It’s a request so common that many authors have a FAQ devoted to it: “I have an idea for a book. What if I told you my idea and then you wrote it?” My book isn’t even out yet, and I’ve already been approached by a couple of people with this proposal, offering to split the profits 50/50.
First of all: 50-50? Putting the words on the page is at least 80% of the work!
Second of all: Just no. Coming up with the ideas is the fun part for most of us, including me, and we’re not looking to outsource that particular aspect of the job.
Still, the craft of writing and the business of publishing have a lot of learning around them, and no one is born knowing it all. Every successful writer has been a clueless newbie at some point, needing to rely on others to show them the way. In fact, I am still very new to all this and seek out the advice of more experienced writers all the time. I am grateful beyond belief when they spare a minute from their busy lives to help me.
If you’re a successful person in any industry or hobby, though, it’s not possible to help everyone. Steven Pressfield wrote a piece this week on how he draws the line at what he calls “clueless asks.” These would be questions from rude people, or those asking for information that is easily findable by looking for it yourself.
My husband, who is a software engineer, has a T-shirt that reads, “No, I won’t fix your computer.” The spoiler is that he totally will fix your computer as long as you are not a jerk about it. I think the same is probably true for writers. We do like to help each other out, even beginners, because we’ve all needed that help at some point in our careers.
I’m still not going to write your whole book for you, though. That kind of fun I am selfishly keeping for myself!