The Internet is the most reliable place on the planet to find advice. And answers. And guidance.
Anything from cures for cancer to whom you should marry or vote for, to which puppy to buy, the information “out there” is endless.
Okay, so that part at least is right—tons of information streams across the world via the Web.
Of course, a huge portion of it is codswallop.
Aspiring writers naturally think good guidance for becoming a published author exists out there too.
Years ago when the social-media sites were ramping up and writers groups sprung up all over, I went to see what was being said. OMG. Most leading these groups were giving the worst advice ever. They were all led by folks who’d only self-published their books! I.e., were not vetted by anyone at all within the industry. Self-proclaimed experts.
As with all the terrible counsel about treating cancer and whom to date and OMG the political BS and . . . well, I’m always still pretty shocked about all the truly awful writing and publishing advice given to potential scribes. And really, these days, I don’t shock easily.
Still happens though.
Often folks send me the truly bizarre and horrid articles, mostly with the header being !?$! or the like.
Fast forward to this week, when an astute reader sent me a blog written by a guy who runs an editing company. His credentials are that he self-published some book-marketing POD paperbacks. He’s working on a Ph.D. in Literature.
I could talk for an hour about how these are not “editing credentials,” but that’s not the point of this! LOL.
He runs a copyediting service, so giving him the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure the slant was for his services. And all books need a good copyedit—as the final stage before press.
To his post, however, I reacted in horror.
To paraphrase a few things he said:
*If the story is good enough, even poor writing won’t discourage readers from leaving positive reviews.*
Now, Fifty Shades of Elephant Ears notwithstanding (sex always sells 🙂 ), do you really believe that readers forgive poor writing? And even if they do, are you truly comfortable with readers—who have paid for your book—telling you the writing’s crap? Doesn’t that send chills down your spine? If not, take up painting!
*If the story has major problems, readers will let you know in the reviews as well. That way you can improve your writing much cheaper than by paying a lot for an editor.*
This just bumfuddles me to Montana.
Yep, readers can tell you they hated the characters or the plot wasn’t plausible, etc. But that’s on whom you’re going to rely for advice about how to fix your book? On readers who have never written anything, much less fiction? That’s on whom this person advises you to rely? Really? I just almost have no words (which is shocking!).
And if the book is in this bad a shape, you’ve obviously self-published it. And spent some bucks doing so. Cover, self-pub company, marketing, etc. So you spend money on all of that but not on the book itself?
Here’s the kicker: Readers don’t forgive. Major publishers all know this. Anyone who’s been in these trenches for more than a nanosecond knows this. Authors—both successful and non—if they’ve been around long know this.
If you jump through all the hoops to publish your own book, garner some sales, and the book sucks, those folks will never buy another.
And of course, the whole point of this exercise is to build readership, not destroy it.
The rest of this article was filled with such pearls of wisdom. But don’t be one of the swine getting tossed those pearls—and paying for it!
So many elements go into writing well. So, so, so many. Learn them—from experts. Check credentials closely and deeply. Take your time. Master the craft.
And don’t put your show horse into the ring in his work clothes.
Now I’ll go kill cancer at hokeycures.com . . .
What terrible writing advice have you seen lately?