My New Writing Mentor

…and he doesn’t even know it yet… unless he’s read the email I sent praising his work earlier today. 🙂

The man is Dean Wesley Smith, and he reveals things about the writing business that I’ve seen nowhere else. For example (emphasis his):

“That is the only way to do it.”

How often do writers in this business hear that phrase? Some writer or editor or agent telling the young writer to do something as if that something was set in stone. Nope.

The truth is that nothing in this business is set in stone.

Nothing.

And everything is changing so fast, what might have been true three years ago is very bad advice now.

For example, three years or so ago a wonderful new professional writer in one of the workshops here e-mailed a well-written query with ten sample pages and a synopsis of the novel off to an editor in New York from the workshop. The next morning she came out of her room smiling. Overnight, the editor had asked to see the entire book. So being am imp, I went to that publisher’s website and printed off the guidelines, which said in huge letters “No electronic submissions and absolutely no unagented submissions.”

Lucky for her she hadn’t bothered to look at the guidelines, or listen to all the people who said she needed an agent, or believed there was only one way to get her book read at that company.

Now, I would have asked here why she bothered even going to a traditional publisher.

Nothing in this business is set in stone. Nothing.

Of course, that little story about not looking at guidelines will cause massive anger to come at me I’m sure.

As will my question as to why she even bothered with a traditional publisher.

Mr. Smith has been, and is, author, editor, and publisher, so I daresay he knows whereof he speaks. And what he speaks flies in the face of a lot of “conventional wisdom.” Since I often question conventional wisdom myself, it makes sense that I’d enjoy the writings of someone else who does the same thing.

If you’re thinking of trying to be a writer, are actually working on a manuscript already (for NaNo perhaps?), or have one sitting in a drawer or on a shelf gathering dust, read what Dean has to say. He’s a welcome breath of fresh air in an often stodgy business.

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