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The Best Advice I Ever Got Was Never Take Advice

           Before giving me any advice my mentor, June Wilson Read, would lead with “Take it with a grain of salt”. As in “Take it with a grain of salt, but I, the reader, find chapter 7 to be full of useless information. I feel the entire novel could benefit from deleting it entirely.” My version of this is reminding my mentees (or anyone else who cares to hear me blather on) that “The best advice I ever got was never take advice.”

            I cannot stress that enough. Always think for yourself. “Never take advice” doesn’t just apply to your life as a writer. I’ve been writing these advice articles to writers but I feel the need to remind the audience that I only have the knowledge of one person.

            It’s not really a secret I don’t hold self-publishing companies in high regards. But I’ve known plenty of authors who found the right fit for them and their manuscripts with self-publishing companies. I admire them and I’ve enjoyed their books. I’ve read plenty of authors who will blow through every cliché and played out story line, yet have absolutely dazzled me with their brilliant storytelling. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars makes me angry because the author admits outright that although he did massive amounts of research, he ignored every bit of it and made up a type of cancer that didn’t exist for Augustus. His book is so wildly popular it was adapted into a film.

            There is not a person alive that knows everything there is to know about the writing world. When you submit work to a traditional publisher they’re taking an educated guess on how it’s going to do on the market and in front of their readers. Always trust your instincts but remember to keep your ego in your back pocket. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. Don’t forget that whoever is giving you advice cares enough about you and your cause enough to give it. Sometimes it doesn’t always ring out in a pleasant manner. All in all, just be choosy as to which advice you follow and weigh it in your mind before putting it to use.

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