Q4U: Too Much Information?
It seems the more information and advice we give via our blogs, workshops, webinars and books, the more writers clamor for even more detailed advice. It also seems writers are stressing more about the details of publishing than ever before. Even with all the information available, one commenter on yesterday’s post said “good, comprehensive and transparent information is extremely hard to find” and called it one of the “flaws of the industry.” I’m flabbergasted by that. If you shop on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble, you will find hundreds of books on every aspect of getting published—many of them “comprehensive and transparent.” Don’t even get me started on the number of blogs and websites out there.
All I can conclude is that there is so much information available that it becomes confusing, because much of it is contradictory (coming, as it does, from different sources). This leads writers to pull out their hair in frustration and beg us for definitive answers. But isn’t it obvious that definitive answers don’t exist?
You have to write the best book you can, properly query agents, and see what happens. Beyond that, there are countless views on exactly what process to follow. You can keep asking until the cows come home but you’re not going to get that one magical piece of advice that is going to finally bring you success.
Maybe part of the problem is that we agents are giving so much information on our blogs—like how to write a query letter, etc.—that writers are becoming paranoid that they must do everything perfectly, so they keep asking for more and more tips on how to reach that perfection.
I wonder if writers’ frustration about the “lack of information” is really not that at all, but simply the age-old frustration about a difficult and time-consuming process that they wish were easier.
I’m just thinking out loud here. Help me out. What do you think about the flow of information regarding publishing? Is it true there is not enough of it?
If there’s enough information, why are writers still frustrated? And why do so many people write me with the most basic publishing questions imaginable, that could be answered fifty different ways from one quick Google search?
I’m interested in your answers. Have a good weekend!