Those of you who’ve waited (nearly forever!) for a consolidated version of my serial novel, MASTER OF THE OPERA, it starts shipping from Books a Million tomorrow. It’s in paper only. If you want to read it digitally, you still have to by each of the six episodes separately. Good news is that the first episode is FREE. So you can try it out and see if you like the story – then go for digital or paper, as you please.
Other housekeeping items:
The second New Release Newsletter from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) goes out tomorrow! Subscribe to learn about new releases from the best-selling Sci Fi and Fantasy writers out there, AND have a chance to win free books! You can sign up here.
Also, I’m teaching an online class on writing sex scenes starting tomorrow. Getting Away from Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am – only $15 for non-members of OIRWA!
Now, on to what you really came here for. A bit of a rant on listening to advice.
So, yesterday I was at my nail salon, getting a manicure. The place is run by two Vietnamese sisters and their husbands. The sisters sit next to each other (which I find fascinating, but that’s another story) and my gal’s sister was doing the nails of a lady who must be a lawyer. The sister’s husband took notes as lawyer gal gave them advice on dealing with a construction/contractor problem on their house. She told them exactly what to say, how to say it and when to escalate.
It was all really good advice and they were lucky that she shared it so freely.
That said, not all advice is good advice. Free or purchased.
The thing to remember is that people LOVE to give advice. I’m not exactly sure why, because it can be a time suck and often you can put a lot of effort in trying to give thorough, solid advice and then the person who asked doesn’t listen. Of course, there are plenty of people who try to make careers of advice-giving. Those are the ones who charge huge amounts to teach you how to write a bestseller or how to be a millionaire. (I’m cynical – I always want to know why they aren’t making money by writing bestsellers or making millions a different way.)
Hopefully this isn’t ironic, given that I pimped my online course above. 😀 However, I didn’t teach writing or give writing advice for a really long time – until I thought I had something solid to give. And my point today goes beyond writing advice, though it certainly centers there. My author loops are full of people offering their opinions, sometimes insisting on the rightness of their advice and battling others to “win.” A dubious trophy, at best. Twitter has the #pubtip hashtag which *anyone* can toss up there – which means the advice can be good or atrocious. Very often the latter.
And people’s friends and families – usually well-meaning – give tons of advice. A newbie writer messaged me recently, apologetically asking for advice on querying agents, etc. I was happy to answer her questions, as she asked very nicely and has supported my books. I was sorting through a bunch of misinformed ideas she had, when she mentioned that her family had told her a bunch of it, particularly regarding the publishing industry and self-publishing. I had to tell her to stop listening to her family. I’m sure they’re lovely people, but their “advice” seemed to be entirely drawn from skewed media stories. Not that self-publishing isn’t a viable option – of course it is. But what the media likes to broadcast and what’s the real scoop can be two wildly different critters.
My point is that, with all things, when listening to advice, consider the source – particularly their motivation and their experience.
As I mentioned above, people have a wide range of motivations for giving advice. Some of the time it’s to make money off of people, which is at least straightforward. A whole bunch of the time it’s to feed their egos. Spreading advice and opinions is a great way to pump up one’s feeling of self-worth and mastery of a topic. I’m sure I’m guilty of this from time to time, but mostly I try to restrain myself to giving advice only when I think it’s because it can be helpful. I believe this is the only motivation to trust.
As far as experience, there’s a Catch-22 in that the people with the most experience and the best advice to give are frequently way too busy to give it. Beware of people with so much free time that they can spend it giving lots of advice. Conversely, when someone with lots of experience in a subject offers you advice, listen to it! The lawyer next to me at the salon knew her stuff. The advice she gave was probably worth $500 and hour and she gave it for free – or maybe for the price of a manicure – and they listened diligently. I’d even add that the advice is particularly valuable if it contradicts ideas you already had. That doesn’t mean you have to take it – but it does mean you’ve been given something you didn’t have before.
And that’s my advice. For what it’s worth. 😀
Happy weekend, everyone!
