Writing Advice: Know Who Your Advisor Is

Recently I was poking around a couple of Facebook groups for writers.  As always, someone would ask a question and a host of people would respond.  Of course, the responses are varied and often contradict each other.  If you’re the one asking the question, whose advice do you take?

I have to admit it — I very seldom participate in public forums.  When I ask for advice and get an answer, I want to know who is sharing their wisdom.  Let’s be honest. I want to know because I want to make sure they have wisdom to share.

The problem I’ve seen is that often the people who give advice most often, and most loudly, aren’t the pros.  The pros are writing. The pros are doing school visits.  They may check in occasionally but they often don’t have the volume to be heard.

Is this a problem?  It depends.

If you want to know what types of resources are available and are helpful to a new writer, then talk to other new writers.

If you want to know how to break into the current world of publishing, talk to someone who has recently done it.  That means that you might not want to take advice from a newbie with no sales.  But a seasoned professional who broke in 30 years ago may not be as helpful either.

Questions about picture book writing?  Ask picture book writers and illustrators.  Novelists won’t be particularly helpful.

Traditional publishing?  Then ask traditionally published authors.

Self publishing?  Naturally, you want to talk to self-published authors.

Writing advice isn’t one size fits all so be sure to take advice from people who are qualified to give it.