The Most Annoying Yet Common Writing Forum Answer Ever Given

I have to vent for a minute. I’m going to call it venting rather than ranting, because it’s not something I’m really upset about, just something that annoys me. Here goes:

I’m a somewhat-active member of a handful of writing forums. Most of these places are great sources of advice and encouragement. But there’s one piece of advice I see over and over again that just annoys the crap out of me. It annoys me because it’s no longer a valid answer. What is this incredibly-annoying bit of wisdom that is imparted so often as to reach the status of annoying, you might ask?

“Don’t worry, your agent/publisher will probably change it,” (or can advise you about changing it, or will do it for you) or even worse: “Don’t worry, your agent/publisher will fix it.”

Most often, these little gems are offered to people concerned with their book’s title. Or with pen names. Occasionally it’s said about other things relating to your book (often on the marketing end of things).

Ladies and gentlemen, that advice just doesn’t apply anymore. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. The legacy publishing world is more and more competitive every day. That means if there’s anything that needs to be fixed or even changed in some cases, you’ve already lost the battle.
  2. NOT EVERYONE WANTS A LEGACY PUBLISHER OR AN AGENT.

Ten years ago, it would have been a pretty safe bet to say that 99% of people on writing forums and in writing groups were looking for a legacy publisher or a literary agent and wouldn’t consider self-publishing. Now, I’d say that number is a lot lower. I’d say 50% or more are considering both, and a smaller percentage don’t want anything to do with legacy publishing.

So please, when you’re giving advice to people on writing forums (or elsewhere), don’t offer that as real advice. Just because you’re looking for a legacy publisher doesn’t mean everyone else is. Consider that a lot of people are voluntarily striking out on their own, without the help or guidance of a publisher or agent, and that they’re happy about this (and often successful at it).

Okay, vent over. Hope everyone has a great 4th of July (in the US, or a great week if you’re not in the States)!

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One thought on “The Most Annoying Yet Common Writing Forum Answer Ever Given

  1. Great point Cam. If the subject of your rant were true, why not just have your agent or publisher write the entire work and be done with it.

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