The best thing about advice. You don’t have to take it.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

What is the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have received some great advice.

But, I’ve also been on the receiving end of some things that sound good, yet on closer inspection aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be.

Sometimes, I think the worst piece of advice I ever received came when it was suggested that I market my work. But that’s another story.

There are really two types of advice, solicited and unsolicited.

When it comes to the unsolicited, you can include all the advertising you see on social media. You know the ones I mean. Where someone you’ve never heard of tells you that you can be rich and famous if only you buy a certain course or subscribe to their sure-fire marketing method. These are usually backed up with claims of enormous sales or bestseller status, which sound impressive but can be hard to verify.

The thing is, there are so many “experts” when it comes to telling newbie authors how to build a business. It’s difficult to separate the genuine from those purely designed to part you from your money.

Before you’ve even earned it.

Beware of the people who practically guarantee you success, at a price. There’s so much free information available and a lot of it is equal in quality, if not better than, what people want you to pay for.

Also in the frame is the well-intentioned advice you tend to get from asking questions in social media groups.

Here’s what happened to me.

I once changed all my book covers because of this sort of advice. OK, it was my fault, I asked for opinions on why my books weren’t selling in a certain social media group. The general consensus was that the biggest problem was with the covers. I was told that they could do with a makeover.

So that’s what I did.

Everyone in the group who saw the new covers agreed that they were much better, but things didn’t improve. Six months later, I updated my post and asked the question again. To my surprise, the same people now told me the new covers were the thing that was stopping me from getting sales and said that I needed to change them all.

When I pointed out that six months ago, they were good covers that the group had all been enthusiastic about, I was blocked from the group.

Valuable lesson learned.

I think that the ability to winnow advice comes with experience. You also have to remember that, just because a piece of advice works for someone, it may not work for you.

What do you think about this week’s subject?

Let me know below.

Then, please check out what my fellow writers have to say about this week’s topic.

Until next time.

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8 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    There’s so many people out there trying to make a fast buck from newbie authors. The reality is that nothing works unless you have an agent who loves your book enough to pitch it to one of the big five publishers. Even that might not work, but at least you have a chance!

    • Richard Dee

      It’s so far removed from the world I used to inhabit, I ‘ve given up bothering agents, who seldom seem to be courteous enough to reply.

  2. P.J. MacLayne

    I tried changing my covers once, but I had several valid reasons for it. It didn’t chance my sales, either, but it did stop the under-teens asking about my books at events.

    • Richard Dee

      The worst advice I could give would be to listen to advice.

  3. Snapdragon

    This is why I think in-person writing groups are better. It hard to hid malictous intend when you see people face to face.

    • Richard Dee

      Agreed, I’m actually going to mine today, I can’t wait.

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