6/4/09

Bad Advice

What is the worst advice you've seen someone (like from another blog or a writer's book) give a writer?

The absolute worst advice I've seen is recommending that you NOT follow the publisher's submission guidelines.

The guidelines have been created because they make things go more smoothly within the publishing house. You may not like the hoops you have to jump through, but if you want to work with that publisher, you need to jump through them anyway.

The next worst advice is that you don't need to worry about getting your manuscript perfect because your editor will fix it, and as a tangent to that, to purposely leave in something "bad" because editors feel like they have to change something and that will give them something to change and they'll leave the rest of your book alone.

That is just ridiculous! First, if your manuscript is too far from perfect, it will be rejected because it will take to long to clean it up. Second, editors don't have time to fix things that don't need fixing. Leaving in something "bad" is just idiocy and makes you look like an inconsistent writer.

One last piece of bad advice is to look at what's hot and then write a formulaic novel based on the current trend.

This is just so wrong. Formulaic novels are usually boring and will be rejected. And by the time your book makes it through the publishing process, the current trend will most likely be old news.

3 comments:

David J. West said...

Hearing people ask "What is hot right now?" at the Storymakers conference, was disturbing to me.

I can't think of a single novel written to go with the flow that ever had life beyond its 15 seconds of "In the tradition of" or "Its just like . . . ."

People need to write what they are passionate about. It's also disheartening to read online, all the people that say they can't break into the LDS market, so they won't write for it anymore.

The LDS market needs more variety and it's always gonna need fresh blood. If you think you are gonna be good enough for the national market, prove it and get something done in this one.

I'm not picking on anybody in particular, I just hate to see people say they tried, couldn't make it and give up. Life is an ongoing struggle and as a friend said to me "Books are never done, we just quit working on them."

Haley Hatch Freeman said...

This is a great post and I liked David's comment. I too was surprised when someone asked that question at the Storymakers conference.

Stephanie Black said...

I do think that there is a legitimate side to the "what's hot" question, but it's a genre answer (e.g. YA fantasy)versus a niche within that genre (e.g. vampire books). Trying to jump on a DaVinci Code or a Twilight bandwagon may be a losing proposition, but knowing that, for instance, sci fi is a tough sell in the LDS market but suspense sells much more easily can help you decide where to focus if you're targeting that market. You might be passionate about more than one genre, and knowing what publishers are currently buying can help you focus on something that will be easier to sell.