you need to contact either a professional Manuscript Reading Service or an Editor-For-Hire who offers manuscript reading services to authors.
Do know that Manuscript Reading Services charge anywhere from $75 per hour to $20 per page to $300 per chapter, and at minimum you are looking to spend $500 while around $2,500 is a better cost to figure you'll have to pay per manuscript.
I'm an author. I'm a business professional with a reputation to uphold. Stop and think about the law, the police, the FBI, the court costs, the lawyer fees, the jail time...
Yes, I heard you, and you're right, he probably is great. Thing of it is, what you are asking me to do is ILLEGAL.
Stop right there. Did you hear what you said? UNPUBLISHED. Unpublished is the key word here.
What's the Big Deal? Well, let's take a look at another question I received from another beginning writer just like yourself, one who DID send their manuscript to an author:
No, I'm sorry, but I can't help you. No one can.
You can contact the publisher if you want, but do know that they are just going to laugh in your face and probably slap a restraining order on your ass and report you to the police and the FBI calling you a "dangerous stalker who is obsessed with this author".
If you try to contact the author himself, you'll likely land your ass in jail with stalking charges. If you go to his house to confront him, you could even end up in prison. There are laws to protect authors from psycho fans like you.
And don't write back boo-hooing to me that you are not a stalker fan, because the very fact that you sent your manuscript to him in the first place is 100% proof positive that you ARE a stalker fan.
Repeat after me:
Are you a REAL author? Than act like one.
When you sent your unpublished manuscript to that author you basically said to them:
"Here, take it, it's yours. I'm too stupid to know what to do with it. I'm too stupid to know I'm supposed to send it to a publisher not an author. I'm too stupid to do things the right way. I don't care enough about this story to safeguard it against plagiarism. I'm your biggest fan so all I care about is if you'll want to write a book like this one. That's what I REALLY want. That why I REALLY sent it to you instead of to a publisher. I don't really want to publish my story, I just want to know you, my beloved favorite author, likes this story."
It is common practice for fans of an author to send story ideas to the author, with a request asking:
"I love your series and I came up with an idea for your next book, would you look it over? If you like it, feel free to use it in your next novel, okay? Thanks!"
In fact it is so common practice that some authors receive hundreds of these story idea manuscripts each and every week.
It is so common practice that some authors don't even bother to look at the note attached and just go right to the manuscript. Thus the author had no clue you were asking him to read a manuscript YOU planned to PUBLISH. He just assumed you were one of the million and one other screaming fangirls looking to push a story idea in his face.
Now I'm not saying what he did was right. It wasn't. He should have sent your manuscript back to you unread. An ethical author would NEVER read another author's unpublished manuscript.
Fact is, there are a lot of unethical authors out there who WILL take your story give it new characters, change the setting around, and publish it.
And you want to know the real kicker here? There is no law against rehashing another author's idea, and authors do it ALL THE TIME.
The law is not on your side here. In fact, there ARE laws which say using another author's ideas is perfectly legal so long as you are not using their exact words directly! It's known as "The Fair Use Act".
Why does the Fair Use law allow you to use another author's ideas? Well look at it this way: How many rags to riches stories have been written over the years? Millions. Every one of them is copying the idea Charles Perault used when writing Cinderella (no Cinderella was NOT written by the Brother's Grimm - they stole the idea from Perault!)
What can you do? Not much. In a situation like this, the only way you would have any legal ground to stand on, is if the author directly plagiarized your story word for word verbatim, and that's not what you said happened.
All you can do is take this as a lesson learned. Now you know not to repeat this mistake. Now you know to turn off your inner screaming fan girl and think before acting. Now you know that next time you write a book, you'll send it to a publisher where it belongs.
And you want to know what the really sad part of all this is: Chances are very high that the author never even opened your package. It's likely still sitting unopened and unread in a huge pile of fan-mail that won't get read for months or years, if he ever gets around to reading them at all.
And before you ask: "But how could this be? He stole my idea I tell you!"
Ask yourself how original your idea was. Really. Be honest. Was it really all that unique? There are millions of stories out there and yet there are only about 10 story ideas.
Let's think about a few things here.
First, why did you choose this particular author to send your manuscript too? Because his writing style was similar to yours. Because his characters were similar to yours. You thought "He writes a lot like me, so he'll know if this is any good or not."
