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View Full Version : Contacting an author, anybody ever try it?



Dpsi4
07-20-2006, 03:18 AM
Has anybody here ever tried submitting a sample of their writing to a published author in hopes of getting a referral to an agent, editor, or at least an endorsement they can put in their next query letter? What happened? A form reply? A restraining order? A phone call?

stephblake24
07-20-2006, 03:22 AM
Nope, but I have thanked an author via email for info on their site, which was helpful to me and opened up a dialog about whether I should attend a conference or not. They DO NOT like it when you ask them to HELP you get published.

Medievalist
07-20-2006, 03:49 AM
Has anybody here ever tried submitting a sample of their writing to a published author in hopes of getting a referral to an agent, editor, or at least an endorsement they can put in their next query letter? What happened? A form reply? A restraining order? A phone call?

Please, no, not ever, don't do this, I beg you.

Authors are deluged with chumps doing this, and it's completely inappropriate, it's socially awkward for the author, and it makes you look like a lout.

If an author asks to see something of yours, sure, but don't suggest it, or hint or anything else.

No. Not. Never.

Christine N.
07-20-2006, 04:52 AM
This is the worst thing you can do. No, sorry, see the talking back to agents thread for that. LOL.

Seriously, never ever EVER do this. You can write and say how much their work inspires you, or how much you liked their lastest novel. Once you get a contract, you can ask them to read it and blurb it for the cover.

And most authors won't read uncontracted stuff anyway, for legal reason. I know of at least one who doesn't want to take a chance on stealing your idea by accident, thinking it was her own. Her lawyer has advised her never to read others stuff.

So, no.

jchines
07-20-2006, 06:00 AM
One way to do this might be to attend a writing workshop run by a professional author or two. They'll read and comment on your stuff, and it gives you a chance to strike up a bit of a dialogue with them.

I've run a few workshops, and never had anyone ask me. (Of course, I'm far from a big name.) But I'd be more willing to consider helping one of my former students than I would a complete stranger...

Branwyn
07-20-2006, 06:17 AM
I had a really great relationship with an author and then I jokingly said in an email--know any good agents? I never heard back from this person.:Shrug:

james1611
07-20-2006, 05:21 PM
Please, no, not ever, don't do this, I beg you.

Authors are deluged with chumps doing this, and it's completely inappropriate, it's socially awkward for the author, and it makes you look like a lout.

If an author asks to see something of yours, sure, but don't suggest it, or hint or anything else.

No. Not. Never.

I will have to disagree on this point.--I would not ask an author for their professional contacts like "who's your agent or can you send this to your editor?"

But I queried several authors for a review of my book and I recieved some polite "I am flattered, but too busy with my own writing right now" --but I also recieved a few "Yes I would be happy to read your book."

I've gotten several to review it and at least one more is on the way. They were happy to do it and at least one of those reviews has led to the books publication.

I had even asked one quite well known author for a review of my book, but he respectfully declined because of his busy schedule right now...but he has continued to correspond with me as a writer and has been very encouraging to me--asking for updates and checking out the new cover now that its being published with Breakneck Books and so forth. I thanked him one time for being willing to keep corresponding with me as a newbie author and he quickly let me know that he thought it was very important and not a waste of his time to do so.

One of the authors that reviewed my book and a fellow breakneck author, had self published his first book and got James Rollins to review his work and provided a blurb and so forth which greatly helped his sales. Now Mr. Rollins reviews all of this person's books and has provided a review of his upcoming Breakneck title as well.

It's a matter of asking and being willing to be polite and accept rejection. But there are authors out there who still are willing to help new authors out with a review.
Please keep in mind that I already had a cover and so forth and sent them a complete trade paperback copy to read; not a manuscript.

Many authors are still flattered that you would ask.

I know this goes against the grain here among A.W. members and their advice...but the proof is in the pudding--I have several nice reviews because I was willing to at least ask--I don't really think you have much to lose by trying, even if no one says yes. A good review can go along way, especially from a published author.

--James (chump I guess--but a chump with reviews!)

