I still owe the void a post on my cover, which I’ll do this weekend. I’m pressed for time at the moment but I wanted to get this off my chest.
People have really good intentions and writers absolutely want to help other writers. I know I do. I feel like in my decades of writing and editing I’ve learned a few things and I’m more than happy to impart that wisdom on others.
With that being said it’d be wise to consider your sources when taking writing advice, doubly so if you’re paying for it.
Just because you’ve self-published does not make you an expert on the written word. Just because you have a popular story online doesn’t mean you know how to construct a story and develop characters and use grammar (and it makes me twitch a little when I see people say that readers like well-constructed and written stories on places like Wattpad. LIES, and this is true for commercially published works too, you just need to connect with a reader; that does not mean you need to be a writing genius). Just because you’re an avid reader doesn’t mean you’re qualified to accept payment for your editing “services.”
Good intentions. Pave a road somewhere south. Or something.
I had this issue writing a synopsis (and I think I mentioned this before). When I posted it in a writing forum I ended up writing in circles because people kept giving me conflicting advice. Ultimately, none of them had sold books with synopses they’ve written. So, good intentions? Sure. But if YOU’VE never sold a book with a synopsis you’ve written, or obtained an agent with one, why am I taking your advice again? If you can’t help yourself how are you going to help others?
And people writing for free providing free advice? You get what you pay for, perhaps. Popularity doesn’t always equate to quality and if the person taking that advice doesn’t know any better, and doesn’t vet it against more valid resources, they could take it, do something wrong, and end up losing out because of it and be none the wiser for it. And, of course, what works for one person might not work for someone else. Everyone’s experience is different.
I think a good idea is to get advice from multiple resources. Tried and true industry resources, commercially published authors, self-pubs, online serial writers. Mix the bag up. At least that way if the advice is consistent you’ll know it’s good. If it’s spotty follow it at your own risk.
Don’t be afraid to take those risks, but know that you’re doing so at your own peril.