Readers of blogs are consumers of information. There are blogs on virtually every subject known to man -- and plenty that you wouldn't want to know about. A few of them are interesting and/or useful, most of them are filled with nonsense. Included among that nonsense is a lot of bad advice, especially with regards to writing and publishing.
So here's a friendly reminder; a little something to keep in mind when wasting time on the blogosphere:
- If a person offers you advice on how to get published, find out if that person is published. If not, does he offer some other legitimate credentials? (E.g., he's an agent or editor.) If not, you might want to look at his advice with a skeptical eye.
- If a person offers you advice on how to have success in your writing career, try to find out how much success they've had in their writing career. How many books have they published? Who published them? Are they still in print? Have they made any of the bestseller lists? Have they gotten significant reviews? Have they won any awards? If you've never heard of the writer, never heard of their books, perhaps their strategies are not as effective as they reckon.
- If a person offers you advice on how to become a bestselling writer, first determine if that advice has worked for him. If he's not a bestselling writer, perhaps it's because his advice doesn't work.
- If a person offers you advice on how to become a better writer, read some of that person's writing. Is it any good? If not, reconsider how much credence you want to give that advice.
- If a person offers you advice on how to break into Hollywood, find out if that person has broken into Hollywood.
- If a person recommends publisher XYZ or literary agency ABC, do some research. Find out who those companies publish or represent. If you've never heard of any of their books or authors, ask yourself if these are the right people for you to be in business with.
- If a person recommends you pay them or anyone else for publishing, representation, editorial services, a review, reading your manuscript, or anything else, be very, very wary. Chances are better than good that you're being conned.
- Yes, that's right: even those very nice people who promise to make your every dream come true. Them too.
A person does not necessarily have to have done something in order to provide sound, useful information on the subject. However, before you go taking advice from some random person on the internet, it would behoove you to discover if that person has a legitimate basis from which to offer that advice. If they don't, you're probably better off clicking onward and finding something else to occupy your time.
(Note: I'm writing this with masculine pronouns because the first time through I tried using a lot of he/shes, etc. and it just looked clunky. So feel free to substitute feminine pronouns where appropriate.)