Expert Advice

First, let me announce that this is NOT an April Fool’s joke.

The other day, I thought about expertise and what exactly makes someone an expert. Years of experience? A large social media platform? When you seek advice, do you seek advice from an expert? It really depends on what you need, right? After all, you wouldn’t go to someone for legal advice who was still in law school. But you might go to that law student if you were looking for advice about the application process, since that person successfully completed the process.

When it comes to publishing, I usually look for someone who can offer me more experiential knowledge than I currently have. Though I have many years of experience in publishing, I still don’t consider myself an expert, because no one masters every imaginable genre in publishing. So there’s always something to learn, especially from a fellow writer, an editor, or an agent. Even as an editor, I can only give an opinion to the author about what may or may not need to change—even in line edits.

Awhile ago I pitched a manuscript to a mentorship program where mentorships are offered by published novelists if your pitch is picked. Once chosen (not everyone is) you would then submit your manuscript to the mentor or mentors who would then help you to submit it to an agent. The one I’m referring to is this one. Click to find out more information. That’s one way of seeking expert advice.

What expert advice have you sought recently? Were you satisfied with the result? While you consider your answer, let’s celebrate the winners of the following:

Laura Bruno Lilly’s Swimming with Swans: The Music—Goat Suite (Saga) (Click here for the interview.)

and Sandra Nickel’s Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson (Click here for the interview.)

The winners of Swimming with Swans: The Music—Goat Suite (Saga) are


Nancy Hatch

The winner of Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson is

S. K. Van Zandt!

Winners, please comment below to confirm. Thank you to all who commented.

Covers and photos courtesy of the composer and author. Expert image expertly done by L. Marie.

30 thoughts on “Expert Advice

  1. I often learn something new here. Why? Because you have EXPERTise in many areas I don’t, like publishing. Kudos to the winners above–and your for your generosity, L. Marie! 😀

  2. Enjoyed this post, Linda. And yay on getting Sandra’s book! Thank you so much!!

    There truly is always something to learn, even when you are considered an expert. I do go to other writers and editors for help. But the subjectivity that exists in all creative arts, especially writing, makes it so much more difficult to feel like you’re mastering the skill or even making progress. That’s where persistence comes in, right?

  3. “So there’s always something to learn…”

    I live by that idea. I mean not obsessively but if I want to learn about something I research online, then if I’m still interested I find a person with credentials. BUT I’ll also add that some of the best information has been from average people who happen to know something useful about that which I’m interested in. If you pay attention there is *expertise* all around.

    Congrats to the winners!

    • I am too, especially of a person who has very little experience, which he/she gained quickly (i.e., selling one short story or book and claiming expert knowledge of publishing in general).

      • Definitely. I still remember a person who talked about publishing and writing as if they were experts. Never finished writing a book or published. Stuck in planning mode because they always found story issues.

  4. Didn’t Pitch Wars close its (metaphorical) doors recently? However, I believe AuthorMentorMatch is still happening. I’ve never applied to any of these, but I know people who received not only help but also, and more importantly, a community.

    • I didn’t know that Lyn. Oh well. It’s been awhile since I pitched anything their way.
      I need to get questions to you. Still waiting on your book’s arrival at my door. But you have two books debuting!!!!

  5. Pitch Wars sounds like they have a good program.

    It’s hard to find an expert who has just the advice one is looking for. Everyone has their personal preferences, and even most experts have limited experience. We do our best though. Don’t we always wish we could find the perfect expert? The Master Classes Program appeals to me. As soon as I have more time, I’d like to take Master Classes from Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie. Yesterday I listened to an interview of Margaret Atwood. She’s amazing!

    • A Master Class would be lovely, Nicki. I hope you’ll do it. So often we don’t treat ourselves. But this is our craft we’re talking about!
      I need to look up some classes myself!

  6. Over on FB my timeline is dominated by people who were once experts on vaccines and are now experts on foreign policy 🙈
    Congratulations to the winners.

  7. Andy’s comment cracked me up . . . they are out there!

    Thanks for the nice surprise ~ you are extraordinaire!!!
    I look forward to receiving Laura’s composition.

    BTW: I am an expert on . . . Being Me! 😀

  8. I guess the internet is my source for expert advice these days, though it takes quite a lot of research to be sure the advice is coming from a source that can be trusted. Usually it’s a matter of trying to get advice from different sources and then working out which bits suit you and your own circumstances. It would be great if there was a right way and a wrong way for everything, but life is rarely so simple!

  9. People who really are experts don’t need to say that they are experts. We can recognize their EXPERTise without need for words (Roger Federer, for example). In my own life, I find the people with the talents I need tend to appear at the time I need them. The people who have what I’m looking for aren’t necessarily experts, they are the ones that have whatever it is I need at that time to take me to the next level. An ongoing spiral. I find it fascinating how it never seems to fail.

    • Great thoughts, Arlene. Expertise doesn’t have to be trumpeted for others to seek it out. I am reading a book by a songwriter who has written hundreds of songs. Yet he never declares himself an expert songwriter.

  10. Great advice, L. Marie. My thing to do is find someone who has done what I want to do (like talking to a law student about the application process). Depending on what I’m seeking help with, I might contact a few people. Congrats to the winners!

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