JanDarby
07-20-2006, 05:50 PM
I agree that soliciting published authors to read an uncontracted manuscript (contracted ones are a little different, and many authors will only consider requests for a cover blurb that go through their agent) is bad.

If anyone's interested in getting his/her manuscript in front of a published author, for feedback as well as possible referrals (although referrals are HIGHLY unlikely, but feedback and advice and possibly the promise of a future cover blurb are valuable), some writers' groups have been holding ebay auctions to raise money for assorted charitable endeavors, usually writers in a medical or financial crisis (cancer or Hurricane Katrina). Among other writer-related services and autographed books, they offer critiques by published authors, ranging from obscure to bestselling, and ranging in price from a few bucks to a few hundred. I don't know of any that are on ebay right now, but a search, using "critique" would find them when they show up.

JD

katiemac
07-20-2006, 07:21 PM
And most authors won't read uncontracted stuff anyway, for legal reason. I know of at least one who doesn't want to take a chance on stealing your idea by accident, thinking it was her own. Her lawyer has advised her never to read others stuff.

The legal stuff works both ways, too. Not because they fear accidentally stealing your story idea, but for fear of being sued because an unpublished author thought they did. God forbid the author happen to be working on a similiar book or idea at the time--someone's going to cry wolf.

awatkins
07-20-2006, 08:43 PM
No, no, no. Please don't do this. I've had people I've never even heard of track down me down and send samples of their work, asking for comments, suggestions, references, etc. Someone even sent me an entire book-length manuscript one time. I delete everything without even reading it. Most of the time I never even reply.

Know what else? I don't even want to see stuff from people I do know unless I mention it first (and trust me, that rarely happens). Not trying to be nasty; I just don't have the time or inclination.

Christine N.
07-20-2006, 09:45 PM
And agents will NOT be impressed by you stating who liked your book before it's sold. Miss Snark has said this repeatedly... it smacks of amateur. Now a referral from an author to an agent is different.

But it's generally considered bad form to mention any sort of endorsement in your query letters.

Jamesaritchie
07-21-2006, 01:40 AM
Has anybody here ever tried submitting a sample of their writing to a published author in hopes of getting a referral to an agent, editor, or at least an endorsement they can put in their next query letter? What happened? A form reply? A restraining order? A phone call?

Many published writers aren't even allowed to read unpublished writers except under controlled circumstances such as workshops and conferences.

There are simply too many morons out there who ask you to read something, then take you to court for plagiarism.

You don't need teh endorsment of a famous writer, you just need to write someting an agent or editor falls in love with.

ResearchGuy
07-21-2006, 06:40 AM
Has anybody here ever tried submitting a sample of their writing to a published author in hopes of getting a referral to an agent, editor, or at least an endorsement they can put in their next query letter? What happened? A form reply? A restraining order? A phone call?
I made contact with a nationally prominent historian and author, asking if he would look at a manuscript that had come to my attention and about which I was enthusiastic. He gave the ok, the author sent it, he gave a rave comment and sent it to his own agent. However: I knew the historian/author well (professional/employment connection), and knew the subject of the manuscript (a memoir of historical and social significance) would be of interest. (His agent declined to represent the manuscript, but the endorsement was a real shot in the arm.)

Likewise, I contacted a nationally prominent journalist/author, and asked if he would look at the manuscript with a view to a blurb. He gave the ok. I sent a copy. He gave a very positive comment, and will be available for a formal jacket blurb when the manuscript is in galleys (that is still an aspiration -- it is not easy, and at this point an agent has become a major stumbling block). However: I went to high school with that journalist/author -- casual acquaintance long ago, but enough that he welcomed my email and followed up.

Take the anecdotes for what they might be worth.

--Ken

Dpsi4
07-22-2006, 02:08 AM
Thanks, everybody, for your advice.

