Thursday, August 26, 2010

Expert Advice - Who to Believe?

Advice for Writers

Everywhere we writers turn, we find agents, other writers, publishers, even people who are not associated with writing at all, giving us advice on how to write, how to find an agent, and how to get published. On one recent day, I collected the following tidbits of advice from agents, writers, promoters, editors, et al. on Twitter:

      • 20 Strategies to Defeat the Urge to Do Useless Tasks
      • The Anatomy of a SHORT Synopsis – Pt 1
      • Top 10 Worst Self-Publishing Mistakes
      • Tips on promoting your book on Facebook
      • 16 Tips for Being Productive While Working From Home
      • How to display your average feed readers
      • It's not what your character does. It's why.
      • How to Use Mind Maps to Build a Story
      • Getting the most out of your time and money at a writing conference
      • [D]on’t have your assistant write your query letter on your behalf
      • 13 Of The Most Ridiculous Things Overheard In Bookstores
      • Promote your book like a pro - excellent advice - and very simply expressed
      • 20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Submitting Your Work

As you can see, there is advice for nearly every situation and for every writer out there. There are sometimes conflicting viewpoints just to muddy the situation further. With so many people offering advice, who do you believe? Do you believe any of them? Why believe any of them? How do we choose who to believe as opposed to those who may be blowing smoke up our pants leg? To tell the truth, I haven’t a clue.

Advice from Authors

When I ran across a recent article full of authors, some well known and some unknown (to me) offering up the best advice they’d received when they were starting out, I tarried long enough to read the entire article. I’ll share the two that resonated most with me.

Bestselling suspense writer Elizabeth George, author of 23 books, remembers that the best advice she ever got was from mystery writer P. D. James after George received a rejection of her first novel. “My dear,” P. D. James said, “you have done something many people only dream of. You have written a novel You must never give up.” How could George possibly give up after receiving advice from P.D. James? Luckily for her readers, she didn’t.

Probably the most succinct advice was received by another bestselling author, Sue Grafton. She passes on the advice she received, “Park your butt at your desk and get on with it.” Advice that is short and to the point, and, for the most part, easy to implement.

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