Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sorry, I can't critique your manuscript

I get asked all the time if I'll look at people's manuscripts and offer an opinion. Another such request just showed up in my email box. Here's what I had to say:

I'm afraid the answer is no, for a couple of reasons. First, because my lawyer has advised me not to read unpublished manuscripts, except in very narrow circumstances, lest someday I publish something of my own that bears even a passing resemblance to something I've been shown, and the person who showed it to me decides to take legal action. It's just not worth the risk, he says, and he's probably right. :)

And second because people pay good money to have me critique manuscripts -- in July, I was writer-in-residence at the Odyssey workshop, this month I'm teaching SF writing at the Banff Centre in Alberta, and next month I start a two-month stint as Writer-in-Residence at the Kitchener (Ontario) Public Library. It's unfair to those people (the Odyssey students, the Banff students, and the Kitchener Public Library) who have paid me to critique manuscripts for me to also do freebies on the side -- and, no, I'm not looking for money from you; I've simply got way to many manuscripts to critique as is for those three gigs (at total of 50 between them) that I can't take on any more.

So -- sorry! But best of luck!


At September 11, 2006 4:03 PM , Blogger E.Jim Shannon said...

Hi Rob,

When a writer submits a ms for publication consideration(blinks)to the Robert J Sawyer imprint, who reads the ms? You or someone else at Robert J Sawyer. It was not clear in the post if the writer had a short story or a larger work for submission.

When in doubt follow the submission guidelines. That said, the request in question might have been filed under the "Of all the nerve." Folder. :-)

Seriously though, I can't find the Robert J Sawyer submission guidelines you posted awhile back in your blog archives. Would you be so kind as to repost them again please?



At September 11, 2006 10:34 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

The document under discussion was NOT a submssion to RJS Books, Jim -- just someone who wanted a critique.

My submisison guidelines are here.

I read all submissions myself; there is no first reader. And I make all the buying decisions; if I like it, I buy it, and Sharon Fitzhenry (the publisher) very kindly cuts the cheque. :)

At September 12, 2006 2:50 AM , Blogger E.Jim Shannon said...

Thanks for the info Rob.


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