1. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Giving advice on writers forums

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by domenic.p, Aug 3, 2014.

    Giving advice on writers forums.

    I don’t like to do it, but there are time I see new writers struggling with issues. Like a fool I give the best, and safest advice I can. It always turns out the same. I will start getting backlash from little groups. Which is okay…these people are on forums, and you can’t get away from them. After a time it gets to be where it’s not worth the headache.

    Three years ago I was on a writers forum, and a new member posted:
    “I have been out of work for six months. My wife is pregnant. If I write a book, how long will it take me to get a lot of money?”
    The replies were, (and there were many) “Go for it.” “You can do it.” There’s a lot to be made writing books. Mine is almost done.” “Write a book, and sell it as an EBOOK. You can get rich. I just posted my EBOOK on Amazon.”

    Post after post, telling this poor guy to spend his time writing a book. I posted my comment… “If you have never written a book before, it could take one, or more years just learning how to write. To write a good book, you need talent. Lets assume you have talent, and you write a book in one week. Lets also assume you find an agent with just one query letter. Again, lets assume your agent sells the book to a publisher within hours. It will take one to two years before the book is out.
    Here are true hard facts. Your chance of writing, and selling your book could take you ten years. It may never sell. Yes you could put it out as an EBOOK, and if you are lucky, you might make $300 to $500 the first year, and not much there after.
    My advice would be, “Spend your time looking for a job so you can take care of the baby you have coming. When life gets smooth, and you are paying your bills…spend some time writing a book.”

    My reply to this new member caused an explosion on the forum. The result? I was banned for trying to kill a dream.

    Well, I don’t think of myself as a good writer. I am a good business man. I know what it takes to keep your head above water. I also know what it’s like having a new baby, and being out of work.
    Before I started writing, I spent two years learning about how the publishing industry works. I never jump into anything blind…it’s bad business.
    I have since spent 90% of my writing time learning how to write. I keep up on market reports , and what is happening in the publishing industry…even who is working where.
    I also keep abreast of agents…who is, and who is not selling books. I make a monthly list of what houses are selling books, and how many first time authors they take on.
    I do know a little bit about the industry. I treat my writing as a business. I have five books done. Have I submitted any of my work? No. reason? The market is not in good shape. The whole industry is turning about, and even the experts don’t know where it is going. I will not throw any of my hard work into a world pool of confusion.

    Thus, because of those who refuse to take even the basic advice…I will no longer give advice. It’s just not worth it any more. I have other things on my plate.
     
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  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Well, feel free to give your thoughts here.
    We're nothing if not an honest forum when it comes to writing.
    I mean, the most common fight we had was between the "School vs. Experience" advice when someone asked whether they could write and succeed >.>
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you take every piece of advice offered? Of course not. You take the advice that makes the most sense for your situation. If I had seen your advice in that other forum, I would have agreed with you 100%. That doesn't mean I will always agree with your advice, or that you always give good advice. Nobody's all-knowing or perfect. The sooner you accept that, the happier you'll be.
     
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  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well put @shadowwalker

    @domenic.p : In my job, giving advice is basically the essence of what I do. My advice is most of the time factually correct, and supported by studies and current evidence-based practice, so it is reasonably sound. In fact I'm trained and paid to give good advice. Do you know what is the percentage of times people actually take my advice? Probably not more that 60-70% of the time. Now imagine giving advice on intangibles, such as writing process or how to become happy, or wealthy, or how to become a selling author etc. All highly individual things, many paths lead to Rome, no evidence favouring this or that method, because these things are different from person to person.

    If you want to give advice, you need to know in advance that there's a high likelihood people won't take it. It's the nature of giving advice. Plus, your advice might not be the right one. Giving advice is no good if you can't take it.
     
  5. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I'm surprised that people on a writing forum would encourage someone to write a book to get themselves out of relatively dire straights. I've visited forums that do have full-time self-published authors but they've always been pretty level-headed with their advice, certainly in terms of timescales.

    It's totally fair for a bad experience to make you want to stop giving advice, though. Anyway, there's hardly a shortage of people on the Internet willing to share their wisdom so the cyber world will keep on turning without you!
     
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  6. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Dang you guys took it a different way than I did.
    I just understood that he was giving out advice, and if it wasn't the positive happy advice some people expect (Like those who can't handle hearing their manuscript is garbage) and instead lash out at him so he won't give any advice anymore because he's tired of dealing with people who can't take advice politely or constructively.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, I think the OP meant, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that he tried to tell the new writer the reality of writing and everyone on that forum jumped on him like he committed a most heinous crime. To be honest, he gets to have an opinion and offer advice, even if the advice is all negative and no positive. It's on the shoulders of the message receiver how to take it. I like to take a more moderate approach, with advices like 'keep going, but prepare yourself for a struggle. Don't let that stop you, though. It's just something you need to deal with.' Other writers don't go down that route. Jazz is right, though. Your advice might not be the advice the person is looking for, but you get to offer something on the table.
     
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  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hey now, giving advice is one thing; but talking smack and picking fights is another. Let's all just calm down and take deep, deep breaths, shall we? We're all in this together, aren't we?
     
  9. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @domenic.p
    As I posted, I think they just took a different take on what you wrote, they weren't being aggressive.
     