Mattie123
07-22-2006, 06:56 AM
Hi Everyone!
I have to disagree. Holding back from asking for help if you think it might enhance your project and you truly believe that the Author might be gracious enough to assist you by contacting their Agent or anyone else that might be able to assist you is what networking, blogs, the internet, and all of these sites have in common- Assistance in getting published! Only until we reach out and ask for help can this field of writing improve from it's present day God-like status and become down to earth and realistic. We are only human. I have been in several fields as a 55 y/o female and I have no reservations asking for help from anyone I can in the writing world. I hope people feel that they can approach me for advice and comments anytime they see fit. The only time I will not help them is if I can't and do not know the answer. Some people really think they are big-shots. Being an elder of sorts in this arena, I find that to be a turn-off. True professionals teach their trade to anyone who is interested in learning it and true human beings always acknowledge a question from someone. Only a jerk turns their back on those people who are merely trying to make a living.

cree
07-22-2006, 08:05 AM
I was contacted in this manner once, politely declined, and felt no animosity toward the requestor. I do not consider myself so important as to be unapproachable, and the requestor left me alone afterwards, so what harm was done? None whatsoever. It will have no impact on his career.
There is not so great a divide between published authors and unpublished authors as people may imagine.
My advice is that if you choose to contact, allow the author a graceful exit from your approach, and then honor their wishes if they decline further contact.
And a published author cannot secure you a contract with a pub house. You have to do that one yourself.
Good luck.

james1611
07-22-2006, 08:21 AM
I was contacted in this manner once, politely declined, and felt no animosity toward the requestor. I do not consider myself so important as to be unapproachable, and the requestor left me alone afterwards, so what harm was done? None whatsoever. It will have no impact on his career.
There is not so great a divide between published authors and unpublished authors as people may imagine.
My advice is that if you choose to contact, allow the author a graceful exit from your approach, and then honor their wishes if they decline further contact.
And a published author cannot secure you a contract with a pub house. You have to do that one yourself.
Good luck.

I'm so glad you posted that cree...there is this image that once you get published you are set upon a pedestal and become unapproachable by the unpublished peons.

That's ludicrous...authors published or unpublished have one main difference--a contract!
I would say talent; but many unpublished authors are quite talented and some published ones may not be.

It never hurts to aks. All they can say is no and that shouldn't hurt anyone...but if you ask be polite if you get a refusal. Keep it professional at all times and respectful, not of the god-like published author, but respectful of them as a person.

--James

Jamesaritchie
07-22-2006, 01:03 PM
Hi Everyone!
I have to disagree. Holding back from asking for help if you think it might enhance your project and you truly believe that the Author might be gracious enough to assist you by contacting their Agent or anyone else that might be able to assist you is what networking, blogs, the internet, and all of these sites have in common- Assistance in getting published! Only until we reach out and ask for help can this field of writing improve from it's present day God-like status and become down to earth and realistic. We are only human. I have been in several fields as a 55 y/o female and I have no reservations asking for help from anyone I can in the writing world. I hope people feel that they can approach me for advice and comments anytime they see fit. The only time I will not help them is if I can't and do not know the answer. Some people really think they are big-shots. Being an elder of sorts in this arena, I find that to be a turn-off. True professionals teach their trade to anyone who is interested in learning it and true human beings always acknowledge a question from someone. Only a jerk turns their back on those people who are merely trying to make a living.

It does no harm to ask, particularly if you actually know the writer. But it can be a serious risk for a pro writer to say yes. There are many, many new writers out there who will sue you the moment you write something even remotely similar to whatever it is they had you read.

And it's just silly to think only a jerk turns his back on those people who are merely trying to make a living. There are at least fourteen million wannabe writers out there. Are you saying a professional writer has to say yes to every last one who asks for help? If he did he'd never have time to write anything of his own for the rest of his life.

It isn't just one wannabe who asks. It isn't just ten or twenty or fifty.

You want down to earth and realistic? Down to earth and relaistic is that professional writers are also human, and often have very little spare time, can get sued by anyone at anytime, and often do. And for every hundred writers who ask for help, at least ninety can't be helped. This means you have to pick and choose carefully. And darned few of the pros out there got where they are by asking other pros they didn't know for help. Having a pro offer help is something else. Put yourself in a position of having the pro ask, and you'll probably get more help than you need. But this usually means getting to know teh pro well first, and treating him like a friend, rather than as a ladder.

