Writers: Don’t Do This

Over the past month, I’ve had one writer query me thinking I’m an agent and, now, someone has contacted me believing I’m a publisher. He started by sending me his author profile, which I ignored at first because I had no idea why he sent it to me.

Then, the guy sent me his profile again, and he added his manuscript as an attachment. I kindly asked him to stop sending me his author profile and his manuscript, as I never asked to see either of them. I thought it would end there.


He asked me what type of work I publish because he has written all kinds of things and would like to send me something. Ugh. I wrote back explaining I’m not a publisher. I’m a freelance editor. Writers hire me to edit their work. I can’t publish it.

Should’ve been the end, right?

Yeah, I thought so too. Not the case.

He replied, admitting he’s being persistent and wanting to know if we could form a partnership. And he signed the e-mail “as friends.”

Okay, I realize he’s telling me he’s not hitting on me, but I’m still creeped out. Who e-mails a stranger and asks if they can be friends? I’ve stopped replying, but he has since sent two more messages, one asking me to call him by his first name and another inquiring about how I became an editor.

Not responding. Not interested. Please. Leave. Me. Alone.

I’m blogging about this because I found it ridiculous that these two writers have put themselves in such an awkward position. Clearly, they haven’t done their homework. Both contacted me using the e-mail address on my editorial website. If they were on my website long enough to get my contact info, why didn’t they notice I’m a freelance editor and not an agent or publisher? Were they rushing? Lazy? I don’t know.

But, it’s a good lesson for everyone. Do your research. Don’t query agents who don’t represent your genre. Know how to query an agent or publisher. Don’t just send them your manuscript or profile. That’s not the way this industry works. Agents and editors expect you to follow the “rules” and their guidelines. Being a rule breaker, in this case, can make you appear amateurish. Not the impression you want to make.

I’m sure this guy is just really naïve about the industry, but his persistence has raised a major red flag for me. Keep that in mind when you’re querying agents and publishers. You don’t want to come across as a stalker. Also not the best impression to make.

Hey, it does happen. Agents and publishers do get stalked. I’ve heard of agents having to leave a conference early because someone was stalking them. Is that really how you think you’ll get published? Arrested, maybe. Published, probably not.

Jumping off of my soapbox now.

Editing availability update: My next substantive/developmental editing slot is July 28. If you’re interested in this slot, contact me at: labelle@labelleseditorialservices.com.

Lynnette Labelle

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