March 4, 2016
It’s great to get advice on your writing, isn’t it? I find it exciting when somebody reads your writing and compliments you for how good it is. I like the comments that really help you with your writing that pesky book, such as, “This scene should be a little stronger here” or “the method you used to write this scene should be used also in this other scene,” stuff like that. The more helpful comments, the greater your writing will be.
In 2014, I had just finished writing and editing my book The Magic Suitcase and was ready to publish it. While looking for information online about writing a query letter, I came across these writing forums. The name of it should remain silent. I thought that it’d be fun to submit query letter to fellow writers on the forum and get fun writing advice on it like the examples I stated above… Boy, was I wrong!
Now if you are a member of a writing forum and found it good use to you, that’s fine. But to all the writers out there who are looking to publish your book and need advice: WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT BECOME A MEMBER OF A WRITER’S FORUM AND SUBMIT YOUR WORK THERE. I’m stating this from experience. In 2014, when I was ready to “post” my new query letter for my book, a query letter I worked my hardest at, I couldn’t do so until I had commented on at least 60 posts.
Now how stupid is that. You want your query letter to be criticized but you cannot be a part of the writing forum process until this rule is reached? So here I found myself wasting hours of time, precious hours of my life, commenting on posts until I was able to submit my query letter to the fellow writers of the world. Then, not only did I receive feedback, it was NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. There’s nothing worse than writers telling you that you’re an awful writer and the book, which is a fantasy novel, sounds unrealistic. Of course it’s unrealistic – it’s fantasy. You don’t see dragons and magic suitcases in every day life, do you? No. Then, one of the people who’d commented decided to follow me on Twitter and was both very cruel and rude to me and one of my good friends. I ended up having to block them. That same query letter, by the way, is the same that got me a publishing contract!
A couple weeks ago, having forgotten all the bad news about writers forums, I went back to it. Oh, and by the way, there’s no possible way to delete your account in writers forums. I even messaged the administrators of the forums requesting both information on how to delete my account and also requested they delete it themselves. No answer whatsoever. I looked everywhere in Settings and there’s no place where you can delete it. The only thing left to do is make myself invisible, so the rest of my life, I’ll have an unused account on there.
Anyway, I temporarily went back to it, which was a stupid idea. The only thing I’d wanted to do was submit a post advertising my services, since I’d found a thread where you could do so. I’d read the guidelines: “Editors, if you would like to offer your pay services, please post it here.” So I did. The first person who commented was making fun of my post instead of asking about my services. When I had mentioned my professional credentials, they had said “I don’t think you have the capabilities of a professional editor. You’re certainly not acting professional.” And they went line by line from the post I’d published, criticizing every little thing I’d said. Furious, I marked the comment as “harassment.” I did this twice, hoping that the administrators would remove the post so that other people could benefit from my services. Instead, the administrators ignored my “harassment” flag and removed MY post. They’d said, “Please stop soliciting on our website!” Uh-hello? That’s exactly what you’d wanted me to. It’d been quite clear in the post guidelines.
Writers, if you want your work to be edited or another person’s opinion on it, make sure you submit it to somebody you trust, even if it’s only a query letter. If you submit it to beta readers, make sure that the beta readers are not found through writing forums, for that will only get you into trouble. Writers, take my word for it. I’ve seen members on these writing forums where their profile shows they’ve had 5,000, 10,000 or more posts. These people have nothing better to do all day every day than to go on a social media website, which is essentially what it is, and criticize other people’s writing in an ugly way. They will make fun of you and threaten you and no matter how much you mark it as harassment, the admins will not take your side. They will see you as an uniformed newbie who knows nothing about writing forums.
Folks, life is too short to be wasting your life that way. There’s really no point when your writing is amazing as it is and deserves so much better than that. Submit it to people who you trust who will give you positive feedback and criticism, and not say you’re a terrible writer or don’t know how to write a query letter or other writing work. There are tons of writers out there who get published every day without the use of writing forums. It’s a cruel service, it gives you absolutely no benefit, and it comes with a terrible price. Please, please, please. You’re a wonderful writer and your work is amazing no matter what needs to be changed and no matter what these mean people from forums think of it. Don’t become a member of these forums. Not doing so will give you far better and far more rewarding results.
Hope you all have a wonderful week.