The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Stop listening to my writing advice

On my Facebook profile and page, I blasted (once again) the high number of writers offering writing advice blogs, free advice Kindle books, webinars, and other forms of purported gospel for newer writers. Certainly, no other profession suffers from the unending deluge of drivel telling others how to do their jobs better.

adviceI thought of all this again after reading a post about the a supposed solute necessity of launching an author’s newsletter. The writer said that our sales depend on them. If somebody tells you their newsletters are creating sales, go look at their Amazon ranking and see what their sales are.

I don’t subscribe to any authors’ newsletters and I find plenty of books to read. If I were to subscribe, it would either a newsletter written by a close friend I wanted to keep up with or a well-known author who has multiple projects that I wouldn’t hear about without a newsletter.

No doubt, some writers do well with a monthly or quarterly newsletter. I take exception to the idea that the newsletter is a must for everyone.

The same can be said for a lot of marketing/writing advice. It happens to work for one writer–or they just read some posts about it and got excited about it–so pretty soon they’re dispensing that advice like it’s gospel. I don’t want to be unkind, but a lot of this advice seems to come from folks whose writing/teaching/marketing credentials suggest they don’t have the kind of track record that warrants them setting themselves up as experts.

I taught writing in college and worked as a corporate communications director in a variety of places. Naturally, I collected a few ideas about what seems to work and what doesn’t. The thing is, I like or dislike those ideas based on how they fit my personality, work schedule and sales experience. What works for me may well be disastrous for you.

A lot of advice is subjective. Some of it’s practical, allowing you to see right away whether it, say, helps you format your manuscript for Kindle or set up an audiobook. There’s no reason why one can’t experiment with the subjective advice (like seeing if you can write without an outline) or try out the nuts and bolts practical stuff.

Otherwise, anything that looks like advice is, at best, a suggestion or a notion or possibly a darned crazy idea. Take it all with a grain of salt, including whatever I may suggest on this blog. You know how to write using what works for you. I can’t possibly tell you that and, even though he’s written a very nice book about writing techniques, neither can Stephen King.


CWCaudioI’m happy to announce that the audiobook edition of Conjure Woman’s Cat came out a lot faster than I expected.




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4 thoughts on “Stop listening to my writing advice

  1. I honestly think the best marketing technique is to write a good book, and then (sure, while trying some of the things other authors suggest) hope for a lot of luck.

  2. I think Stephen King did a disservice to writers with his writing handbook. I know he works at his craft (or rather I assume so), but he got published at such a young age — even found an editor at a publishing company interested in him even before he wrote anything the editor considered publishable — that anything King says is suspect. He more or less fell into it, more or less was born with a prodigious talent, has now spent his entire life writing. His ideas work for him. I generally unfriend people who quote from that worthless little book.

    • I don’t try his ideas, but have heard a lot of writers raving about them. Of course, it’s hard to figure people and their advice when they seem to luck into their careers. Fortunately, I don’t have the book. 🙂

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