The Value of Professional Opinions

Right now is a great time to be in the world of publishing. There are a half a gagillion ways to bring your books to readers. And I'm not just talking indie versus traditional. We have a resurgence of episodic novels, blogged novels, graphic novels, and options that are only limited by what creative people can dream. With this massive conglomeration of options comes an exponential amount of professional opinions in how to maximize on all these opportunities. Choosing the right advice can be like picking the shiniest side of a diamond.

Oh! Shiny! source
So here are my two tips for wading through all the roads of paved gold advice.

1. Validate "professional"
The ease of publishing information out there in the wide web is a double edged sword. You can really find anything you might want to know. Someone, somewhere has a site or post sharing exactly what you need. But with that mass of information is the ability for anyone to post anything.

The writing community is amazing and I doubt people would purposely mislead others with bad information. That said, there will be individuals who dispense information without the appropriate experience or knowledge. While shared with the best of intentions, taking advice from someone without the credentials to back it up can lead even the best of us astray.

Let me add here that credentials in the publishing world don't come from fancy degrees or even prestigious titles. In this industry, professionals earn their standing through time, effort, hard work and paying their "dues". An unpublished writer who's spent years in the query trenches can have just as valuable advice to offer as a successful bestseller.

2. There isn't a single right opinion
It wouldn't take you very long to find two conflicting pieces of advice out there from two people who pass the "professional" test from tip #1. It doesn't mean that one opinion is right and one is wrong. It does mean you have multiple options.

Let me be the first to say that it's perfectly okay to disagree with any advice I dispense. The truth is, something I suggest here might be the exact opposite of what you should do. And it might be perfect for someone else. Just like there is no one right way to publish your book, there's no one right way to plan it, write it, edit it, or market it. 

What does this mean for you? On the downside, you can't find a single website and get the perfect formula for everything you need to know about publishing. On the positive, you can pick and choose the best advice that makes sense to you and ignore the rest.

So don't be afraid of disagreeing with someone or carving your own path, even if it takes you in the opposite direction of the norm. Because the "norm" of publishing doesn't exist anymore.