Is Paid Help Better Than Free Help?

When it comes to writing and marketing books, there is a plethora of information out there. Some of it you have to pay for, (i.e. books and webinars) while some of it is free, (blogs and advice from others writers).

I can see both sides from different angles:

When it comes to free help and advice, there are a multitude of blogs and websites out there than can offer up information on becoming a better writer, marketing your books, building a platform, and many other things. I see this as beneficial because not only is it free for us starving artists, but it also stays current as the times change. (See Kristen Lamb, paradigm shifts.) On the other hand, a lot of this information can be repetitive and interpreted differently by each individual.

When it comes to paid help and advice, you know that most of these resources are of some value if a publisher is willing to push it out there. Additionally, many of these people are experts in their field, be it marketing, social networking, writing, etc. They can offer first-hand experience of what works and what doesn’t, and have the experience to guide you through the steps needed to achieve success. If they’re professionals, why shouldn’t they earn a little money by teaching it? It make sense, right? They went through the positives and the negatives to get to where they are now. They deserve to get something for it.

Personally, I generally take whatever advice I can get, be it paid or free. Whether or not I choose to follow it is up to me of course. But, I’m willing to listen to whatever advice someone gives me. Of course, I decide where or not I think it’s worth doing or disregarding completely.

What about you? Do you think paid advice is better than free? Do you have any bad experiences with paid and/or free advice?

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4 thoughts on “Is Paid Help Better Than Free Help?

  1. I’m with you Chris, and I fully intend to PAY to get my MS edited before I submit it anywhere.

    Free advice is great, but, sometimes I wonder just how far you can trust it. I mean, the agent I saw give a talk she said that often agents will tell a potential client to change the MS and then resubmit. The writer goes away, spends hours changing their work. Then, when they resubmit the agent says, nah, sorry, we’ve decided we didn’t really like it in the first place. That’s just cruel IMO 😦

    You just have to be so careful 😦


  2. Free advice is great, but I find it’s usually fairly broad. As in, “Here are 7 things all good writers should do”. Whereas with paid advice, I think it’s more specific, especially if you’re actually hiring someone to look over your manuscript and give you feedback. I guess the best deal would be if you could find a professional to give you advice for free, but that sort of person only comes around once in a blue moon.

  3. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum – from the other side (the one giving for free and the one getting paid, I mean). I offer both free beta reads/critiques/copyediting to friends and fellow writers, but I also freelance my editing and critiquing skills. I don’t mind helping for free, but it often is quite time consuming. Getting paid is definitely a great form of motivation. Not only does it mean I can focus on the project a bit more, but it also pushes me to get through it more quickly and in a more detailed manner. I think there’s a lot of great free advice out there and we need that sort of thing (like you said, since we’re starving artists). However, when you have to pay for the advice, it lends it some extra credibility and you can be certain that it’s going to be more specific and tailored to your needs – which is definitely a plus. (Of course, I’m talking about advice coming from trusted sources, as I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who charge and give horrible advice.)

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