So, I'm working on a new project right now that has nothing to do with the Olivia Chronicles. Book 3, tentatively titled Zamani, is out to a few readers, and I wanted to get a new reader's input. So, I turned to Goodreads to see who might volunteer.
I got two responses. One is from an individual who seems to be a recent high school graduate with a blog. That blog has a whole bunch of non-working links on it that are supposed to take me to writing samples from this young person whose tagline on GR is something about "just another guy trying to make it as a writer."
The other response was literally from someone wearing bunny ears in her profile picture. I went to this individual's website to see their background and found that after getting a master's in business that she decided to become a beta reader and editor.
Both of these darlings wanted me to pay them for their reading. And, I have to say that had either of them had working writing samples up and if either site showed that they are experienced critical readers, I might have been willing to give them a try. The facts that this is the third book in the series, that I have links to my websites on my profile, and that they didn't express any interest in the actual series all put me off.
But, it got me wondering--how many people jump at the chance to pay these individuals to mentor them? There are beta-reading and editing services all over the Internet that contain no information about who you're actually working with. Now, I didn't just fall off the newspaper cart; I know better than to pay an anonymous service for squat (I also know I can go to the EFA website and find many qualified and well-trained editors and that there are incredibly talented and qualified developmental editors, copy editors, line editors, and proofreaders out there).
To think that these folks with no experience are likely getting paid by other hopeless souls makes me cringe. I had a writer email me from my Olivia Chronicles page awhile back, saying she has a story to tell and wanted my help. The email was mostly emoticons, but I was able to decipher it and emailed her back asking her to let me know what, exactly, she wanted help with. Editing? Developing an outline? Character development? Ghost writing? Proofreading? I heard nothing back at all.
This saddens me; the relationships I have with writers are pretty special to me. None of us produce as much as we should, but we do what we can to help each other out at the cost of a swap, usually (and we take IOUs). I hope that we keep that up; I know that some of you aren't producing lately due to day jobs and the like, but know that I'm here for you--even if you need me to help you dust off that manuscript you put down because someone told you it wasn't worth working on and give you a swift kick in the rear.
Now, blogging got the fingers warmed up and the gears turning, so I'm off to go kick myself in the rear on this new project. No vampires, no supernatural anything (although there is ghost story lurking back there for a call from Gus Gus Press for an anthology they are doing--check it out here). Oh, and I also have some revisions to do on the piece that just got rejected before I can send it out. And a book review. And the day job starts back tomorrow.