I’ve received a couple of messages asking why I’m not sending my manuscript to other to read. The answer breaks down like this:
1. I simply can’t afford to print and mail the thing willy-nilly. My home printer runs at a cost of about $0.06/page; at a total page count of 225 pages, that works out to $13.50 per completed ms. Add to that postage of about $26 per round trip, including return postage. So, if I printed three copies so that 3 people could be reading at any given time, and mailed them to all fifteen people who have stated they want to read it, I would be looking at out-of-pocket expenses of about $430, all without any exposure to the agents or editors that could put it into print.
2. Per advice from an agent I spoke to, the fewer copies floating around, the better. As there may very well be future revisions made, copies “floating about” will not contain these revisions, and the fewer different versions of a ms you have, the better off you are when it comes to things like reprint and paperback rights sales.
I’m not worried someone’s going to “steal my idea”, or avoiding criticism on the work. I’m simply doing what is best to maximize my potential for sale. I will be printing off one copy to be bound and shown to a very small circle of people for input, but I’m afraid the majority of people saying “hey, I wanna read that” is just gonna have to wait till it sells 😉 (trying to think positive here)
That being said, the people who do end up reading it in manuscript form will be the ones who have shown me the ability to offer real insight and critique, and give well-thought-out explanations for what they feel works and doesn’t work. I appreciate very much everyone who raves and tells me something is good (who doesn’t?) but I don’t need cheerleaders; I need people to tell me WHY they like it, or don’t like it. While I’m tickled to death to hear “I liked it, it was good” it doesn’t help me fix what might be wrong, or point out strong points to editors or agents.
Hope no one gets their feelings hurt by this; it’s just how it is.