78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published

Read Pat Walsh’s entertaining writing book this week and would recommend it to anyone serious about wanting to be published. The second part of the long title is “and 14 Reasons Why it Just Might” so it’s not as depressing as it sounds.

I agreed with almost everything Walsh said (#3: “You do not revise your book or will not revise it again) and picked up a few valuable tips (#12: “You do not realize that nobody cares”) but had one little question mark after #58 (“You Did Not Go to Published Authors”).

Okay I’ll just say I think he’s wrong on this one. Walsh claims that most published authors, except the top tier of Roberts/King/Rowling types, would be happy to read a few pages by a writer unknown to them and even happier to recommend them to their agent if the author likes the pages. I just don’t think so, Pat.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would bet most writers would not like unpublished strangers asking them for favors. Or even unpublished acquaintances. We have quite a few published authors in my local writer’s group, and I would never ever ask them to read my work. I would consider it an imposition. I would feel so rude. I would call it pushy. And I KNOW them.

Someone I don’t know? Never.

Perhaps I am just shy. But I don’t think that’s it. I did have one experience where my friend knew a published author. She lived in Michigan, she’d had two historical romances published, she was a newish midlist author. And my friend swore she was the sweetest, nicest woman in the world and would LOVE to look at my pages. I demurred. My friend persisted. I finally forked over the pages.

I soon received an email from the author along the lines of “Thank you for trusting me with your work, but I have not read it and will be returning it to Friend unopened. My agent advises me not to read any unpublished work because of lawsuits brought against published authors who read unpublished work and then are accused of stealing ideas. Not that you would do that! Good luck with your work.”

My non-writer friend was embarrassed and amazed, but I wasn’t. I got it. In fact, I decided right then that when I was published, I’d pursue the same policy. I read student writing for a living, and I must tell you that it is a JOB. I am paid well for it, so I do it with pleasure. Or, more often, grim determination. But just to go to work for free? No. In my free time, I want to write. As do, I’m sure, published authors.

Sorry Pat. Loved your book but had to take exception to that one tiny little part of it…


  1. Interesting perspective. I read this book a few years ago and would NEVER have asked an author to read my stuff for advice, but he advised it and so I did it and I actually had two authors read my drafted novel. One actually has almost become a mentor to me, she gave me beautiful detailed feedback and even looked at it again once I revised it. My book is 100% better thanks to her insight so I appreciate this author’s recommendation though I can see the other side of the argument of not doing this.


  2. Aisha, I found this book on your website! Since you said it was your fave, I checked it out. And thanks for the other side of #58. So encouraging to new writers.


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