Wednesday, January 06, 2010

You’re not going to get free writing advice

Rachelle Gardner writes an excellent blog and you should be reading it regularly. She delves into her email box today to answer one of the questions we hear a lot.

She buries a nugget of absolute wisdom in her reply: You’re not going to get free writing advice

By free she doesn't mean you have to pay with money. But you'll have to pay with either time or money. You either hire an editor OR you invest time in finding and participating in a good critique group or attending classes and conferences. One or the other, maybe both, but not NONE of them.

The deafening silence from agents to whom you send queries is actually saying something: you're not close. If you look at those year end stats of mine, you'll see there are those who hear from me even if I'm not saying yes. If you aren't hearing that, you're not in the ballgame.

Rachelle Gardner is a smart agent. Listen to her.


ryan field said...

I'd rather spend time than money. The free learning tools available to writers nowadays are excellent.

Shawn said...

"Good critique group."

This is not an oxymoron. They do exist. When you finally find a crit group that clicks, for the love of Godiva keep it going.

Don't be the toxic d-bag who latches onto the momentum like an attention-starved Chihuahua to his master's heel, grinding productivity to a halt.

Full length manuscript workshop/critiques are exhausting (if you do them right). But you have to give them to get them.

Don't wait until you have your ms finished to look around for help. Build your critKarma in advance.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I feel sorry for the author who sent her that email, I really do, but she needed a reality check.

The act of completing a book in no way obligates anyone to like - or publish - it. Ever.

Dana King said...

Thanks for the link. That's a good post and an interesting blog. I signed up for the feed while I was over there.

I am, as a friend puts it, "pre-published." If there's one thing Ive done right, it is always to say "The book just wasn't good enough" after every rejection. That may not be true (I've had feedback from agents to indicate I've been very close), but it's the only thing I have control over.

No one owes me a shot. I'm not unpublished because I'm an unknown, or because certain groups won't like my stories, or because I'm six-foot-one, or because my name is not gender specific. I'll know for sure I'm good enough when I have a published copy of my book in my hands.

Then I need to get better.

Stephanie said...

I agree with Josin...she did need a reality check. And I don't get why she needs to "pave" the way for her children to be writers....why shouldn't they learn on their own?? I don't have a famous author for a mom...doesn't mean I am doomed to fail as a writer.

Just because you poured 9 years of your life into something does not entitle you to publication or a free pass. Only hard work and dedication AFTER writing that novel will get you there.

It never ceases to amaze me how much info is out there, website, blogs, etc...yet so many writers are completely uninformed.

Linda Rader said...

I like the "silence is an answer" comment. I hear writers who try to read too much into rejection slips. Sometimes the message is just there on the surface and means no more than it ought.

Knowing you are, not yet, in the ballgame is a valuable piece of information and should be catalyst to step up to the next level. As always thanks for posting.

thepopeofbeers said...

Would you recommend looking for a critique group before or after you've finished your manuscript?

Melinda Szymanik said...

the deafening silence from agents after you query? - they're just not that in to you

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

YOWWCH! My arse hurts after that spanking. Might think about sending her my favorite cricket bat (would prabably hurt less)

Steve Stubbs said...

I am reluctant to say this lest it seem I am sucking up, but you really do render a wonderful service with your blog. I don't see what you could possibly be getting out of it, but on behalf of all your readers, thanks for the free writing advice. The people who say nobody gets any free writing advice just don't follow your blog. In this case what we get is inversely proportional to what we pay for it, which, if you understand mathematics, you know means I think your blog is priceless.

Of course, in another sense, if it comes without a price, it is price-less in more ways than one. Both of which I appreciate immensely.

Please by all means carry on.

Betsy Ashton said...

I read Rachelle Gardner's blog every day and I have to disagree with one of her statements. "You are not going to get free writing advice."

Wrong. What you and she both do is provide writing and querying advice that is invaluable. I couldn't pay for the collective wisdom and experience from both of these blogs.

The writer hit the wall and the wall hit back. Now, she has to pick herself up, read her manuscript with a brutal eye, and fix what's wrong.

I wish her luck. She had the guts to stick her neck out. That means she has the passion to continue.

As we used to say back in the 'sixties, "Reality! What a concept!"