I always vowed I wouldn’t be unapproachable like those high falutin’ authors I admired when I was just starting out!

Those authors who you just couldn’t ask for advice because they were way up high on some mountain top and wouldn’t descend long enough to even say, “Boo.”

The queries come in fits and starts.

One week there’ll be lots, other weeks there’ll be none, and I always always always try to answer them with patience and respect, reminding myself of the struggles I went through when I was just starting out and desperate for any of these published authors whom I admired so much, to deign to notice me.

I know some authors who’ve developed form letters they just cut and paste.

I used to think it was callous of them.

They said, “No, these people don’t want to do the work. To develop their writing so it sparkles. To research which publisher is suitable to their particular style. They just want a ‘magic pill’ they can swallow to be published!”

And I’m beginning to think they’re right.

And yet I still haven’t done made a form letter yet.

But I do have a standard reply.

Basically I point them towards the articles I’ve written on my website! One of them is even called “How to get Published!” for goodness sakes!

Most of the time they’ve never bothered to check them out!

And then I point them to the links on my website, one of the categories of which is ‘Writing Related Links’ basically links on how to get published!

People seem to think that I can wave some sort of wand and get them published!

Geez, if I could do that, don’t you think I’d use it myself???

(Actually no, I wouldn’t. Because at this point it’s not actually about getting published it’s about contributing to the lexicon of wisdom out there–as pompous as that might sound!)

But anyway, that’s not what bothers me!

The other day this self-published author emailed me.

I remember seeing her at some Islamic event! She’d gone all out! Had even ordered a mascot made of one of her story characters! Quite impressive!

She’s sold lots of books. She’s done quite well for herself.

But she emails me and says that it costs so much! And her audience is limited, so she wants to get a publisher.

What do I do? I spend a good amount of time composing a reasonable reply. I even check out her publishing website, give her some compliments on her website (which is very nice by the way), and give her the most sincere advice that I can, that she writes books teaching kids how to pray and fast and whatever as a Muslim, she doesn’t write for mainstream markets and if she wants to write for mainstream markets she’s going to have to learn the process. And I tell her all this as respectfully as I can.

And then what?




Never heard from her again.

Not even a thank you.

I know, I know, it must sound petty to expect at least a ‘thank you’ for the time it took for me to give her real advice. And maybe she didn’t realize that I worked hard to help her.

But it would have been nice.

It’s not the first time it’s happened. It’s about the hundredth.

One time a wannabe writer from England asked me to critique her story. I gave her an honest critique. Never heard back. No thank you.

I think I’m going to have to do something about it.

Even if that means I’m less approachable.