Do-It-Yourself vs. Professional Help

Writer Unboxed

Yesterday was my regular contribution to Writer Unboxed. I discussed how some independent authors are putting their work out there with zero professional help. Here’s a snippet:

Working with professionals should challenge you. It should raise the bar. You’ll probably feel some doubts about the quality of your work. This is a good thing. Professionals usually understand and build off your strengths, and minimize the appearance of your weaknesses.

One of first things I teach my writing students is you need someone you trust to push you—to tell you where things aren’t working. Most people don’t have that gift of being so distant from their work that they can see objectively where it’s succeeding or failing. Even the writers who DO have that power usually have decades of experience and self-knowledge—from being pushed.

Yes, my argument does mean: To develop to your maximum potential, you need someone to create a little discomfort.

Go read the entire piece.

Posted in E-Books, Getting Published.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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Patricia Gligor

I couldn’t agree more. It always amazes me that, after I’ve proofed and edited a piece of my writing numerous times and am convinced it’s the best I can make it, I can go back to it and still find something that needs to be changed. It could be as simple as a one letter typo or as extensive as a major rewrite. There is definitely immeasurable value in having a professional read your work.

Jeanine Jarrell

I always appreciate someone who is brutally honest with me, even if it’s uncomfortable. Pearls are only created with a little agitation. Thanks!

Irving Podolsky

Critical feedback, it’s SO important! I have always given my work out to readers in stages, hoping to catch an off-course drift before I get totally lost in the story. Up until my last published novella, my instincts held and the feedback validated my choices rather than shift them. But my last piece, I wrote totally within a bubble, and whoa, what a wake-up call to discover that the story didn’t hang together at all! And gee, I followed all the rules! What happened? I know what happened. Needing to fill content for my blog, I wrote “product.” And I… Read more »