Some days, I find myself virtually picking my jaw up off the floor after reading emails from authors and freelance writers. Aside from the really, really awful messages we post in World’s Worst Query Letters and Book Proposals, I often have long back-and-forth discussions with authors and writers via email, or through our online portal that we use to communicate with our BookLocker authors.
This week’s humdinger was from a new author who has not yet signed up at BookLocker. In fact, she hasn’t even submitted a manuscript for consideration.
She contacted me using our “Ask Angela” form to ask me to put her on a writing schedule so that she can finish her manuscript by summer. Yes, an actual adult reached out to a stranger to ask that stranger to put that adult on a schedule because, apparently, that person doesn’t own a calendar, doesn’t have a reminder option on her phone, and doesn’t have any sticky notes to put on her bathroom mirror.
I understand that many people need schedules and reminders to keep them on track with their writing goals. But, asking someone else to hold you accountable for your own actions (or lack thereof) is extremely unprofessional. In fact, it’s downright childish.
I’ve seen my fair share of ridiculous requests over the years but that one really took the cake.
Other inappropriate requests that authors send to publishers:
Asking your publisher to explain the income tax code to you. (People who are not tax professionals can’t legally give you tax advice.)
Asking for free services because you “can’t afford them.”
Lying about being very ill in an attempt to get the publisher to rush your book to market. (A quick check on social media tells us if an author is lying or not.)
Asking your publisher to re-send your email receipts because you “lost yours.” (That means the author, a business person, didn’t save them to begin with, which is extremely unprofessional.)
Asking the publisher to post fake reviews because, “We’ll both make more money!”
Asking the publisher to ignore copyright infringement because, “Nobody will notice.”
Asking the publisher to ignore libel because, “Nobody will sue.”
Complaining that the publisher did not immediately respond to a message sent by the author after midnight.
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