I can honestly say that you don't get better advice about the industry, than advice from someone in the industry. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised. Think about it. When you need investment advice, do you ask someone who isn't into investments? When you need promotional advice, do you go to your mom and ask, or do you ask someone who also promotes stuff? When you need a job, do you ask homeless Uncle Bob which places offer the best compensation package? When you buy shirts, do you get fashion advice from a nudist? I think not.
You ask people who are in the business of knowing what you need input on. Hopefully.
I have received some of the best advice in the writing industry from other authors who've been there. I haven't always listened at the time. They haven't always been right. But usually, there's a kernel in there which can direct you if you use a little common sense, and good judgment.
For example. I have two pen names. Mia Watts who writes guy-on-guy sex, and menages. Katie Blu who writes guy-on-girl sex, and menages. It wasn't always that way.
Carol Lynne, manlove author extraordinaire and all around fantastic woman, told me that I should never mix male/female books with male/male books. She said my fans wouldn't like it and that it would confuse my branding. I thought, "Bah, I know what I'm doing!"
After a year of mixing the two genres under Mia Watts, I have come to the (financially) painful reality that indeed, it matters. Your readers want to find you. They want to know what to expect when they pick up your book. It's taken me this long, but I've finally begun splitting the two areas, by reviving Katie and giving her a genre platform.
Another example. Fabulous author, Wicked writer, and friend, Regina Carlysle told me: Submit your work to the houses that pay. Makes sense, right? Yeah, except I had my nose out of joint about something, burned the damn bridge down, and took my hurt feelings somewhere else. TWO YEARS later, I grovelled. It's a matchstick bridge I'm creating, and the other side might just blow it down, but I'm trying, and I have permission to submit there. Trust me when I say that this was another financial mistake I've made.
These are two instances where my friends were exactly right. There are so many more to choose from, though. Even when they aren't right, they still are, because their experiences have taught them something very valuable. The fact that it doesn't work for you means you have to re-evaluate those circumstances to fit your current writing climate. That's part of learning, growing, becoming the author you want and need to be.
So you can take a few things from this entry. 1) Always listen to someone in the industry, when asking about something in the industry. 2) Never trust my financial instincts. 3) I'm stubborn, but I do eventually admit when I'm wrong. 4) I trust my friends. So should you.
I'm opening this up. What have you learned about the industry that you want to share with others? What was the hard lesson, and what should you have done? If genre matters to that choice, please share what it is. Let's grow from each other.
And that's my touchy-feely message of the week. Next week, back to regular programming.