Today is Sunday October 16, 2011

Archive for October, 2011

Salon Magazine’s Cary Tennis wrote in the October 13, 2011 issue titled “No, I can’t edit your manuscript for free.”

Cary writes about books for a living, so people think he’d love to critique their prose.

This was just what I needed to be prompted to write a blog entry on the subject. I read a lot, and am a member of  a book club (reading group) that really doesn’t have a name, but we do have a website the Facebook page” href=”″>as well as a Google Blog at .

Among ourselves, we speak of “the bookclub” in referring to our group. We’ve been meeting since 1989, usually on Thursday nights once a month (loosely followed).

In a typical month I get three requests for critiques, reviews, testimonials, etc.  I have  a full-time job, and am amazed to think that authors really think a complete stranger is going to spend a few hours to read their book and to write a review or critique as a courtesy (no compensation).

“Angry Books Writer”  wrote to Cary (Salon’s ‘Advice Columnist’ and wrote, in part,  “But, even if I had the knowledge they seek, why should I use it to benefit them? Reading and editing a manuscript would take a helluva long time. What’s more, it’s work, work that other people get paid for.

Cary advised the exact same strategy that I came up with. If someone asks you to do something you don’t have time to do, charge money for it so that it can realize a higher place in the hierarchy of your “to do” list. I figured out how much I make on an hourly basis, tacked on 30% (remember, this is overtime!) , estimated the time required, and gave a quote.

Nobody that I’ve sent a quote to has chosen to respond, and that is just fine by me. In my off time, I like to work out at the gym, go to salad bars on the weekend, go shopping, improve my house, and take care of my 110 gallon aquarium when I’m not working on web pages or participating in Facebook and Twitter, and reading multiple topics of interest.

If “they” do not feel the expense is justified, why would I feel the time and effort is justified?

When somebody asks you if you would do this kind of work for them, tell the person that you do occasionally take on such projects, in a selective way, and here is your hourly rate. And see what happens.




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This book was given to me by a coworker who is from Wales and is very knowledgeable about the US Civil War. Nathaniel Starbuck is the son of a Boston preacher who finds himself about to be tarred and feathered while in Virginia. He is rescued by a man with a grandiose view of himself, and the Confederacy. Nate finds himself enmeshed in a web of relationships that propels him into the midst of the conflict, and he fights reluctantly, but bravely. In the end, he substantially adds to the successful routing of the Yankees by the brave Southern Freedom Fighters at the battle of Manassas (aka Bull Run). This is the first book in the “Nate Starbuck” series that consists of four books: Rebel, Copperhead, Battle Flag, and Bloody Ground.
I am grateful to Norm for giving me this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, being on my father’s side, deeply rooted in the Old South. In fact, I’m a direct descendant of a Confederate officer. More . . . Louis Hemmi – Houston, Texas 10/1/2011

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