Secondly, what inspired you to write this book in the first place? Was it inspired by another book he wrote? If so, than you are probably very lucky that he didn't sue your ass and toss you in prison for writing fan fiction. (Oh, didn't know fan fiction was a federal crime, now did you? For some reason a lot of beginning writers don't.)
Or what if you were inspired by a movie you just saw at the theaters last week. If you and the author write similar fiction, chances are good that you watch similar movies. He probably saw the same movie you did and like you was inspired to write a story based on that idea. That would explain similar characters, similar plot, yet you took yours on a Medieval spin while he took his on a WWII spin.
Let me tell you a story about a fellow writer, one who had to opposite trouble as what you are now having.
He lives in Denmark. We meet through the chat room of the Danish publishing house, Egmont, which had published scripts from each of us. One day we were chatting when he mentioned the release of his latest comic book. It was a story involving a quest across Europe, looking for clues left by Templars and such. The story was well received and was a big hit among readers of this type of comic book. Oddly it was also a big hit among people who didn't normally read this type of comic book, in fact it was a big hit with people who didn't read comic books at all, it was overall a big hit, something that never happens in the comic book industry. Something was wrong here. Why were so many people flocking to this book? This puzzled him so he did some research. See, he was worried his story may have been stolen.
He explained further what had happened. An American fan of his series had written to him with a story idea. It was a great story idea and he thanked the fan and told them he'd use it. He did and it became the comic book in question.
Now living in Denmark he didn't get to see American movies that often. To his horror, his research lead another fan to send him two things: a novel and a DVD of the movie based on that novel. It was The Da Vinci Code
As he read the book and watched the movie he realized that the story the fan had sent him was outright plagiarism of The Da Vinci Code. He had used the fan's suggested story idea, not knowing the fan had plagiarized another author, and he was terrified of getting sued and so contacted both his publisher and the other author's publisher to explain the mix up. As it turned out, his comic book was unique enough that he was not in any trouble, because he had made enough changes from the "idea" the fan had sent him.
But it was a lesson learned: NEVER use the story idea sent to you by a fan, because you have no idea where they came up with the idea, and no way of knowing if they plagiarized someone else.
If you claim to be an author, than you had better start acting like one. If you are sending your manuscript to authors asking those authors to read it, then you are acting like an immature screaming fan-girl that don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.
For an author to offer manuscript reading services to other authors is a huge serious no-no that is frowned upon in the publishing industry because it is a conflict of interests.
New writers who expect other authors to offer manuscript reading services to them need to seriously re-evaluate their goal of starting a writing career. A writer who thinks authors offer manuscript reading services doesn't yet know the industry well enough to try working in it.
And so, I say again: No.
No, I will not read your manuscript.
No, you may not send your manuscript to me for evaluation and/or feedback.
Yes, I'm sure it is great and wonderful and I probably would love it.
But I am not the appropriate person to be sending your manuscript to. See I'm an author.
Yes, I am an editor. You are right about that. But you are confused about the type of editor you can send a manuscript to.
I am the Editor-In-Chief of a publishing house. You don't send manuscripts to an Editor-In-Chief.
Go back to where I told you to send it to an editor. Did I tell you to send it just to any old editor? No. I did not. I was very specific. What I said was you needed to send your manuscript to an Editor-For-Hire.
Editors-for-hire often offer manuscript reading services to writers. In fact they ALWAYS offer manuscript reading services to writers because it's their job to offer manuscript reading services to writers. Offering manuscript reading services is what an editor-for-hire gets paid to do.
An Editor-For-Hire is an independent freelance person who has NO AFFILIATION with a publishing house and is paid by an author to READ MANUSCRIPTS, correct grammar errors, fix spelling and typos, and offer advice on any plot changes that will make the story flow better. They are often English Professors from community colleges who do editing-for-hire as a side job.
You would not send your manuscript to the Editor-In-Chief of a publishing house unless specifically instructed to do so in the publisher's guidelines.
When sending your manuscript to a publishing house, normally you would send your manuscript to the Acquiring-Editor. This editor's job is to acquire manuscripts, read them, and either recommend or reject them. So in a sence you could say that the acquiring editor also offers manuscript reading services.
If the Acquiring-Editor recommends your manuscript to the publisher, it will next move on to a Copy-Editor, who will read it looking for typos, spelling/grammar errors to correct. At this point it will go on to a Proofreading Editor who will repeat what the Copy Editor did, and make recommendations on any plot or character changes.
