I’ve posted about this before, but I am so appreciative of writers who are willing to give other writers a leg up. Whether it’s reading and giving feedback on an essay, connecting people to editors/agents, or just demystifying the whole publishing process – it’s just NICE. And it’s actually not all that rare, if you reach out to people.
If there is a writer whose work you really connect with, I definitely recommend asking for feedback on your work, and ask what their rates are. Chloe Caldwell, who I am now proud to call one of my good friends, wrote a book called Legs Get Led Astray. I read this book two summers ago and it totally kicked my ass in the best ways possible. I had never read such shameless and beautiful writing, especially by someone so young. I emailed her and she responded in such an open friendly manner that I decided to ask her to read some of my work, and offered to pay her. Thankfully, she accepted and she gave me the BEST FUCKING FEEDBACK EVER. Four of the five essays I’ve published, including one on The Rumpus, another that’s going to be on Salon.com, and Good Men Project are all essays she offered pivotal feedback on. I can definitely say that her guidance pushed the essays in much more courageous and interesting directions than they were originally. I can’t say enough good things about her editing skills. She still offers this service via PayPal on her website, and her rates are really cheap, considering what she has to offer.
I’ve also had great results from talking to other writers in the community. Writers who are in your community want to be part of a vibrant, well-connected writing community, so they are definitely wanting to nurture that by helping new writers out.