Sunday, May 28, 2017

Will I read your book?

It's flattering, as an author, to be asked if I will read your book or a sample of your writing. I'm lucky in my career to now have been asked that question so many times that it prompted this post.

I wanted to write something that would gently and politely explain my answer:

No, I'm sorry, I can't.

I know that's not what you wanted to read. Consider the publishing date of this blog: May 28, 2017. If you asked me after that date, you know for sure it isn't personal. This post had already been published.

But I don't want to simply say no. First, I want to provide some help-- some alternatives for you. Then, if you care, I want to explain why my answer is no. Because I do value you as a reader or friend.

So, you're looking for advice on getting published or someone to edit or critique your work? Okay, here's what I did. I never went to a published author for help.

1. I sought out friends who were readers. I asked them, because they're my friends, if they would read my work and provide honest feedback. What do you like? What don't you like? What's not working? Take the gloves off, and give me your best.

2. I took creative writing classes all throughout college. If you've never taken a class, consider searching for creative writing classes at your local community college or workshops offered through your library. Call the colleges and libraries and ask if they do this. If they don't offer such programs, ask how you can get one started. Maybe you can organize a group of writers who want to read and critique one another's work.

3. Hire an editor. Do your homework, get references, make sure they are legit-- not someone to proofread, but someone who will critique your story. Lots of people offer services for really cheap. Do some Googling, and take a risk.

From there, repeat the cycle as often as needed: friends who read, workshops/classes to help, and professional editors. Query agents and independent publishers. Repeat until you find an offer you like.

That's what I did.

Okay, so back to: Why is Joe a jerk who won't read my work?

Lots of reasons. and I don't want to be a jerk, so that's why I'm taking time to explain it all here.

1. First, I LOVE reading, just like you. I go to the bookstore, buy two books, read one, go back and buy two more. I have so many wonderful books that I still want to read that I barely have time to get through.

2. I'm not a full-time writer. I'm a full-time professor who works 40+ hours a week, has papers to grade, and already fights hard to find time to do my own writing. I long for the weekends-- where I put in hours and hours of work on my writing. I LOVE writing, and this is when I have to do my work. It's just the way life is, so I really don't have time to do more.

3. Are you already published? Fantastic. I'm more likely to read that-- but it may be MONTHS before I get to it. And yes, if I read it and enjoy it, I will post a nice review. Send me the link to your book. If it looks interesting to me, I'll add it to my wish list.

4. But you're not published and want help? I'm a reader and a writer, not an editor. That's a totally different talent, my friend. I'm simply afraid there is no magical piece of advice that will help. You have to work hard (see the first three steps in the previous section).

5. I actually do offer monthly writing workshops if you live in Central IL. This is my way of giving back-- trying to teach others what I learned that helped me. Please look at ICC's Adult Community Program writing workshops and sign up. Lots of people have asked for my help, but then don't take my workshops. The only reason I offer the workshops is to help others, and it's the best way to manage my time while giving back to the community.

6. Don't live near me? Ask your local library if they'd invite me to be a guest speaker. I'm happy to host talks, workshops, and events-- if it's out-of-town, all I ask is that they cover my travelling expenses. Your local library (or any organization) can learn more about me at and contact me at

So, those are my reasons in nut shell. I do wish you the best of luck. It's a hard business-- but if you love it and never give up, you'll make it.

Thank you for asking, and thank you for reading.

- Joe

About the author:

Joe Chianakas is the author of Rabbit in Red, a horror trilogy. Rabbit in Red won best horror book of 2016. It was picked up by Horror Block and sent to thousands around the world. The second book, Burn the Rabbit, hit #1 on Amazon’s hot new horror releases and is available now. The trilogy concludes this fall with Bury the Rabbit. Follow Joe on Facebook or visit his webpage here

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