Long before I published, worked in the industry, or even won titles like bestseller or award-winning, I was getting unsolicited advice on writing, how to improve, and the keys to the writing world. I learned in my journey that advice really is just a jumping off place, where you’re jumping is the risk many writers take to get to their goals. There is more realistic advice. This is what you need. This is what I needed.
The Bad Advice
- Writing is easy, and anyone can do it! You surely can.
- Now that we have Amazon it shouldn’t be hard, use Amazon.
- You don’t need an agent or lawyers when you’re an Indie. Believe me, you’ll be just fine.
- I made it. You will make it.
- If you don’t know your style, you can always mimic someone that’s doing well. If they did it, you can do it too.
- If you don’t have the money, you don’t need the service. [In editing, graphics, or formatting]
- They say they’re professional, so they must be. Their prices aren’t that bad.
Those not in the business often give poor advice about the business. It’s on par with asking someone how good a restaurant is, unaware they’ve never been there, and they’re pretending they know. Now that I’ve covered some ‘bad’ advice I’ve received, I want to cover some better advice, what has worked for me, and trustworthy wisdom.
The Realistic Advice
- Though anyone can put pen to paper or type on a keyboard, it may seem easy enough, writing seriously is another thing entirely. There’s a lot that goes into being a writer, published author, or anything in the business. The main thing is to keep going for the long haul, it will take months of work after writing, which will often take months of work. Just keep going, even if it’s typing a few words or lines a day.
- Yeah, Amazon’s made it easier to publish independently we have to do it their way. They’re a business and we still have to follow their structure if we’re going to use it. Beyond that, they’re not so bad. Just learn as much as you can about Amazon’s system and Audible, they own that too. Just be aware they may change policies and not in your favor.
- Hey, they made it, but that doesn’t mean you will. Being indie isn’t easy, we’re the underdogs, and sometimes people have a lot of money backing them to make it easier for them.
- You will need to either learn how to do something, know someone professionally skilled, or pay someone to do it. Nothing is free after all.
- Just because they claim they’re professional doesn’t mean they are. The word ‘professional’ gets used often by anyone that wants to be taken seriously, but you need to review their work history. Is their work up to your standards? Ask questions. Ask to see a portfolio or see if they have one on their website. Heck, do they even have one of those? You will see most of the time they don’t even have a free one. Be weary.
- Oh, man! You definitely need to hire a cover artist if you’re not able to do it yourself. The cover is the first impression the reader gets of the tone of the book. That goes for formatting, but most of all editing. Don’t ask friends and family to ‘just do it for you’, they won’t be honest every time, especially if they’ve seen you struggling for months. They will not want to hurt your feelings. Unless they’re taking your work seriously.
- For God Sakes, don’t try to professionally edit the work yourself if you’re not qualified.
- Listening to reviews is like being in a madhouse. You’ll not please everyone.
- Find YOUR VOICE and don’t lose it. Some freelance editors will try to change a work entirely from what you’re doing, if the work is losing your voice, it is losing your style and personality. Be careful. [This applies to trying to copy a better style. Mimicking isn’t your own style.]
- Editors will always edit differently. Give one manuscript to three editors and they will edit it into three different styles. Go with the one you like best.
Have you ever been given bad writing advice? What about some excellent advice? Whatever the case, share it! Got some questions even that you’ve not found answers for. Let’s start a conversation about it.