Beware – The Mentor

Posted by on Mar 13, 2019 in Busybird | 0 comments

There are lots of people out there offering fast, nasty mentoring packages. They’re fast, because the mentor wants the quickest turnaround possible, which inflates their bank account. And they’re nasty because, often, the mentor knows very little about writing, or the publishing industry – if anything, they know just enough to bluff their expertise.

Usually, some sort of formula is offered – a methodology to plan and write the book that’s tantamount to connecting the dots. The aspiring author just has to provide the content. Then you get the picture.

There you go: book complete.

Right?

 

Does this method work?
I would be wary of any formula that is applied to writing. Writing is an industry where the execution doesn’t fit a set template. Yes, there are precepts we all observe – e.g. the three-act structure – but they act as a foundation on which you can build your vision. To say that you must build X amount of chapters, and they must contain this and that is constricting.

Now the wily author – one who has a good idea of what they want to do – could exploit such a methodology to get the most out of what they want to write. In writing, there’s a tried but true adage: You have to know the rules before you can break them. So prospective authors can make this work for them.

But if you’re diffident, uncertain, and/or looking for genuine guidance, then I’d ask if writing this way is the best way forward for you.

 

So all these packages are scams?
No. There are good people out there. The issue arises in publishing because often, prospective authors are inexperienced and unfamiliar with the landscape. It’s easy for anybody to prey on that inexperience, and sell bluster as the norm under the umbrella, This is how publishing works. How can the inexperienced author know any better?

It’s important to do your due diligence. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask as many questions as you need. In any situation where you’ll be paying for a service, you’re entitled to ask questions about how that service works. It’s YOUR right.

If the person you’re dealing with can’t answer those questions, grows abrupt, or resorts to bluster, then are they really going to be right for you?

 

Think about WHY you’re writing a book.
There’s that old saying, Everybody has a book in them. It’s true. And there’re plenty of valid reasons to write a book, such as:

  • to showcase your expertise in your field, e.g. life coaching, business, health
  • to sell a methodology, e.g. how to make money investing
  • to tell the story of your life
  • to record for posterity the history of an organization, business, or community
  • writing about a particular topic, e.g. butterflies.

Or you might be working on:

  • a novel
  • a short story anthology
  • a collection of poetry.

Some people ask if there’s any value in trying to write a book. Does the world really need another book? Especially from somebody who’s never considered writing before? It’s a perfectly valid question that can be answered by exploring what you mean by value.

If you want to write a book because you believe you have a bestseller, that you’re going to become rich and famous, and you’re going to quit your 9–5 job, that’s not a valid reason.

We write this enough on this blog: there’s no way to guarantee a bestseller. You might as well play lotto. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. But you shouldn’t be going all-in.

If you have knowledge you want to share, a story you want to tell, or just the passion to put yourself out there, then those would be valid reasons.

It all comes back to one simple truth: we are all unique, and therefore we all have something unique to share. Packages that try to formularise writing are depriving you of your uniqueness and trying to make you – and whatever you want to try – common.

You are unique.

Be unique.

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