Linton Robinson wrote:Regarding the "how to get an agent" thing, I guess you could say (as some here seem to think) that you don't actually have to know how to do something in order to tell people how to do it, but that seems rather a risky and pointless activity.
I don't recall anyone saying (or doing) that.
Linton Robinson wrote:But I really think it's important to look at people telling you how to write and sell and see if they have actually ever written anything that anybody bought. And in fact, whether even experts in a field are actually up on what you are trying to accomplish. (e.g. guy who works for Random House knowing about marketing self-published work, etc.)
I think there's some confusion here between taking advice on writing
and taking advice on publishing
. Take any ten books by published authors on writing and I guarantee they will directly contradict each other on many aspects of writing. They will tell you what worked for them
As to publishing, again - if you want advice on trade publishing, you would look to people who have worked in trade publishing. If you want advice on self-publishing, you would look to people who have self-published. Now, there is a caveat to that. People who have worked in trade publishing will know what things work for publishing in general
; there are self-published authors who will give advice based on false assumptions about trade publishing. That's why you get advice from self-publishers that includes "trade publishers won't do this" when, in fact, trade publishers do, or they don't because they know it doesn't work.
Linton Robinson wrote:Part of the process is figuring out what you want to accomplish. Without that, it's hard to judge anything: if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.
Linton Robinson wrote:I see people on newbie forums gulping down the whole, "Every writer has to be an entrepreneur" line, when I'm guessing less than 20 percent of the people on this board actually, if they got their goals sorted out, are particularly interested in making a living writing.
The only place I see that 'entrepreneur line' is when talking about self-publishing - but it's more along the lines that to self-publish, one has to be both writer and publisher. As to the goals/interest in making a living from writing, I don't find it surprising, since very very few writers (of fiction, anyway) actually do make their living writing. So that aspect is just being realistic.
Linton Robinson wrote:Everybody I know who makes a living writing books tends to agree with Smith, not the head-nodders who will get a book into print one of these years, once it's perfect.
I'm curious as to how many writers you know who actually make a living off writing. Are these journalists, educational writers, novelists? Because the consensus (including from published authors, publishing personnel, agents, etc) seems to be that very few fiction authors can live off their writing income. If you have figures to contradict that, I'd like to see them (not being snarky, I really do want to know).
Basically, I haven't really seen anyone who says one shouldn't be careful about what advice one takes, that one has to look at the source, their experience, and their motivation. I get the feeling you think no one who hasn't actually done something cannot possibly have knowledge about it, however, and I don't think I can agree with that as an overall
philosophy. I know how elections work without having run for office.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny