Last autumn I ran a short series of blog posts called They Had It Coming, Indeed, in which I analysed a single article written by David A Rozansky, proprietor of Flying Pen Press. My analysis was detailed and pedantic and ran to five posts and a bit, which was significantly longer than the original piece. I’ve recently been asked why I wrote it: the article concerned was no worse than a lot of other articles out there; and wasn’t that an awful lot of effort to put into debunking just one little article?
Both points were right, of course: but as usual there’s far more to it than that.
There’s an awful lot of publishing-related information on the internet which is false, misleading, untrue. Call it what you like, the end results are the same: aspiring writers believe what they read, and why wouldn’t they? the articles are usually written with a tone of authority, and seem to come from reputable and experienced people. Those aspiring writers place their trust in those apparently knowledgeable people, follow their advice, and in so doing they lose rights to their writing, publish their books in all sorts of horrible ways, waste years of their time and sometimes thousands and thousands of pounds, and along the way they screw up their writing careers–perhaps forever.
I know this is the worst possible scenario: but my guess, based on years of reading writers’ blogs and message boards, is that it’s more common than the alternative–which is that aspiring writers read those articles, realise they’ve got more make-believe in them than DisneyLand, and ignore them.
What I hoped to provide was an illustration of how I, and many publishing professionals, react to such pieces, and why; and that my illustration would help new writers work out what was true and what wasn’t when they venture out onto the internet alone.
I hope I managed to do that, even on a very small scale.