Caveat Emptor

If you punch “writing advice” into Google you’ll come back with about a billion results with almost as many opinions. Heck, this is true for even me. The key here is to research everything and don’t take anything for granted, no matter who it comes from. Writing, like many arts, has many different parts. I won’t tell you there’s “no wrong way”, because there absolutely is, but there’s no singular correct path. Every writer’s journey is a little different, and this is part of what I mean about not taking anything for granted.

There are many paths to success in writing. Self-publishing, traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, different genres and marketing techniques, and so on. Also, it depends on what you define as “success”. While I think all of us would love to see our name in lights, is success writing a book that people enjoy, even if a million people don’t buy it? Does success mean making back your investment? Does success mean supporting yourself through writing? All of those are valid definitions. So I’d start with defining what success is to you. Once you know, you can take steps to head that way. Those steps might be different for each author, too. Do you like blogging? Do you hate it? Do you enjoy social media? Do you intend on visiting conventions to sell your book? Also, different genres require different marketing techniques.

The place I’d use caution the most is whenever someone claims their way is the only way or speaks in absolutes. “Self-published authors are all hacks!” or “Traditional publishing is worthless and dead!” They might be opinions, and even supported ones, but someone speaking in absolutes opens themselves up to question. Some absolutes are universal (like many rules of punctuation, but not even all of those are universal!), but there aren’t many of them. The only absolutes I know of are things like making sure your work is edited and not publishing first drafts.

So what are authors to do when they have so much information and nothing absolute? Read as much as you can and learn everything available. Formulate your own opinions, and learn about the industry you intend to enter. The key is educating yourself, so read all different types of blogs and information. The more information you have, the more accurate your understanding will be. It will also help you uncover the path that best suits your, personal walk through the publishing industry. There are many wonderful blogs, articles, and publications out there you can learn from, and I encourage you to explore as many of them as you can. It’s a fun and interesting way to spend a few hours. Just make sure you don’t get so lost in research that you forget to actually write!

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