“Expert” Advice

I know I said last time (er…last February) that maybe I’d revive this blog and here it is, 9 months later and I’m just now getting around to another post. Plenty of ideas come to me – there are all kinds of things I can say about writing, revising, editing, indie publishing, etc. There are many topics to cover for this blog that is for other writers, new and experienced alike. But the thing is, when I really start to think about a topic for a post, I can’t help but think, “But who am I to give this advice?”

All kinds of authors and editors give advice on writing – people who are more experienced and knowledgeable than me. Many indies share their “expertise” on becoming successful as a self-published/indie author.

Sure, I’ve written four full-length novels and a novella, but I am by no means an expert in writing and story-telling. Yes, my reviews are excellent and I have a solid readership who love my books. But who am I to give you advice on how to write amazing characters or craft a plot? I feel like a novice myself.

As for being an indie author and self-publishing – I’ve been blessed with tons of success here, too. Most indies don’t sell more than 1,000 books. I’ve sold (not including free downloads) nearly 150,000 books. But am I an expert? Far from it.

Many times I see an author write a blog post – or even a whole book – about craft or marketing or successful indie publishing, and I can’t help but (silently) ask the question, “Who are you to give this advice? What are your credentials? Have you achieved this yourself?” To me, there’s nothing worse than wasting my time on bad information. And when others’ careers and/or livelihoods are at risk, I think it’s even more important to be sure that if you’re going to tell others how to be good at something, you better damn well know what you’re talking about.

And that’s why I have a hard time giving advice on this blog, which is supposed to be geared toward helping other writers. If I don’t feel 100% confident that you’ll achieve your goal if you do it my way, I’m not going to tell you to do it my way.

But then I think, “There’s nothing wrong with sharing what has worked for me so others can at least try it.” And really, that’s my philosophy with all so-called “experts” and the advice they share – read it, learn from it, go into it knowing that it may not work for me. Because that’s how this industry is right now as it goes through some serious growing pains – what works for one person may not work for another.

So that’s the theme of this blog now – “What worked for me and may – or may not – work for you.” Well, the motto needs work, but that’s the philosophy anyway. I’ve always meant for this blog to be for other writers – a place to discuss anything writing and publishing related, and hopefully to help other writers as they embark on or continue this crazy journey of being a writer.

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year and as it kicks off tonight at midnight, I imagine I’ll have a lot of thoughts on the writing process over the next 30 days. I’ll share those thoughts here, as time and my brain cells allow. Will this blog be chock-full of the answers you need as you’re writing your own NaNo novel? Um, no. But hopefully you might find something inspiring that sends you on your way of discovering your own answers, or, at the least, encourages you to keep going because you know you’re not alone in your struggles.

Then, when NaNo ends, who knows? Maybe this blog can be permanently revived with at least monthly posts about writing and indie publishing (and all things related). For now, let’s get through the next month. 50,000 words, here I come!

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