And you don't really have to ask. Pros offer advice all over the internet, generally answer questions, write how-to books, etc. I don't know any pro who won't answer questions, unless the numbers are simply overwhelming. Pros help on sites such a sthis one, and by advice given and questions answered on their own websites. But if you're counting on a pro reading your manuscript or referring you to his agent because you contacted him and asked him to, well, it probably ain't gonna happen, and it shouldn't.

If you take the time to really get to know a pro writer and let him ask, that's one thing. If you go to places where he's supposed to help and is allowed to help, such as conferences and workshops, that's one thing. But contacting a writer you don't know out of the blue and expecting him to read your manuscript with an eye toward recommending his agent is something else altogether. It's presumptous, shows no regard for the pro writer's time or potential problems, and is really being the jerk.

It isn't at all difficult to get help from pro writers. Most are extremely helpful. But there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and a right time and a right place.

And an agent's time is just as important as a writer's time, and my last agent had a clause in my contract that said I couldn't read manuscripts from anyone except under controlled circumstances and conditions. And I had to be extremely careful about referring anyone to her even then.

Get help from pros, yes, but go about it the right way, and remember you aren't the only writer out there. You're one of fourteen million. So get help in the right way, at the right time, and in the right place. Make friends with a writer, and he'll do the asking.

And, honestly, assuming you have any talent, the only assitance you need to get published is the kind you're already getting from pro writers, if you're paying attention.

cree
07-22-2006, 03:26 PM
For the few published writers out there who get 50 requests a day for help from unpublished writers, there are hundreds and hundreds of published writers who get ...one a year :). So it's not as invasive to the second group. But here are the main reasons I didn't help:
1. There was nothing more I could tell this person they couldn't learn elsewhere - like on a site like this. (as James said above)
2. I didn't want to dedicate the time to the project (It's very time-consuming to do a crit and engage in a relationship of this manner).
3. I didn't want to be the subject of 'name-dropping'. As in, guy writes 100 query letters and sentence one says "So-and-so Author says that my writing is fabulous!"
4. Um, the first four paragraphs weren't good.

It's funny, I have never heard the reason of "I might plagiarize it" used in this situation. I guess it's legit, but published writers partake in crit groups, read everything they can get their hands on, and have as many opportunities to plagiarize or concept-steal as anyone else. In my opinion, the above reasons are more likely to discourage the relationship, not the potential of subconsciously (or intentionally) grabbing someone else's story.

Dpsi4
07-22-2006, 10:44 PM
Well, I've decided to edit the letter I've written before mailing it so that instead of asking this guy to read my manuscript, I'll just mention that I'm a writer too. If he asks, hey-hey, if not, oh well.

The letter was mostly fan mail anyway. :-)

UrsusMinor
07-25-2006, 01:21 AM
Writing notes to authors telling them they appreciated is good karma. (Check out Carolyn See's "Making a Literary Life.") But knocking on their door and asking for help is not, in my opinion, a good idea.

Do nice things and help may be offered. I believe that Buddhists say that the right way to do things is to perform acts "without lust of result." So, you're on the right track now--fan mail, not dropping in and asking for something.

Scrawler
07-25-2006, 03:45 AM
I once read a post (not here) about a woman who was going to submit her self-published book to Oprah. She posted the Dear Oprah letter she 'd written, which to me sounded like whiney begging Oprah to.... read her book and make her famous??

I've written email to authors telling them I've enjoyed their work, but I don't think I'd be comfortable asking for favors.

Silver King
07-25-2006, 06:11 AM
I sent a note to an author once, the only time I've ever done this, and he responded with a warm and gracious letter. During our correspondence, I felt comfortable enough to mention I was writing stories that might be of interest to him. I was afraid he would think this was the only reason I contacted him in the first place, and it wasn't, of course, but how was I to know what he would think?

