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Friday, April 8, 2011

5 Pieces Of Advice I Would Give New Writers

I've been trying to think about some advice I might give to new writers just starting out. Really, you don't need to hear me talk about writing tips, editing, or finding a good publisher. There are tons, and I mean tons, of good articles online that deal with this.

What I would prefer to do is to give some advice about navigating the pitfalls of the social networking world.

This is what I would say:

1. Be careful what you say on Twitter. If you talk about another person, writer, publisher, agent--there is every chance they are going to see it. This goes doubly when talking about reviews. The reviewer is going to see it and so are all the other writers and readers. Its possible no one would see the review if you didn't mention it.

2. Not everyone is who they say they are online. This may seem obvious. (Or maybe not, I'm not that good at this even in Real Life.) Just because a person claims to be something, does not mean they are actually that. Go watch the movie Catfish. The woman in that movie pretended to be hundreds of people. In my case, I know someone pretending to be at least four other people. It's not pretty. Protect yourself and your work from the crazies.

3. Watch out for the Egos. In general, I find that NYT bestselling authors are gracious, nice, kind, and generous. It's the people who have done NOTHING to speak of that love to talk about how fabulous both they and their writing are. A good friend suggested that the best way to handle Twitter, Facebook, etc is to act like the people you admire and not get stuck down in the mud with the mass that is complaining or behaving badly.

4. Find some good people--in a critique group or a forum--and hold onto them. We all need friends out there and I do believe you can find really good friends online. I have. But if you find someone who a lot of people seem to un-friend in one capacity or another, run away. I've had this happen a lot. See comment number 2. Not everyone is who they say they are. And some people have a lot of screen names or pseudonyms. Anyone can create a website. Check track records. Ask people you trust. It is how people behave when no one is watching that counts. (I believe this to be true in REAL life too.)
I do believe it is possible to actually cool off with another person and not to say another bad word about them. Relationships come and go. Good people don't take to Twitter to trash one another.

5. Attend conferences. You learn SO much.

Thats all. Best to all of you. For the record, I spoke in vague terms on purpose. If you don't know who the person is who is pretending to be four other people, I am not going to illuminate it. I don't want to gossip. I just want to encourage everyone to be CAREFUL out there.


  1. Looooove number 3, Rebecca. Well, love it all, but 3 the most. LOL

  2. Great advice, Rebecca! I have to say that so far my experience with twitter, etc has been awesome. I've met so many wonderful and supportive authors through twitter, Six Sentence Sundays, and the RWA. The support I've found has been great.

  3. Sara--Thank you!

    Heather--Its mostly been positive for me too but every once in a while--WOAH.

  4. Such wonderful advice Rebecca.

    I particularly think you nailed it with 2 and 3.

    Thank you for sharing!:D

  5. Great advice Rebecca! Luckily I haven't run into too much of 1-3, but I know of others who have.

    I love my critique group and partners and appreciate all of the feedback I receive. I'll be attending my first conference this year and I'm so excited. :)

  6. Excellent advice. I wish I were less blabby and opinionated about things. I have to remember to curb my mouth and fingers when I'm online as New Author Girl. But after so many years of unfiltered yadda-yadda-yadda it's hard!

  7. Totally agree with 1-4. 5 is out of my league since from my little island, I can barely get out of the water to a big land and conference, :)

    Re: Twitter and FB and other online venues like a blog - be careful what you say. Anything you wouldn't write on a post-it and stick to your forehead for the world to see, Don't Post!

    As for people not being who they pretend to be, I have a tip for that (learned/figured this out belatedly, but better late than never, eh!). When you're looking at a person's profile, see who his/her friends are, and especially if some people are listed as Family. Anyone can come online, craft a fake profile, and friend everyone in the writing world. Face it, we all have writing acquaintances. It's the people who really know us, in the flesh, that proclaim who and what we are. Nothing better than family then to showcase that you are a real person with ties in the outside world.
    Even if Family is not listed, check if there are people with the same family name as the person in their friends list. You can fake one profile, but you can't fake all those real people out there who are part of your family/relatives.

    And lol, I love my crit groups. Have met some of the most amazing people I've had the honour to know through them, and many have become fast and steady friends, people I know I can wholeheartedly count on.

    Great advice, Rebecca. Many would do well to pay heed to your words here.