Last night I paid $90 USD  for the privilege of having my book query critiqued by a literary agent. No, I didn’t fall for some publishing scam. Thanks to a timely heads up from writing colleague and friend, Ruth Walker, I took part in the Writers for Hope online auction.

Writers for Hope

From their website —

  • Through this fundraiser you can bid on writing work critiques, consultation calls, signed books, and book-related accessories from EIGHTY amazing donors.

  • 100% of the money raised by this event goes directly to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the United States’ largest anti-sexual assault organization. 

  • Every auction item has a starting bid of $10 – the amount of money it costs RAINN to help one survivor through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE).

So my winning bid provides help for NINE people through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. I feel super good about that and here’s why:

Sexual assault infographic


The ripple effects of sexual assault never completely dissipate. Those ripples touch all of us, even those who are not sexual assault victims.

It may be the reason your co-worker quietly changed departments. Or the reason your friend’s daughter dropped out of college. It might be why your sister is depressed all the time or why your aunt doesn’t meet you downtown any more. It might explain why that woman changed her mind about taking the elevator when you got on or why your neighbor got that big dog. It might even be the reason your son quit the football team with no explanation or your daughter stopped dating that nice guy from school.

On that note, I want to do my part for raising awareness and share with you a TED about a clever app, Callisto, designed to allow students to confidentially report sexual assaults and rape and stop repeat offenders before they become serial offenders:

We don’t have to live in a world where 99 percent of rapists get away with it, says TED Fellow Jessica Ladd. With Callisto, a new platform for college students to confidentially report sexual assault, Ladd is helping survivors get the support and justice they deserve while respecting their privacy concerns. “We can create a world where there’s a real deterrent to violating the rights of another human being,” she says.



Finally, about my perk for donating to RAINN: I get to have my book query critiqued by Mackenzie Brady Watson of New Leaf Literary & Media.  From her profile:

She was a microbiologist in her pre-publishing life, so she’s always on the hunt for projects that bring new facets of science to light. She is endlessly fascinated by the human body, especially the heart.

A scientist turned publishing agent! Does it get any better?

Mackenzie, if you are reading this, thank you for donating your time for such a worthy cause. I’m pleased to have been able to help support RAINN and share their message.  I’m also very much looking forward to working with you and maybe even chatting a bit of science along the way.