There was someone who posted a question poll on a writing group I’m in on Facebook, asking who you’ll take writing and publishing advice from. Most people had said from a published writer, specifically someone with solid sales.
When I stated my opinion, someone had tore it down because “to give good advice, you need the experience.”
I agree halfway. Like, yes, you should have some sort of experience, but you don’t need to be published to have that experience. If you’re giving publishing advice, especially on how it all works and getting into the nitty gritty stuff that only published writers would know, then yes. I agree. But writing advice? Anyone can give it. And that’s just because writing is subjective, as well as advice.
Then this lady was like, “Only published writers can give good original advice.” Ha! Original?! There is no such thing. There is only so many ways to create a character, a plot, a schedule, to write, so on and so forth. There’s general advice (which usually includes the few main ways) and then there’s personal experience (what a lot of people give).
Then she said to give credit to the person who said it, which is understandable… if it was original advice which most isn’t. Writing and publishing advice gets recycled, and honestly, this isn’t the type of industry where everyone is out for themselves. Writers band together and help one another, which also means most people who give advice had heard it a dozen times and repeat it. But the good advice they may give would come from research and practicing it themselves.
I remember Meg LaTorre made a video on this years ago because people harassed her about giving writing advice on YouTube when her books weren’t all that great, but I agreed with her. As I understand it she works in the publishing industry and she knows what they’re looking for, so of course I’d take her advice on how to write a book that captures attention. Shaelin Bishop hasn’t even published a book yet, but she’s got a MFA iirc and her writing advice is solid, so why shouldn’t I take it if it makes sense to me?
And I think that right there is the point. Anyone can give advice, but it’s up to the writer to determine whether that advice is worth listening to or not. Writers should be reading good books and seeing examples firsthand of what works and what doesn’t. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯
Some published writers write esoteric tomes and wouldn’t know an entertaining read if it bit their butt. A well-read, never published everyman may well be better for constructive criticism on if you have a good read.
Lack of mastery:
Just because you are published doesn’t mean you’re really credentialed. I use me for this: I AM published–30 years ago, for a poem, as a child who managed nothing. There are people on here that have far more experience than me without having that one little blip of a difference.
“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias whereby people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a certain type of a task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge.”
Im not going published or not, with this one: there’s clearly people on both sides that line who way overestimate their ability. No, I’m skewering opinion on opinions, here. Most those who are estimating the value of someone’s opinion based upon credentials are themselves overestimating their ability to judge that. So, the value of the poll is really about how many people poke that button on a vote so quickly being more speedy decisions than careful deliberation.
And that’s why it’s subjective. Some people will like her books or someone else’s books when others don’t but can give good advice anyway.
Jenna Moreci has a ton of wonderful advice but her books are meh. Stephen King gives advice (some good, some not so good) and his works are on the fence, too. Some people hate his books, some love them.
When I was younger, I took all advice and tried to put it into my work. It didn’t work the way I thought it was, especially when I had people saying they liked how it was or would add onto it that would change the original advice. That was when I decided to research myself about said advices and practice how it should look based on what I found and what I considered good for the story. This allowed me to filter the advice I got from critique partners and anyone else.
You probably know this already, but Jenna Moreci’s publishing a nonfiction writing guide in January. I don’t care how bad her books are, I’m preordering that one as soon as the gray button appears on Amazon! ヽ(^。^)丿
There are a lot of experienced writers/reviewers who give advice I wouldn’t apply in a million years. Perhaps they’re responding to a question that was phrased poorly; perhaps they’re missing context; perhaps their personal biases are simply shining through. It’s not like you can tell people “You’re wrong and here’s why” when they offer advice, so you smile and nod and continue on without them. I certainly know that if I took everyone’s advice when I started, I’d have a far worse book and a needlessly deflated ego—it’s not like I’m going to hunt them down and rub it in their faces that I became more successful than they did by ignoring their suggestions.
The main thing is: writing is art, and art is subjective.
Advice in terms of grammar/spelling etc: obviously thats different. Someone who has a degree in English language/etc will know more than a 14 year old.
But in terms of plot/structure/story whatever? Eh. I dont really care, unless a 12 year old child comes at me telling me I need to have (making this up) a toxic mafia man swoop in and whatever. Then I care. (again making that up but hopefully you know what I mean)
I don’t care who has what credentials, if someone comments on my stuff with a good idea I think will work, YAY! if they come at me with some advice I dont think will work? “thanks for the idea!” and then I ignore it and appreciate the offer.
Just because you have a NYT best seller thriller doesnt mean they will give good advice for my romance book, and vice versa. There are some things that do come with experience but most of it is subjective.
Personally, I think anyone invested in the art form of writing and has insights on how to approach different styles is worth listening to and taking advice from. Published authors may have more professional advice to offer, and their advice may be more structured or formulated and they should be taken into account because, yes, they have experience.
It’s sort of like how you interact in a classroom environment. Yes, the teacher may be more informed on a structured and professional aspect, and they may consider broader subjects. However, that doesn’t mean your peers can’t have their own unique criticisms that help you process the subject from a different position.
Imo, advice is advice no matter where it comes from. Whether or not that advice can apply to you is more important than where it comes from.
Agree… Not everyone is an expert, but both writers and readers know what they like, and each is unique to their own opinion.
Bullsh*t!.. I won’t quote further… But we know what I mean here…
Good advice is still subjective to what the writer is trying to portray, it can work, and it can also be unhelpful.
There is no “Good” advice, just peoples views… It’s more of if you take that advice and use it for good, or ditch it because you feel it may do harm.
It’s your perception of what people are trying to say that is the most directive, and decisive of decisions that will be seen as “Good advice given” in the end.
I’m not sure how my writing is, but I know I’m a great editor and advice-giver, and I think that’s because I read so much. I’ll take advice from any reader who’s into my genre, because in the end it’s readers I’m looking to dazzle with my story, and their advice is more unfiltered and blunter anyways. This isn’t “the customer is always right” logic, but if it’s someone who reads a lot in my genre who matches my target audience, naturally I’ll take their advice.