As it turned out, he was very encouraging and recommended this site. It's been life-altering, and I'm in my middle-ages (hopefully, and not closer to the ending part), and I'll admit to anyone who would listen that he has been the most influential presence in my life thus far.

It can't hurt to let a writer know you appreciate their work. You might develop a friendship, or you might not. It's best not to expect anything in return, though you may be surprised by the results.

Silverhand
08-04-2006, 09:43 PM
I am not an editor...or a professional writer, but from a sheer marketing standpoint, it is ridiculous that an agent would exclude ANY tool they might recieve in a query letter.

I mean seriously, IF a well known author gave a script a rave review...then why wouldn't a professional want to know that? If a legit website reviewed it prior to publication...and the review stood out...why NOT listen? Do agents feel they are so special...and all knowing that they cannot take advice? It really, REALLY irks me to know that an agent would refuse a query if an author was willing to seek a published author's review...and said pub'd author was willing to give it.

The review may not make the work good, but it doesn't reduce the chances either. I mean, isn't it a known fact here on these boards, that agents refuse 98% of all requested manuscripts? This means their gut reactions are wrong 98% of the time. How can listening to what little tools an author may give, HURT those chances anymore?

Saying that, I have sought out many authors for reviews. I have been replied to by each and every one. Some refuse...some accept, but the constant is...I never beg their indulgence. I let them know tha I am a fan, first and foremost, which is why I am contacting them. Then I conclude with the theory of, "when my work is published, would they be willing to review my work. If not, I appreciate their time. Breaking into the business is a bear these days, and any time they could allocate me would be much appreciated."

james1611
08-04-2006, 09:53 PM
I know an author who queried a very very well known author and he agreed to see this particular author's work. Now he reviews all of his novels and provides blurbs.
this brought the famous authors fanbase to the newer author and he gained many sales because of the good review.


It doesn't hurt to ask...

--James

eldragon
08-04-2006, 10:08 PM
I made a feeble attempt to contact two authors I admire, just to ask them to review my book - so I could be a sentence from them on my back cover.

Heard nothing back from either of them - and neither are big named authors.


So much for that.

cree
08-05-2006, 02:36 AM
Which brings up a question -- how critical is to you (as a book-buyer and reader) to see blurbs from other authors? I guess I glance at them, but when there's a flurry of similar, ecstatic endorsements, I just think to myself "4 out of 5 dentists recommend.." UNLESS, I see one from one of my very fave authors, then I do consider it. But that's so rare...

Tish Davidson
08-05-2006, 03:10 AM
Reviewing a published work is a lot different from reviewing a book before it has an agent and a publisher. The OP was asking about submitting maunscript to a published author in the hope of getting a referral to an agent.

cree
08-05-2006, 03:16 AM
Reviewing a published work is a lot different from reviewing a book before it has an agent and a publisher. The OP was asking about submitting maunscript to a published author in the hope of getting a referral to an agent.

Yeah, I was there back in the days of the OP, posting. If you're the hijack police, just give me my ticket and I'll pay.

Sassenach
08-05-2006, 08:27 PM
Well, I DO have an agent. And, my book is being marketed right now. And, I was advised to seek endorsements, so that is what I did.
You can do whatever works best for you. I think that soliciting authors is perfetly fine, and a smart thing to do. None of the authors I emailed were put off. They were all friendly, and very helpful.

I assume you mean your MS is being shopped around...or has it already sold?

Did any of the authors you contacted agree to blurb you?

Tish Davidson
08-05-2006, 09:42 PM
I believe once a book is under contract agents and publishers often ask writers they represent/publish to write a blurb. I'm not familiar with an agent asking the author to get endorsements for a non-contracted manuscript.

eldragon
08-05-2006, 09:46 PM
Once, when I was just starting to look for an agent 3 years ago - I had a prospective agent ask me if I knew any celebrities or had any impressive friends.

Needless to say ..........I didn't.