From here your manuscript will be passed on to the Editor-In-Chief who will go over read the manuscript, and each of the corrected versions of it, and than decide if it's a right fit for the publisher, the Editor-In-Chief now either accepts or rejects your manuscript.
This whole process takes 3 to 8 months. In very large publishing houses your manuscript may go through as many as 8 different copy editors before reaching the Editor-In-Chief! The Editor-In-Chief only ever sees the best of the best, cream of the crop manuscripts.
If the Editor-In-Chief accepts your manuscript it is than handed back to the first editor, the Acquisitions-Editor who had opened your submission package way back 6 or 7 months ago. They may or may not remember reading your manuscript (they read dozens each week).
From here it is the Acquisitions-Editor's job to gather up all the corrected manuscripts bleeding in red ink corrections, mail it back to you with a letter, telling you that your manuscript has passed the preliminary stage, please make the requested corrections and mail it back for further consideration.
Next you get it back and either make the corrections or get mad refuse to make changes and send it to another publisher to start the process over again. Assuming you make the corrections and send the corrected manuscript back, next you have to wait for the process to be repeated all over again. However you has priority status now so it only takes 2 to 3 months the go from editor to editor this time.
Once your manuscript is back in the hands of the Editor-In-Chief a second time, (and assuming you made ALL the requested changes - if not you'll have to go through this editing process a third or even fourth time!) now it's time for the Editor-In-Chief to head upstairs to the Publisher's office and say: "We found a great manuscript. I think you'll want to publish this one."
If the Publisher likes your manuscript and wants to publish is, than you'll finallt receive a letter from the Acquisitions-Editor telling you your book had been accepted, and than it's time to start the editing process for the final time.
If you have a good agent, you'd send your manuscript to her first, and she would send your manuscript out to private editing services that would do all the copy-editing, proof-editing, and corrections first. This would put you ahead of other manuscripts as yours would already polished and would zip through the process in weeks instead of months. Plus a good agent will know which publishing houses are the best fit for your manuscript, so you don't waste time with the wrong publishing houses. (Note I said GOOD agent - many agents don't do this service, know what services an agent offers before you pay them. Literary agents aren't regulated by law, and anyone can claim to be one. Agents scamming ill informed authors is one of the largest scams you as a writer are going to run into, so watch your step when hunting for an agent.)
And now that you know what the editing process of a publishing house is, now you also understand how pointless it is for you to send your manuscript to other authors.
I suppose the thing that really irks me most about your line of questioning is the absolute utter lack of doing any sort of background check into the career you have chosen. You can't just write a book and than toss it at the first author you meet and expect to get anywhere.
Can I interrupt you again and ask if you have ever actually read a book I wrote? I don't exactly write fantasy you know. I write the Twighlight Manor series. It's Rocky Horror Picture Show on friggin steroids. I write Gorn. Do you know what Gorn is? It's sex and murder. It's Gorey Porn. It's women being raped by serial killing cannibals. It's set during the Spanish Inquisition in the torture chamber of a haunted stone fortress that eats people. It's RedCaps killing humans to dye their hats red with blood. It's FarDarrigs rolling in human blood to dye their coats red. It Phookas disemboweling humans and hanging their entrails in trees.
One of the main characters in my books is a pipe organ that collects the heads of human piano players, and her best friend is a grandfather clock that slices those heads off for her with his great big swinging pendulum. The guy who owns the house that eats people runs around bashing brains out with the Traveling Shovel of Death, a sentient shovel that takes over the mind and makes you kill, kill, kill!
It's aliens abducting humans and dissecting them alive in grizzly experiments. Every chapter has a hard core sex scene, there's at least 2 gang rapes in every story, and no female has ever made to the end of a story in one piece. The sex and violence is so graphic and bloody that you'll be hard pressed to find a bookstore that even carries a copy of my books, and if they do you have to show an ID card to prove you are over 21 before they'll let you buy them.
You think I got a thing for Wizards? You mean like The Lansquin, the Hougan who uses his great magic to reconstruct the dead and send them on grave robbing missions? Seriously honey, there ain't a single elf, wizard, or quest in any book or short story I have ever written.
As for your thinking I like fantasy movies. I like Harry Potter, yes. But that's one movie. I like Prof Snape, yes, but that's one wizard. And you got to admit, Harry Potter is not exactly your classic fantasy questing movie, and Snape ain't no Merlin. You got your facts wrong.
