Friday, August 8, 2014

Consider Your Sources Before Following That Advice

When we teach using research in academic writing, we always stress the importance of not just taking the research as it is, but to consider the source. We examine things such as the personal bias of the author, the credibility of the author, was there a special context for that research and so forth. In other words, although the research may have data and material that sounds great for you, if it doesn't fit your current research or the project you are working on, it will actually work against you and not help you.

And once again, this same idea applies to publishing.

I know there are a lot of authors out there doing everything they can to either get into the publishing business or simply to advance their already existing writing career. To do so, they are taking workshops, reading articles, following blogs and trying to grab everything that is available. Unfortunately, I see far too many authors forgetting the idea of evaluating the research before following it. In so many cases, what we are hearing and what we are reading does not apply to that author's individual genre, circumstance or where they are in their career.

Let's look at a few...

At the recent RWA conference, one of my authors attending one of those "Chat with..." session where several established authors spend the time talking about the things they wish they had known when they started out. These sessions are really fun because, not only are the authors that often lead these sessions great speakers, they are also pretty motivational for authors needing that extra umph with their career.


We have to remember two things. The first is that these authors have been writing for a long time. These are not your authors who just started up last year.The things they are doing with their career right now are completely different because of that experience. They talk about submitting on proposal, but they can, because they have proven they can do it. They talk about wishing they knew more about the digital world when they started out, but, there wasn't one.

We also have to remember that the perception of the industry right now is seen through the eyes of someone who has been around. Sure, the industry isn't different to them compared to you, but the way they see it is different. They have a different set of glasses to see the world.

Consider the self-publishing market.

This is not an issue of one side being right or wrong here, but we seriously have to consider who the authors are and their situation before we start following their guidance. Really pay attention to this. There are many authors out there making comments like we heard key note speakers say at the RWA conference that the self-publishing way is the only way to go and you should fire your agent. Consider who the speaker is. Do they already have a following? What books are they putting out there? Time and time again you will see they are putting out their back-lists and not necessarily new material.

I even heard one agent saying that her authors were doing really well with the self-publishing approach. Sure, it got me listening but then it slipped in that these were indeed back list stories as well.

In other words, this situation works for them and may not work for someone with no name, no experience and no following.

I can probably go on and on with a lot of different scenarios, but I think you will find the same answer for every situation. Think first. I am not saying we need to ignore these professionals. In no way would I say that. The information they have to share is good and fits with their situations. Heck, it might fit with your situation. The point is though, THINK! Getting advice and following these directions for a situation that may not be anywhere close to what you need will only frustrate you and may hurt your career.

No comments:

Post a Comment