Monday 6 December 2010

You’d Pay A Plumber by Lynne Garner

I’ve been very lucky with my writing career and had a number of books published. I now find myself in the position where people ask me questions about getting published, how to contact editors etc. etc. So much so that I’ve decided to run courses and one-to-one coaching sessions aimed at aspiring authors trying to break into the industry. A venue has been booked and I am beginning to advertise these courses.
It was for this reason I attended a local networking group. I gave my one-minute ‘elevator’ speech and sat down hoping I’d made the right impression and given the relevant details. When the meeting concluded a woman I know from a previous life came over to talk to me. She told me she had a close friend who had written a book but had not managed to get it published. “What should he do?” Without thinking I started with the “well he should research other books already published in the same genre, who had published them, why is his book different?” Then the little voice inside my head shouted, “STOP! Why are you here? Get this guy to come to your classes, don’t give away all your knowledge for free.”
At first I felt a little guilty that I wanted to gain financially and was asking aspiring authors to pay for my time and knowledge. However I attended my local monthly craft club just last week and met a new member. She is in the last year of her degree studies and is thinking about writing for a living. As we sat talking I found myself offering hints and tips on how to get started. At the end of the night we swapped cards and as she wrapped her scarf around her neck she said, “I should have paid for all the help you gave tonight, thank you.” So now I don’t feel so guilty.
It has taken me ten years to get to where I am today in my writing career. I’ve made many a mistake, been educated by some wonderful editors and paid to attend classes. So why do people assume I should give this knowledge away for free? If the car were playing up they’d take it to a garage and pay for the engineers expertise. If the boiler were making odd noises they’d call a plumber and pay them.
So although I’m more than happy to give away a few hints and tips, listen to how they’re making the same mistakes I did, sympathise with a lack of success etc. etc. I no longer feel guilty about selling the idea of attending one of my courses or one-to-one coaching sessions. You never know in ten years time they’ll be helping the next generation of authors in the same way and struggling with the idea of charging for their expertise and knowledge.
So now for the guiltless plug.
Interested? Then email me at


Nicola Morgan said...

Lynne - I'm doing the same! I will happily plug yours (as long as they're not in the same town at the same time!) Where are your classes being run? Mine are Edinburgh, mostly. Maybe we can help each other.

Julie P said...

Of course you should be paid. Writing is a business just as much as being a plumber or a mechanic as you so rightly say. I hope the workshops go well, both yours and Nicola's.


Leila said...

Good luck! I have done a little bit of this, and people are happy to pay, I find. If they're not, of course, they just won't come :)

Savita Kalhan said...

Of course you should be paid for your expertise! I wish you lots of luck!

Jan Markley said...

Good point! We have years worth of knowledge and experience, and a paid class is a great way to pass that along. I teach a couple of classes myself.