  10. naraethlas
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    naraethlas New Member

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    Or maybe they got just a bit irritated by all the strawmans.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    What the...? Jazz and Shadow did not attack you in any way whatsoever. Why are you attacking them?
     
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  12. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Strawmans?
     
  13. naraethlas
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    naraethlas New Member

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    Strawman arguments, I meant. The ones Domenic threw around while shadowwalker and jazzabel tried to give him their opinions.
     
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  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @domenic.p - First of all, I think your advice to the out-of-work expectant father was spot on. Advising anything else would have been grossly irresponsible. And any forum that would ban someone for such a thing isn't worth belonging to. From the things you've posted here recently, I think you have a lot to offer. I doubt we'd agree on everything, but then if we all agreed, there'd be no need for forums.

    It's frustrating when we give advice that's been carefully thought out and is the product of long study or experience and it's rebuffed by someone who has not studied the matter or has no experience in it. I've even had the experience here where someone has asked for advice on a topic in which I have specific knowledge, I've given the requested advice, and then the person who asked argues with me. In such cases, one can only say, "You asked, I answered. What you do with it is up to you." And I honestly read the posts by @shadowwalker and @jazzabel as advising the same thing.

    One other thing - there are trolls on every forum, including this one - folks who get their jollies arguing just for the sake of arguing. You say, "Left", they'll say, "Right". You say, "Up", they say, "Down". My advice is to ignore them.

    Good advice is good advice. I give it when I can in the hope that it helps someone else and in the knowledge that we are each of us solely responsible for our writing careers. I hope you continue to do so, too.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    ... and this thread is like at an 8. I need it to be at a 3, tops.
     
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  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see any point in replying further. I sincerely wish you much success with your writing @domenic.p . It looks like you already know everything best.
     
  17. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Right on, @EdFromNY, as usual.

    @domenic.p, you have a tendency to state your advice as absolute fact. This is writing we're talking about, and there are very few absolute facts involved. (Like Ed, though, I thought your advice to the guy with the baby on the was was exactly right.)

    One thing you have to understand, though, is that many of the people to whom you are giving advice have been around here quite a while. They've studied writing for at least as long as you have, have written as much, and are also familiar with the publishing industry (some of them, anyway). A few are published. If you approach these people as though you're Moses coming down from the mountain bearing the Word of God, you can expect to get some disagreement.

    For example, you posted a thread about writer's block recently in which you offered your advice in absolute terms. Some of the other members have a lot of experience and have already tried your approach, and they know very well that it's not for them. Don't be hurt when they tell you so. They understand that, while they are not Moses, you aren't, either.

    Keep participating. Your point of view is as valid as any other, and many members here will appreciate it. If some disagree, well, that's fine, too. It doesn't mean they're ignorant; rather, it probably means they're experienced enough to know what works for them. :)
     
  18. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    thanks Ed
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  19. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Here is my advice. Take it or leave it. :)

    If I felt like I was being attacked every time I gave advice, I would really put some thought into why this was. Because a negative backlash is not a normal reaction to advice.

    Some people might argue with some of my advice, some of the time, but if it was a consistent occurrence in my life, then I would stop and consider that there's something not quite right on my end.

    For example, when I go into stores, people don't smile at me, and they tend to move out of my way pretty quickly. People aren't friendly towards me. You know why? Because I'm not friendly towards them. When I go into a store, I'm on a mission to get what I need and get out. On the rare occasion when I go into a store with a big smile on my face and walk slowly. People smile at me. People even talk to me! It's the vibe I give off, and I know this about myself. I know why I get the reactions I get. I've often found a little self-analysis can explain a lot. :)
     
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  20. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Thank you booklover,
    "I kick the dust from my feet."
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You missed @BookLover's point and the reason your posts were removed. So let me emphasize her key point:
    And perhaps the reason you were banned from the other forum wasn't for the reason you thought it was.
     
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  22. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Only one of your comments has been removed, and it was quite out of line.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's an old adage about horses and water.

    Sometimes the horse just ain't thirsty.
    Sometimes the horse is really a mule, but just too stubborn to admit it.
    Sometimes the horse smells something wrong in the water, and is smart to stay away.
    And sometimes the horse comes back later for a cool, refreshing drink.
     
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  24. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm assuming the post that was removed was one that was quoted at least twice by other members responding to it. I am glad I was able to see what that comment was (hence, I think it might have been better off left in) because when someone posts something like that, it shows what kind of person they are, how they respond to advice, and indicates to me whether it is even worth my time to respond to the post.

    Some people just like to stir the pot. Some like to whine. Some like to find evidence that everyone is against them. Those folks are not worth the effort it takes to give advice and will go out of their way to derail anything useful in the thread.

    I was going to say that a forum that bans a member simply for pointing out something negative isn't worth much. But I agree with @GingerCoffee
     
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  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In my experience. friends don't tale up much space. In fact, they generally create more space in the heart than they occupy.

    I can understand not being here to make friends. Saying you have a capacity load of them is saying something else entirely.
    It's advice if it's freely given with no strings.
    If it's given with the requirement that the recipient embrace it eagerly, it's an ego trip, with a pinch of control freak.

    We are all here to learn. In theory. A writer who has nothing left to learn is no longer a writer. He or she has stagnated.
     
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