Hi there, Sugar here. So I have a secret. Before I sold DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD to St. Martin’s Press I never spent a dime on learning how to write. Oh I joined the RWA and my local chapter. I went to the monthly meetings, I read a lot of the writers I admired. I found good critique partners and beta readers. But I never paid for a class, bought a book or shelled out hundreds of dollars on workshops. Am I that good of a writer? Well, I would like to think so, but the truth is, I’m not. I know I can be better. I know that there is always chance for growth. But do I want to pay thousands for a chance to grow. Absolutely not.
I don’t spend a ton of time surfing Twitter but when I do, it seems that somebody is always trying to sell writers something. Classes, books, retreats, all day workshops. They all promise to make your characters stronger, your dialogue wittier, your sex scenes filled with more… Umph. But with all that stuff out there how do you know what’s worthy of spending your hard earned cash on.
So I put together a little list of things you should think about before you shell out your money.
- Look carefully at who is giving the workshop/ writing the book/ selling the product. Do they have any credibility? If they are teaching about craft, have they ever sold a book to a major publisher? Have they taught before? Have you heard good things about them?
- For self pubbers. If they are claiming that they are successful and can teach you how to be, can they prove it? Are they willing to share numbers? Secrets?
- Can you get what they are selling else where for free? There are a lot of blogs out, A LOT, for writers by writers where you can get good info for free. Read them.
- Can you use your friends? Just before I was about to submit my manuscript I thought about paying to have a professional critique it, but then I saw the prices. They ranged anywhere from $300-$800. Way too rich for my blood. Plus it’s only one person’s opinion. What one person might love another might hate. So use your friends when you can. They are readers too.
- Have you checked out writer’s forums like Absolute Water Cooler or Query Tracker. You can learn much from reading the posts on there.
Sure there are classes and books out there that are well worth it. But the best way to get better at writing is to get your butt in the chair and write. The more you write the better you get. I promise. It works. I’m proof.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about before spending your money on craft? And if I was going to spend some money, what books/ workshops/classes would you recommend?”