When I watch movies, they tend to be just like the stories I write: Horror and Sci-Fi. My favorite movies include Saw, Evil Dead, The Grudge, Secret Window, Rose Red, Langoliers, 2001 Maniacs. My favorite TV shows include X-Files, Dr. Who, Star Trek, Firefly, Walking Dead, American Horror Story. My favorite books are Retief, Hitchhikers' Guide, Dracula, and Phantom of the Opera. Harry Potter is the only fantasy book I've ever read. I've never even read Lord of the Rings because I have absolutely no interest in that sort of thing.
The more I hear from you the more it sounds like you have written a Lord of the Rings type fantasy book, which is a genre I have no interest in writing, reading, or watching. Heck when I play Dungeon's and Dragons I play Ravenloft not ElfQuest! Of course if you have SpellJammer type Elves in Spaaaaaace, yeah, love me lots of those. Bring on the giant space hamsters and brain sucking squids! Honey there is never enough SpellJammer type sci-fi in the world, if you've written something to rival SpellJammer, I definitely want copies of it.
Honey, take a step back and really think about what you are asking.
First you want me to drop everything to read a manuscript I may have no interest in. (And you are just one of a dozen other fans who've asked me this question just this week alone.) Which, honestly, is very rude and inconsiderate of you. I have a family to take care of, a business to run, school to attend, an animal shelter to look after, meetings to organize, letters to answer, AND I have to still find time to write my books on top of that. I'm busy non-stop 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. I barely have time to read books I WANT to read.
Second, you didn't do your research. You read an interview with me, where I mentioned that I had just watched Harry Potter and called it a favorite movie. I did say that, I remember the interview, and I also mentioned how it was unusual for me to like fantasy movies, because I'm NOT a fan of fantasy, and Harry Potter isn't even real fantasy, it's more horror for kids than actual fantasy.
Can you even understand why I am saying this to you?
I say this because I'm worried about you. I really am. See, you are one of those writers with hopes and dreams and you are going to reach for the stars and write a bestselling novel, and you have a chance of doing great things, because you are on the right train, you are just on the wrong track heading in the wrong direction.
I'm not trying to turn you off from writing, but I am trying to tell you that you are in the wrong place. You are going about it all wrong. I'm not the one you want to be promoting your manuscript to. Okay? Even if I did read it and tell you it was great and wonderful and all that, what good would it do you? I'm not the one who's going to publish it. So getting my opinion does nothing to advance your career goals at all. My opinion doesn't matter. When it comes time for you to send this thing out to a publisher, my opinion ain't gonna mean shit.
Are you going to run to a publisher next and say "EelKat loved my book, so you better publish it!"
That ain't going to get you very far, let me tell you that! I have Autism and Schizophrenia. I wear a cape every day. I wear wedding gowns to go shopping at WalMart. I drive a car with 2.5million marbles glued to it. I live under a tarp. I have 15 cats. I walk around town with a pet pigeon sitting on my head. I'm the Salvador Dali of the 21century writing community and there are a lot of people out there who think I'm a crazy loon and if you start referencing me as liking your book, well, that may just have them slamming the door in your face before you even get close to the door! You really might want to think twice about using me as a recommendation.
Okay, sure, if you are writing underground, grind-house, splatter punk, sex-filled, satire horror feast stories, than yeah, a recommendation from me probably will help you out. But the only places that publish that genre are underground Indie Press. Mass-Market Traditional House Publishers will laugh you out of the water you start boasting a recommendation from a grind-house author.
But that's not the part that's troubling me.
The thing that worries me is, if you missed the mark this far in finding a corresponding author (one who writes the same genre as you) to critique your book, than what are you going to do when it comes time to submit to publishers? Are you just going to randomly toss your manuscript at every publisher under the sun, or are you going to dig deep, read the guidelines and find the one that actually publishes the same type of story your wrote?
Can you see my concern here?
It is VERY important that when you reach the point of submitting to a publisher, that you not annoy them. Publishers get majorly pissed off if they only publish Westerns and you send them Romance. A Sci-Fi publisher doesn't want Fantasy, unless they say they do. A Christian Romance publisher doesn't want Erotica. You got to know who you are dealing with and send the right manuscript to the right publisher. You don't want to be that author who sends their second manuscript out and gets rejected because-
"Oh I remember this guy. He's the one who sent us that Elf Wizard Epic Fantasy novel last year. Good stuff, the guy's got talent. Pity we don't publish fiction. Don't even bother opening that one. Just toss it in the shredder, no need to waste our time on authors who don't read the guidelines. No reason to think he read them this time if he didn't last time."