Years ago I used to know a few - worked around a few - but those days are definitely over.

nathann
08-08-2006, 12:50 AM
I wanted to get my work before a certain agent once, and I found out that one of her biggest clients had an e-mail address on his website. I figured he wouldn't actually want me to send him my work, so I created a website of my own featuring sample chapters in pdf form. I then e-mailed him saying that I was interested in getting my work in front of this particular agent, and told him I had a website set up that featured my work so he could take a look without being legally liable for anything. I asked if he wouldn't mind taking a look at the website, and if he liked the work enough, would he provide me with a recommendation to this particular agent.

I honestly didn't expect him to write back. I figured I'd either be ignored or the worst he could say is "no," right? Well, he wrote back and said he'd try to get around to it if he had time. A week or two later, he wrote back again saying he'd visited the site, read some of the work, and would be glad to provide me a recommendation, but he couldn't promise she'd take me on (obviously). I queried this agent then with his recommendation, but she never contacted me back.

He was always very kind and generous in his e-mails. He basically said that he gets people asking him for help a lot, but for some reason he found me to be a bit more ambitious than most, so he wanted to help. Also, of course, the e-mail was a lot more elegant than what I've written here. He was a decently big name. I see his books in the front of Barnes and Noble often, and he's sold movie rights to three of them, the most recent for about a million. It never hurts to ask, I guess, but I wouldn't really expect much. This one is probably the exception. If they agree to help, you're in a good position, if they don't, then they don't. Who cares? I wouldn't worry about being a nuisance or anything. If he was a friend beforehand, then I would. Even if you ever meet these people, they probably won't remember one e-mail out of who knows how many.

If you do ask for help though, I'd be very specific in the help you request. I wouldn't just ask for "help", and leave it to them to come up with how to help you.

Just thought I'd share.

Sailor Kenshin
08-09-2006, 09:59 PM
Writing notes to authors telling them they appreciated is good karma. (Check out Carolyn See's "Making a Literary Life.") But knocking on their door and asking for help is not, in my opinion, a good idea.

Do nice things and help may be offered. I believe that Buddhists say that the right way to do things is to perform acts "without lust of result." So, you're on the right track now--fan mail, not dropping in and asking for something.

I read that book---and I've done it many times. Often I get back a nice answer.

But with all the LEGAL issues involved in sending manuscripts, or even asking a published author to read one (unless it's a workshop or for-pay deal) I have to agree. NO.

crypticquill
08-18-2006, 11:11 PM
Back in December I emailed an author on a whim - saw his email address on his official Web site, and thought, what the hell, I want to interview him so I'm going going to email him and ask.

(Note, I wanted to interview him due to recent events of which I knew he was familiar and with which he had experience.)

So, I emailed him, and he replied, agreed to an interview, and later told me that he started out freelancing, and gave me the name of his first agent.

Of course, it didn't hurt that he was originally from my home town...and of course, I mentioned that to him, lol.

Vanessa C.
08-24-2006, 08:36 PM
I contacted a very well know Children's Book author last year. He had no problems with answering my questions, giving suggestions and encouraging me to submit and not let the 'rejection blues' get me down. If an author has his personal email address listed on their website, then why wouldn't you contact him. I would, however, never ask them to review or give opinions on my manuscripts. They just simply don't have the time!

jpserra
09-21-2006, 09:23 AM
I know several well known authors and they live their lives pretty much like everyone else; eat cereal, mow the lawn, fight with spouses, etc.

I exchange ideas with a few and we tend to dance around our respective themes and plots, cautiously eyeing each other, then settle down for a pipe or cigar.

It's nice to be in the company of...

Terre
09-24-2006, 12:12 AM
I have written to some well-known authors, but never felt comfortable asking them to read any of my work. I have asked one to read my query letters, for which she graciously has done, and she has given me some encouraging feedback on it on improvments. But even for this, I feel like I'm infriging on her precious time of writing to help me. Like many have said, the worst they can say is no. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

TerreT.

