Friday, April 17, 2015

Who Did You Hear That From?

In the movie, WALL STREET, Gordon Gekko makes a statement that I have always loved. "The most important commodity I know of is information." This is so true! And in the ever changing publishing world we are now living in, information is critical for survival. Authors are scrambling every day to gain just a little nugget of information from anywhere in the hopes of finding the opening they have looked for, to that one little secret to getting over that writing hurdle.

But here is the thing. Not all information is the same. There is good information and there is some not
so good information. The key is to decide what you can trust. For this reason, you need to stop and consider who said the information, what their situation was, and is this information applicable to your situation.

Consider a conference you might be attending. There will be a ton of workshops and talks you can select from. But who is teaching the workshop? Is this really someone who is a specialist in the topic, or someone who just had a great title, a great proposal or found success one time and has not been able to duplicate it.

I see this all of the time when people tell me they are "extensively published." When I do a quick web-search, I find that their publishing credits tend to not be as "extensive" as they claim.

Consider also recommendations to take one approach vs. another when it comes to your writing. Right now, there are a lot of authors out there proclaiming and preaching the idea of "fire your agent." But what authors are not thinking about, or considering is the source. In many cases, these are authors who were already successful.These are authors who have the audience, who have the connections, and potentially have a great back list to draw on, to make it in the world. In this case, we are not rejecting the idea because of the lack of knowledge of the speaker. In this case, we have to decide, "Am I in the same situation as this person."

I remember one conference I attended right after opening the agency. The key note speaker was telling about all of the things she does when it comes to her writing, her marketing and so forth. The audience was writing fast and furious, adding to the arsenal of tools so that they too could be successful. This was a room full of VERY new authors. The problem? The recommendations were coming from someone who had been doing this for 30 years. Their techniques work for them now BECAUSE of the 30 years of experience. Their techniques were not necessarily going to work for someone still hoping for that first big break.

I want you to understand that I want you out there listening to everyone. I want you gaining information from all of your sources. But, before you go jumping in with both feet and doing something extreme, consider the source. It might not be the best decision for you after all.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, as usual. Very important insights a struggling author needs to consider.