The Reluctant Expert (Being a published author means you can help anyone publish a book... right?)

Having stumbled home from a lovely evening of good wine and live jazz on the Market Street quad, I'm trying to focus my eyes for a bit of catch up reading and just had to pass on the best industry article I've read this week:The Reluctant Expert: Being a published author means you can help anyone publish a book... right? by Steve Weinberg appeared in Publishers Weekly.
When my telephone rings, I almost always check the caller ID before I answer. If the number and name look unfamiliar, I assume that the caller is probably (a) a prison inmate, or (b) a would-be author seeking advice about publishing a book. Why that pairing? As an investigative reporter, I write frequently about malfunctions of the criminal justice system. Having gained a reputation among convicts and their families as a journalist who might look into claims of innocence, I receive numerous calls from desperate people. Most inmates and their loved ones are grateful if I do nothing more than listen. Wannabe authors, on the other hand, expect a great deal and are rarely appreciative when I offer candid advice. All things considered, I’d rather hear from serial killers.

Check it out.


Suzan Harden said…
Poor Mr. Weinberg. But this type of stuff happens no matter what profession you're in.
Esp. if you happen to be an attorney and know any writers, right Suzan? ;)

Most of the hopeful writers I meet are very respectful of my time and wouldn't dream of foisting their manuscripts on me. But the exceptions do show up at book signings, where they frequently drive off paying customers (these folks rarely buy a book, unless it's with a quid pro quo in mind) and carry on about their Loch Ness monster/magic crystal/religious experience memoir. A rare few are seriously outraged to learn there's no quick and easy shortcut to publication and that the published author by no means feels compelled to hand carry their 900-page tome to their editor in NYC (who doesn't even publishers books of that type).

Thank goodness (because there aren't enough restraining orders in the world) these folks are the exception and I get to meet so many smart, sensitive, and talented people on the same quest.

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