Nickie
09-24-2006, 01:25 AM
Some time ago, when I was still working as a teacher in high school, we invited a bestselling (Belgian) author to our school. It was my task to see to it that the author was received well, etc. This resulted in a nice evening out, where we learnt that we had mutual interests. Since then Luc has become a good friend.

He looked over the manuscript of my first Dutch novel, and gave me some valuable advice.

Since then, I've also come into contact with an English author (Christopher Fowler) and an Irish one (John Connolly) and both of them have seen bits and pieces of my work, and commented on it. Chris has even offered that I get one of his short stories for free - to be published in an anthology. I think that's a great idea, and I'm now contacting other authors I know to get more freebies...

By the way, I've contacted lots of authors (big names and all) and asked them for an interview. You can view them at www.nickiefleming.com I've experienced that most authors are friendly and respond well to polite requests.


Nickie

FolkloreFanatic
09-24-2006, 10:38 AM
Once I praised my favorite author of all time on an Arthurian mailing list without knowing she was a member. She wrote me personally to thank me for the praise, I told her I was writing an Arthurian novel, she wanted to read it when I finished it, and she said she would refer me to her agent if I needed it.

The agent died a couple of years later. Naturally, I have since scrapped and rewritten that novel at least twice (I was a college freshman at the time), but it was nice to know that published authors are human and reachable. ;)

EDIT: I am not suggesting that one approach an author with an uncontracted work, just pointing out that web communication can have a positive effect on your career if you are eloquent and honest.

HorrorWriter
09-26-2006, 10:17 PM
Dpsi4,
Normally, I would say no, but every situation is different. I asked a particular author would he take a look at my first chapter, since a VERY well-known, brand-named author line-edited the first chapter of his novel when he was a newbie. Not only did he agree to read my first chapter at a Book Conference, but he liked what he saw, and referred me to his agent, who I will query after my last revision. It's all about approach. I thought I would never do that, but he just seemed approachable, and he was more than kind, and we remain friends.:D

crypticquill
09-26-2006, 11:52 PM
Speaking of (I had forgotten about this thread) - I just got the newsletter of the author I contacted (I told about it several posts up) - he's going to be in my hometown the weekend of my birthday for this big festival we have every year (not for my birthday, haha, but for whatever reason it's always the weekend of my birthday?!). Perhaps I shall introduce myself in person.

HorrorWriter
09-28-2006, 03:14 AM
Crypticquill,
If I were you, I would take my material with me just in case, and if he's approachable, then why not ask? But it's all if you feel comfortable. The author I approached, I did research on him to see how he got started, so when I read that he approached someone, how could he be mad at me for doing the same, so go for it if you feel the need!:Shrug:

crypticquill
09-28-2006, 05:37 AM
Hmm, I might do it. I'm so goofy sometimes though that it'd probably end up being a laugh fest, lol. At the very least I could ask him if he knows of anyone who would be interested in the kind of memoir I'm writing - that would be OK and not imposing, because, hell, he's from my hometown. He went to highschool with my aunt. His dad and my grandfather worked together in the mines. If he gets mean, I'll just...kick him. :)

Silver King
09-28-2006, 06:16 AM
Crypt, you're practically related to the author. Just say something like, "Oh, I thought you looked familiar. You went to high school with my aunt ___. She talks about you all the time."

If he's still hesitant, you can add, "It really is a small world, you know, because your dad and my grandfather worked together in the mines. Imagine that."

By then, he'll be receptive to conversation, and you can let slip that you're a writer. Before you know it, he'll be begging to read your work.

HorrorWriter
09-28-2006, 05:04 PM
Crypt,
You'll be fine. He's a human being, just like you. Well, at least he may be human...lol. Just kidding. Anyway, just be yourself, and don't force a conversation. Just be relaxed, and see where it goes from there...

TwentyFour
09-29-2006, 07:31 AM
I have written to several of my favorite authors, and always recieved an email in return. Not a form letter email, mind you...an actual one that addressed what I asked or said in the letter.

Most of the writers I wrote to were from small press and university presses so...that may be why I got an answer. I never tried to email Stephen King or anyone that may get millions of emails a year.

