writing and publishing advice

Writing and Publishing — whose advice should you trust?

The following post was published on the Rose Hall Media tips for writers site: (re-blogged with permission)

Bob Mayer says that 99% of the advice you’re hearing about writing and publishing comes from 1% of authors.

His blog post explores the question: “So how much of that advice actually applies and is it useful?”
We agree with these of his conclusions:

  • These days there are many options–and that’s often confusing to those with little or no publishing experience.
    • We suggest you find a mentor/guide who is willing to explain diverse options to you in coherent, understandable language.
    • And look for those who will tell you pros AND cons of each path;
    • Doubt promises of fabulous, quick success and immense wealth.
  • The world of publishing is changing at lightning speed–and the 3-year-old advice you’re hearing might be covered in dust and cobwebs.
    • Be skeptical of those who imply their way is the only way.
  • Writing/Publishing has a very steep learning curve.
    • Everyone, especially an Indie Author, needs help learning the rules of writing and the business of publishing in order to artistically follow or break them.
    • Don’t be in a hurry. Learn your craft and business thoroughly and well:
      • As a writer, you’ll use themes, structure, characters, plot/organization and words-learn how to use your tools.
      • As an author, you must put on your “business” attitude and know why your book is valuable to a reader; how many buyers are potentially in your target market; what is the competition and why your book is unique. And then you must assess whether your book actually matches your vision of it; and find a way to publicize yourself and your book.
  • And there is no single “way to do it.”

Do you have writing and/or publishing goals? Whose advice do you trust? 

26 thoughts on “Writing and Publishing — whose advice should you trust?”

  1. I think when I struggle the most is when I’m looking for nutritional advice online. It’s tricky to find a definitive source that you trust and I often find conflicting viewpoints on a topic. It’s hard to know whose advice I trust sometimes!

    1. As someone who has long been interested in nutrition–I SO identify. And having followed the “advice” for decades, it’s discouraging to discover that it keeps changing.
      In the end, I had to learn to trust my own experience and common sense (I’m not saying that’s easy; and I’m NOT giving any nutritional advice. I know what works for me; but who’s to say that will work for you!)
      I do think, however, my dear intelligent friend–that you should trust your own instincts at least as much as you trust any supposed “expert.” (Moderation and Diversity, as token mottos, if you don’t have any particular diseases or allergies,are always reliable touch-stones).

    1. My experience is, during times of grief or intense change, I rarely write anything “productive.” Sometimes I journal, and sometimes something will inspire me to write and I’ll respond to it. But I don’t expect anything of myself, in terms of a schedule or output.

  2. You’re so right, Tracy. There is not just one way to publish, just as there is not just one “best” genre or style; third person is not always preferred over first person, and sometimes present tense verbs work better than past tense. And, especially, just because a topic or plot or theme is popular and successful now is no reason to think you should be following in those footsteps. The best advice is to always to write what calls to you, follow your heart and your instincts, and take your time to do your best.
    Oh, and here’s a good one: Don’t quit your day job… 🙂

    1. You’re so right, Marylin!
      Remember that phrase that went, “Do what you love, the money will follow… ” ?
      Write what you love, and you’ll write better. That’s true.
      Be business-savey, and the money will follow. That’s true, too.
      But write what you love, and because you love to write, and the money will follow….
      It ain’t necessarily so.

  3. Traci … Thanks for steering me toward Bob Mayer’s blog. The best advice I’ve heard is don’t start writing to fit a current trend. By the time you’ve written your book, the audience may have moved on to a new “hot” topic.

  4. Thanks for this Tracy – I think I bring a healthy scepticism to any advice I read – keeping those bits that make sense and ignoring those bits that don’t. It’s easy to become disheartened or confused by all the advice out there, so I press ahead and know that I’ll find whatever way is the best for me.

    1. I tend to think I’m a health skeptic, too. And I agree with you, faith and perseverance are 2 of the most important factors in success for a writer.
      (and I’m confident you will find the way that’s best for you!)

      1. I have a daughter who is a health and wellness ‘coach,’ which is not what I had hoped she would choose to do with her marketing and communication dual degrees! Mainly, for the same reason you and Andrea are a little skeptical about the resources, out there! I am trying to live a healthier life, but by no means, am as good at it as my daughter. She was diagnosed with JRA, at age 13, so she chose to give up after years of Vioxx, Celebrex and steroid shots, to try to live a healthier lifestyle, trying to handle the ‘pain’ in her joints. I worry, about this, though! Just adding to the discussion on a totally different subject than writing! Robin

        1. That’s a tough thing to handle, as a mother. Letting our adult children make, and live with the consequences of their own decisions is SO hard!
          I imagine her pain has given her a tremendous amount of compassion, and she wants to do something with her life that helps people. ? She sounds like an amazing person!
          Of course, her marketing/communication degree will help her market herself.

  5. It would be lovely if all deserving artists, musicians, poets and authors could have ‘easy avenues’ to take! I think this was nice of you to share this article, Tracy! Smiles, Robin

    1. It would be nice indeed!!
      (I want to hear more about your daughter’s health/wellness coaching. I’ve got a long-term project going, a book, and I’m looking for coaches to recommend. Can you put her in touch with me?)

  6. I don’t have a writing goal so I haven’t looked online for advice relating to publishing. However I know when I go online looking for an answer to some question or other it is often hard to get to the truth of the matter as google can return thousands of articles which are hard enough to wade through plus its hard to decide which of them are the most reliable and accurate. 😉

    1. It is indeed a chore to wade through all the information on the information super-highway.
      I think it’s awesome that you don’t have a writing goal. Sometimes all this emphasis on “goals” is, frankly, ridiculous. Sometimes I make it my goal to not have a goal. 🙂

  7. Thank you Tracy for this very informative post, as I knew it would be, and the links you’ve provided here which I’ve bookmarked and will read as soon as. This is all very helpful, as you know, I’m learning about all this parallel to writing my first draft. Finding the target market seems to be crucial doesn’t it?

    1. Finding the target market is definitely important for sales / salability. But at what point one should consider that, depends entirely on why, and for what purpose, one is writing. If the primary consideration is to sell a lot of copies, then it’s important to think about the market early in the process.

  8. Tracy, the advice I’m trusting is from agent or author blog posts that are respectful of both traditional and indie publishing. It shows me that they are adaptable and not writing from the dark ages. Thanks for this helpful post. I will check out the link too.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    1. That sound balanced and wise, Wendy. I tend to mistrust people who automatically bash what they don’t know or don’t favor. And there definitely is a place for both right now. Good luck with your writing, and thanks for posting a comment.
      Blessings to you, too. 🙂

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