|From Marray Services|
Writers read the blogs of other writers, looking for advice on how to write, how to live the writer's life, and how to sell more books. Or perhaps How to Write a Better Novel. I have read so much guidance from other novelists I sometimes wonder which way is up. A lot of it is conflicting, and some of it makes little practical sense.
I find advice on branding, plotting, selling, promoting, characterization, drafting, genres, editing and a whole lot more. There is advice to be had on every single aspect of writing and being an author. Often, it is written and offered by people who have done little writing, except in the way of advice. Some have written so much help, advice, information and guidance it's not immediately obvious that it's all they have written. Doesn't one have to have written one novel - at least - to be able to guide another prospective author through the traps?
publisher before jumping into the fray and telling others how to do it? Apparently, it's 'no experience required' when it comes to this kind of advice-mongering. Hop on any discussion group, thread or forum about writing, and you will find 'advice' of all kinds, some forthcoming from individuals whose credentials to offer it are often minimal or non-existent.
It is not unusual to find whole companies popping up offering to 'help ' a new writer through the process, when they have not published as much as a short story themselves. Perhaps this realisation might prompt new writers to be very wary about the sources of advice, and look upon it as a Simon Says exercise. Find out what the writer offering counsel or assistance has actually done. Make it your business to discover what that writer's real experience has been. Do what a writer does, if you like the outcome, not merely what they say you should do.
door-to-door salesman peddling a product with no reputation.
When an author has the weight of experience and the output to prove it, it's usually visible, and easy to find. Either their own website, or a quick visit to your favourite online bookstore, will confirm backing for that guidance. Even a rapid search will disclose whether the advice is worth following.
It is extremely easy to read up and regurgitate so-called information and advice - let's not be taken in by the ones who have honed this to a fine art: giving advice to follow a career path, a plan of action or a series of steps they have never taken themselves.
What do you think of information and guidance for writers you have found on the web or elsewhere? Was it backed by real experience?