The whole week of the RWA National Conference is a major whirlwind of activity. I try to post stuff online via my phone, but it’s really hard to keep up with replies. All those real-life people interfere with the online conversations! I also try to post nuggets of wisdom I hear in workshops and panels, mostly to Twitter. People really seem to love those and often begin following me on Twitter as a result. Which is lovely, of course, but it creates this backlog of follows for me to retrace and then decide whether to followback.
I know some people pay no attention to the follow notifications. Others automatically follow everyone back. I pick and choose via a shifting system that’s pretty subjective, but does follow a few rules. I thought I’d share them here.
1) How many followers vs. people they follow?
As of this writing, I have 3,958 followers and I follow 2,630. No way I keep track of everyone I follow. I use lists in Tweetdeck to see what I can, which the last statistics I saw indicated is around 200 people on average. Apparently that’s about as many as a human can really keep up with. So, when somebody follows upwards of 10,000 people? I’m dubious. If they follow just a few hundred more people than follow them, I’m HIGHLY suspicious. If they have huge numbers of followers and follow very few, I know they only want to collect my follow and will unfollow as soon as possible so they can broadcast to me. No. Just no.
2) Hashtags in the Profile
Easy decision. Makes me think they’re only in it to market. An instant decision for me there.
3) No profile.
Either lazy, a scammer or just wanting to lurk and view. No need to followback.
4) A plea to followback in the profile or the #teamfollowback hashtag.
5) Lots of book titles in the profile.
This is a maybe. Lots of authors follow me and plenty do this. It’s not an instant no, but it’s a flag. I want to follow and support people, not be bombarded with pleas to buy their books. I don’t KNOW that they’ll do this, which is why it’s only a flag, but it increases the likelihood in my mind.
At this point, if I’m still a maybe – and a nicely done profile without follower/followee imbalances would already be a yes – I look at the timeline.
6) Is it full of thanks to people for following back?
Depending on how much, this is a no as I’m inclined to think they’re simply collecting followers.
7) Is it full of promo for something or other?
No no no.
8) Is it all output and no replies or conversations?
No. I’m not interested in reading a billboard.
9) Is it all retweets or inspirational quotes?
Eh. Nothing against that, but also nothing to interest me. No.
10) Did you unfollow me?
This comes much later. I get a weekly report from Tweepsmap that tells me how many followed that week, how many unfollowed and other metrics. For the most part I don’t look at it. Some of the maps are fun. I don’t look at who followed, because I already do that via notifications. I do usually look at who unfollowed, just to see if I still follow them. The majority – and I seem to get 15-20/week – are ones I did not followback, which is fine. They were either in it to get me to follow and quit me when I didn’t (or planned to do so on a certain schedule anyway), or didn’t like following me, which is also fine. But I don’t need to follow them. That isn’t to say that I don’t follow people who don’t follow me back – there are plenty of those. This is only people who followed me first and never gave any value back.
All of this said, I occasionally miss new followers – like when I’m crazy at a conference! – and the surest way to entice me to followback is to talk to me. Say something! When people reply to me I always look to see if I’m following and remedy that, if not.
Of course, there was that one guy who kept replying to me with annoying mansplaining, then would chide me for not following back, declaring his intent to give me EVEN BETTER content so I *would* followback. Yuck. He eventually went away.
So, what about all you Twitter people – any rules of thumb you use on deciding followbacks that I missed? Or maybe mine that you don’t agree with?
I’m over at Word Whores, sharing the shiniest nuggets I picked up at the RWA National Convention.
We meant to do that…
But that’s not what I’m eating crow about. This week’s topic in the Bordello is: What did you say you’d never do in a book, and then did? Click over to Word Whores to hear my embarrassing story!
Also, I’m teaching an online class in August!
**CLASS BEGINS** Sexual Tension – Getting Away from Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am. Presenter: Jeffe Kennedy. August 1–15, 2015. Outreach International Romance Writers, http://www.oirwa.com/forum/campus/#AUG1
Sexual Tension – Getting Away from Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am
Presented by Jeffe Kennedy
Dates: August 1–15, 2015
Deadline August 1, 2015
Fee: OIRW Member $10
Fee: Non-Member $15
Registration: Non Members
Registration: OIRW Members