I cannot read your writing.

A man shrugging.I’m sorry, but I cannot read your writing.  Actually, scratch that, I do not want to read your writing.  Though before you go away angry, let me assure you that this has nothing to do with your work.  Or you, for that matter.  It’s a question of time, feelings and lawsuits.

Let’s start with feelings.  A few years back I acted against my better judgment and read the work of an aspiring crime writer.  It was terrible, and though I tried my best to couch my distaste in gentle language, I still received an email from the man saying I was the only writer who had ever hurt his feelings.  He then proceeded to have various bitter tirades on social media about how mean writers are.  There may be some truth to that, but not in this particular case.

It’s not my job to teach others how to develop the thick skin necessary to succeed in this business.  It has to be done, but it has to be done alone.  I have no part in that process.  Whoever you are out there, I’m sure you’ll get where you need to get on your own.

Then there’s time.  I simply don’t have time to read all the stuff people ask me to read.  I don’t even have time for all the things I have to read.  I just don’t.  Again, it’s nothing personal.  It’s either read someone’s writing or do my own work.  I must choose the latter.

Finally, the biggie: lawsuits.  Even though idea theft is exceedingly rare, if not nonexistent, many aspiring authors think their brilliant concepts are unique and prime targets for robbery.  They aren’t, but that doesn’t stop people from suing authors who may one day write something that’s vaguely similar to a piece they read.  If I don’t have time to read, I certainly don’t have time for court appearances.

I’m sure you’re a very good writer and your ideas are great and you’ll be a tremendous success.  Let’s leave it at that.