Writing Books/work read
One thing that stuck in my mind regarding your reply was your rule "Never pay to have your work read"
Sounds good to me. But I was wondering if there was something about these people who will read your work that I should know about?
Yeah, I have been busy trying to add more material to my work.
Good to hear from you, my friend.
"But I was wondering if there was something about these people who will read your work that I should know about?"
As a professional, your goal is to sell your work; to be paid. You are not writing to pay others, are you?
1) Agents: Agents collect a 10-20% commission on the sales they make for you. You want them motivated to make the sale. If they are making their living off of reading fees, they are not busy selling your work. They will explain to you that it costs money to run an agency: telephone, fax, mail, comp lunches, air and travel time, etc. They will tell you that you are an unproven entity on the market and not yet a sure investment, so, they feel justified in taking a few hundred dollars up front to read and market your work. If an agent has faith in her abilities to choose good manuscripts for the market she represents, and if your manuscript actually stands a chance of selling, why is she charging you? She is charging because she has taken on more than she can handle (and must pay readers to do her job for her), or because she knows your work doesn't stand a chance in her market, but you might pay her a fee to cover a few lunches and a car payment. In truth, if the agent has faith in her work and your work, she will make the sale and deduct expenses and commissions as per your contract.
Independent editors: Editors who charge reading fees are out and out crooks, and they often work the other end of a fee charging literary agency taking and giving kick-backs to agents. I have been in the business as an independent editor for thirty years and never charged a reading fee. I always offer to read ten page samples for free and tell the author what kinds of editing services I feel they require. After that point, I charge for everything! Don't feel sorry for me - I have more business than I know what to do with!