You want to get published, right?
Well, to get published you got to make sure your manuscript moves up the ladder of editors until it lands in the hands of the publisher who owns the joint. And you can't do that if you going around sending your manuscript out all willy nilly to anybody who'll read it. You got to do the leg work and figure out who the correct person to get this thing to is. And that person is going to be the Acquisitions-Editor of the publishing house which publishes books of the same genre you write.
And let me add one final thought on "celebrity recomendations" for your book (as that seems to be what you are after here). There was once a guy who self-published a book, and put on the cover "Recommended by Oprah", thinking that he was safe because he was a nobody and Oprah would never find out. He was wrong. Oprah did find out and sued his ass big time, as any person who is misrepresented by the media should. (Yes, if you publish a book you are "the media" now.)
Know too that even if a celebrity author DOES read and critic your manuscript, know that whatever they say in the critic, good or bad, is between you and the author. You CANNOT copy parts of it and use it as a "blurb" on your book cover! In order to use a blurb on your cover from a celebrity, you have to pay them part of your royalties and have signed release forms saying they gave their consent to be quoted (for a fee.)
So, just a warning: Never, ever, ever go around saying "So and so read my book!" unless So and so gave you express permission to say so.
No. It's not. You never asked me to be your mentor. You asked me to provide you with manuscript reading services. You specifically used the phrase manuscript reading services in your question to me. I am merely answering the question you asked. Had you asked about mentors I would have given you my two cents on mentors and told you if I did or did not offer mentor services. But that is not what you asked. You asked specifically for me to provide a manuscript reading service to you and as I do not offer a manuscript reading service I therefor told you as much and than detailed to you why I don't offer manuscript reading services. You asked. I answered. If you had wanted to know about mentors you should have asked about mentors not manuscript reading services.
If you was to type manuscript reading service in Craigslist you should come up with at least a few local editors who have a manuscript reading service listed. They will more likely call themselves either a Copy Editor or an Editor-for-hire, but some will use the term manuscript reading service as well.
If you don't see any listed, than you could always place an add on Craigslist saying: "WANTED: Manuscript reading services for my new manuscript" Be sure to include in the listing a 1 - 3 paragraph summary of the book and list hour many pages, it's genre, etc.
I'm not sure the phrase manuscript reading service is actually the best search term though. I would think you'd have better luck if you tried "editor". See I just searched for manuscript reading service and no results came up. But than I searched again using editor and got a whole page full of results.
I suppose the other thing you could do is to print up flyers "WANTED: Manuscript reading services for my new manuscript" same as the listing request, hang them up in libraries and colleges. Maybe an English student will help you out.
Maybe. If it qualifies to fit our submission guidelines, which is doubtful really, I mean, seriously, have you ever READ our submission guidelines? Excuse me while I go laugh myself silly. A snowball has a better chance in hell that you have meeting our submission guidelines.
Sure. I can do that. I may even put a page on my website to feature an interview with you, if you'd like, if the book is one I feel I'd recommend that is.
I have a free book review service that I offer. I get a lot of books though and only have time to read about 4% of the books received, and only review about 1 in every 10 books I read (I have to really fall head over heals in love with one of your male characters before I'll write a review, and I'm more likely to review a sci-fi than any other genre - jut a heads up on that. Read Retief, Kieth Laumer, Douglas Adams, James Blish, SpellJammer - that's the type of book I'm most likely to write a 5 star review for - tougne jamed firmly in check satire in spaaaaaaaace.)
So I can't guarantee anything, but you can send your PAPERBACK copy to me (I DO NOT read e-books, remember, I'm the same writer who wrote "If your book is published ONLY as an e-Book, than you haven't published a book at all and have no right to call yourself an author.").
If you'd like me to CONSIDER your book for possible (yet highly improbable) review, see my book review page for more information.
Review or no review your book will be cataloged and spend the rest of it's life happily shelved in The Twighlight Manor Library as part of it's permanent collection. The goal of The Twighlight Manor Library is to have on it's shelves a hard copy of every book ever written, so yeah, if you got a hardcover or paperback book out there (any genre, fiction or non-fiction) and you want to guarantee it gets cataloged in our library, than send it along. All books catalouged in our library get cross catalouged in the online database of public library collections (LibraryThing) so once one library has a book on their shelves every other library on the planet has a way to find it too.
How To Read In Public
Manuscript Reading Service or Will you read my manuscript?
You Stole My Idea!