I like to hear from you and I try, not always successfully, to answer you within one week. But there are one or two guidelines that might be useful.
Don’t, please, send me your finished book manuscript and ask me to read it. That sounds very unfriendly of me, so let me explain. I earn a living devising stories and that means making up plots. If I read your unpublished manuscript and then, two or three years later, produce a similar plot, or a plot twist, or even a similar character, then you, or someone like you, is going to sue me. It has happened (not to me, but to others), so if I get an unsolicited manuscript then I put it straight in the bin unless the writer has sent me a stamped and addressed envelope in which case I return the manuscript, unread, by the next post. When your book is published, I will buy it and joyfully read it, but not until then. Sorry, blame the lawyers. Will I help you find an agent or publisher for your book? Yes. I just won’t read it before it’s published.
For the same reason – don’t please send me ideas for a book. I cannot use your ideas for a Sharpe book for the same reason that I can’t read your manuscripts. Lawyers. Abraham Lincoln observed that one lawyer in a small town starved, two got fat.
A lot of people want books signed. I like to do this, but get very upset if the book or books arrive without any return postage. And please remember, the early Sharpe books (especially) are now very valuable. You send books at your own risk! Insure them! It might be better to look at the diary section of this website and see whether I’m giving a talk at a place near you sometime soon. Bookshops do not mind if you turn up with a carrier bag of books to be signed (of course, they much prefer you to buy the books from their shop).
And no. I do not have spare first editions of Sharpe’s Sword or Sharpe’s Company or any other book. I wish I did.
This all sounds a bit unfriendly and is not meant to be. I really do like to hear from you, so use the button and talk to us!