What's the single WORST piece of advice you've ever received about writing or publishing?
Here are some great ones that are popular in the indie community. We want to share them with you - and get some of your thoughts too.
You know how it goes...
Unsolicited advice - bad advice - can be difficult to handle. But when it becomes generally accepted as "wisdom" it can be truly damaging.
And for writers, this is a doubly frustrating. Especially when the advice is coming from people who have never written a book in their lives (note: readers love pretending to be literary critics).
Here are a few examples:
1) Self-publishing = they couldn't make it as a "proper" author
Click below to read more...
"Despite royalty rates of 70%, I think self-publishing is a terrible idea for serious novelists (by which I mean, novelists who take writing seriously, and love to write)."
- This quote was actually taken from an article over at The Guardian (a UK publication that abhors anything related to self-publishing).
There are plenty of authors who couldn't get a publishing deal turning to self-publishing. But there are plenty of authors who DO have publishing deals turning to self-publishing too.
And there are even more authors who never even bothered with traditional publishing in the first place.
If $7,000 for 2 years' work sounds like fun, by all means go the traditional route.
But the numbers don't lie. Self-published authors earn more per sale. On average, self-published authors make more money (you can look this up over at AuthorEarnings.com).
They can also release books as fast as they like and have creative control over their marketing.
Self-published authors have access to everything a traditionally published author does (like editors, designers, etc) and don't have to deal with corporate nonsense or give away their rights for life.
Maybe self-publishing is better for you. Maybe the traditional route is more suitable. But at the end of the day, one choice over the other doesn't make you a "real author". Only you can make yourself one.
Whether you upload your manuscript to Amazon, or Bob from Marketing does it, the reader doesn't really care.
If you're a "serious author" you should be getting read, earning money, and improving your craft. Period. How you do that is up to you. Nothing else really matters.
2) The industry needs gatekeepers!
You need to submit your books to agents so you know it's good enough. Gatekeepers are there to protect readers from bad work and protect authors from their own egos.
Do you mean to suggest that there isn't a single bad book produced by a traditional publisher?
That an artist somehow requires someone else's validation to share their work with the world?
Does anyone lambast the street musician for not having a record label?
It's amazing how far some authors will go to justify losing 75% of their paycheck.
Look, if your book sucks, nobody's going to buy it. Readers don't need gatekeepers to make decisions for them. That's what the reviews section is for.
3) A real full-time author only writes
"Just concentrate on writing 100%. You're not a full-time author if you spend time marketing and promoting your books. That's what your publisher is for."
I hear this one a lot too. Or variations on that theme of "I don't want to do any marketing".
Reality check - you're a business owner. You're in the business of making money from your writing.
What other business would recommend spending 0% of your time on marketing, sales, or promotion?
- "You're not a full-time chef if you negotiate contacts, source ingredients, or buy advertising for your restaurant."
- "You're not a full-time actor if you go to auditions or send out your resume."
- "You're not a full-time painter if you try to get your work into a gallery."
A traditional publisher isn't going to do your marketing for you, either. That's still your job. If you want to get read and make money, you're going to need to justify your existence.
And that means producing great work and growing an audience of fans who love you.
Be proud of your work. Shout from the rooftops. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
4) The Starving Artist
No, there's dignity in paying your heating bills and being able to afford food.
Nobody needs to be starving. An artist - any artist - deserves fair compensation for their work.
If you buy into self-limiting beliefs like this, how can you expect to succeed?
These are just a few of the commonly held views in author land.
Can you imagine a career where you work for 2 years, get paid next to nothing, and are expected to be happy about it?
That's not a job offer anyone should be taking any time soon. But for some reason, many authors accept this as "the way things are".
But the real winners - the 1% of the 1% - reject these ideas and form their own. They take control and build something worthwhile.
You can be one of them.
So, tell us - what's the single WORST piece of advice about writing or publishing you've ever heard?
Reply to this post and share your thoughts.
Join our community now. The Red Clover Reader Team
Credits: With permission, this article was adapted from a piece originally published by Nick Stephenson, author of Your First 10,000 Readers. His article was published on April 9, 2018 at 3:30:17 PM EDT. You can find the original post at https://blog.yourfirst10kreaders.com