TwentyFour
09-29-2006, 07:34 AM
Here is one letter I got from Robert Morgan, and all I did was mention I was working on a book...I did not ask for anything but he offered advice to me anyway.


Many thanks for your letter which Algonquin forwarded on.
> There are many ways to get a novel into print, and many young
writers
> have to try most of them before they succeed.
>The traditional way is to find an agent who can place your book with a
big
>New York publisher. But these days there are many small presses and
>university presses that publish fiction also. Most of my publishing
has
>been with small presses such as Peachtree, LSU, and Algonquin.
>When your novel is finished write letters to half a dozen agents and
half
>a dozen publishers asking if they want to take a look at it. Or you
may go
>ahead and send a sample chapter with that letter.
>You can also try to publish sections in magazines. That sometimes
helps to
>get a novel into print.
>But you may have to try many things before finding an editor, the
right
>editor. Persistence is very important.
>I am sorry to hear about your son. I know that must be painful.
>I wish you luck with the book, and with the coming
>year. Sincerely, Robert Morgan

priceless1
10-03-2006, 09:46 PM
from a sheer marketing standpoint, it is ridiculous that an agent would exclude ANY tool they might recieve in a query letter. I mean seriously, IF a well known author gave a script a rave review...then why wouldn't a professional want to know that? If a legit website reviewed it prior to publication...and the review stood out...why NOT listen?
Eric, it's not that we don't look at blurbs in query letters, we just don't give them a lot of stock. Blurbs aren't a true litmus as to the manuscript's worthiness because they're invariably given as a favor. Whenever someone includes a blurb by some famous author, I gloss over the comment and go for the meat of the query, which is the strength of the writing. That's the only true test of worthiness.

spike
10-06-2006, 06:04 PM
I've never contacted a writer to ask them to look at my work, but 2 out of 4 that I've met have asked me to see it and referred me to her agent (still waiting to hear from the agent).

What I did was NOT ask them for referals or anything else. I just told them what I thought of their work and asked how they got started. 2 helped me, the other 2 just said good luck.

I think its a matter of being tactful and waiting for the author to "make the first move".

stormie
10-16-2006, 07:25 PM
Well, I've decided to edit the letter I've written before mailing it so that instead of asking this guy to read my manuscript, I'll just mention that I'm a writer too. If he asks, hey-hey, if not, oh well.

The letter was mostly fan mail anyway. :-)

Good. Fan mail is wonderful. And you're right: If he asks, great. If not, so be it.

RTH
11-10-2006, 08:23 PM
I've thought of sending bound copies to some of my favorite authors as sort of a "thank you" for inspiring me over the years (no strings attached).

Though I imagine that for those I want reviews from, it's best to approach them through the publisher...

Little Red Barn
11-10-2006, 08:28 PM
I have 3 world famous authors living less than 10 min from my house. One has a child that attends school with mine...Oh I've been tempted, I have their phone numbers, but I really don't have the nerve or want to intrude...

Birol
11-10-2006, 09:34 PM
I will have to disagree on this point.--I would not ask an author for their professional contacts like "who's your agent or can you send this to your editor?"

James, you and Medievalist are talking about two different things. Asking for a blurb or a review is one thing, asking them to read your manuscript and give a referral to their agent or publisher is quite another.

frogponder
11-10-2006, 09:50 PM
I was on a mystery board. An author made a comment
about my last name, that led to a conversation, I advised
her on her pond, she read my manuscript, she gave me
a blurb, bless her heart (she has two series going and is
a busy gal), but, alas, it didn't help the ms. get picked
up or sell.

Arisa81
11-11-2006, 12:30 AM
I don't contact authors to ask them to help me out, but if I am reading something, a book or article and there is contact info I will e-mail them or comment on their blog/site if they have one. I don't do this as much as I would like, but it's something I'd like to do more of. I really enjoy meeting other writers. My writing them doesn't always(if ever) lead to us writing back and forth but I like to do it all the same. I did post on one ladies' blog and she commented on mine which I thought was very nice of her.