When Taking Advice, Check Their History

This post is inspired by Seth Godin’s article “Is everyone entitled to their opinion?”

On the internet, there’s a lot of buzz.  Everyone has an opinion, but are their opinions right for you?  Should you take their advice?

When looking at someone’s advice, take a look at their record.  Can they back up their opinion with results?  Do the authors or marketing “experts” out there telling you how to sell your book have sales to back up their methods?  Check their sales rankings where they sell books.  If someone is telling you marketing techniques that work and if they aren’t selling their own books, then just how well do you think that advice is going to work for you?  Now, if you can find someone who does successfully sell who has the same advice, then it’s worth taking note.  But I suggest following the person who has the sales record to back themselves up because the sales record is proof of their expertise on a subject.


  1. lornafaith says:

    This is so true:) It is important to look at a person’s track record and see they can back up what they say. I’ve made this mistake before of just following someone’s opinion and then of course lived to regret it;( Thanks for post Ruth…always a good reminder!

    1. Yep, I’ve made the same mistake of following someone’s opinion, and this person was very much out of touch with what my fans wanted. After my fans set me straight on what they wanted, I reversed the mistake, but I confused some new readers in the meantime (which wasn’t fun).

  2. Morgan Curtis says:

    You got that right. I used to go to a forum full of pretentious people who were experts on writing, freely handing out advice and tearing down anyone who didn’t agree with the core group of posters. After a while I noticed there was never any advice on marketing and figured out that none of them had even published a book. They took great pride in being above the lowly people going with self-publishing. (and going to the bank)

    I found this site after reading “Where’s the Money” and got great advice and encouragement from both the book and the website. Thank you and keep up the good work. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Morgan! I should go and update some new methods I’ve been using for promotion in that book. Since I had some books stolen, I can’t use a first draft blog anymore, so I’ve been experimenting with some other ways to attract attention to upcoming books. The character interviews to go with excerpts has been beneficial mostly to current fans. It gives them a reason to subscribe to my blog and gets them excited about the book. I’ve also run giveaways once in a while. But I still find the first book in a series or in the same “world” works best to reach new readers, but free is best when there are other books out there.

      Regarding your comment on the forum, I’ve seen forums like that, too. From time to time I search through forums to see what’s going on, and it seems to be the same thing by the same group of people. What’s unfortunate is that they drive newcomers away who might have a better way of doing things. Places like that are toxic.

  3. Reblogged this on writingvortex and commented:
    Great advice, as usual.

  4. Honestly, I’m as worried about those people who write books telling us how to write books. I’ve often wondered what makes those people experts. There again, we need to check them out. For instance, I would follow Stephen King’s advice. It’s obvious why. But what about those writers who don’t write fiction…they only write books telling YOU how. Why would they have a clue about how to write fiction? Am I making any sense?

    1. You are, and I agree with you. I love reading author blogs, especially when they share their experiences (good and bad). I learned most from their blogs when I was starting. I found out who they were by going to The Creative Penn because Joanna Penn would interview a wide variety of authors who had techniques that worked for them. So then I would go and read what they had to say and compare them to the authors who write about writing and marketing but never did fiction. There seems to be a difference between the two most of the time. People who never did fiction seem to be big into spamming and paying for promotion.

  5. mmromance says:

    Great advice and very timely. It’s amazing how many marketing gurus can’t sell their own novels to save their lives.

    1. So true. I’m amazed at how many marketing novels are out there. For the fun of it, I check their rankings and the reviews to get an idea if anything they’re telling authors to do is helping or hurting their sales. I think the advice that makes me sick to my stomach is for authors to invest a lot of money to publish their books, even if they have to sell a car. Then the person advised them to pay for a huge publicity package ($5K or more) to sell the book. (That advice was given at a writer’s conference. I wish I had attended that workshop so I could have argued that one.)

  6. Excellent post. I’ve seen the odd bit of advice from people who have thought they knew everything… and it just came across as strange to me, something to be wary of.

    1. Yep. I’ve heard and read some advice that made me think there was no way it would work, and later on, I realized I was right. I think most of marketing is common sense.

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