Terrible Writing and Publishing Advice

Terrible Writing and Publishing Advice

Written by: Ben Finn

Ben Finn is an Author trapped in an Employee's body. He is the co-author of the Kill Them Dead - Start of the Zombie Apocalypse series, as well as a few other stand-alone books you will find on this site. However, his musings and weird utterances do not always make sense. But hey he was told blogging would change his world so it is a Narcissistic exercise. Above all, he loves his wife and two boys.

October 17, 2023

So, I have been in the Kindle direct publishing and self-publishing game for almost 12 years. And over the years I have seen terrible writing and publishing advice.

And no, I am not a full-time author.

And no, I have not made millions of dollars with my writing.

And yes, that might make you wonder…

Old Ben should have followed the “terrible writing and publishing advice”

Good statement.

If I had followed the writing and publishing advice mentioned below, I would have made it by now.

And believe me, something I have thought of.

Many times.

But, looking back at my “career” – if you can call it that – I would have not been in a better position. In fact, I believe I would have burned money.

Something I can’t afford to do.

Perhaps you can relate?

So what is my list of terrible writing and publishing advice?

Editorial and developmental editing

Very few.

Read it again.

Very, very, very few, self-published authors make enough sales with their books to cover the expenses.

Against popular Facebook group claims that everyone is making a killing from their writing.

And these expenses can add up very quickly.

From writing software, to book covers to editing…to editing.

You can easily find yourself out of a few thousand dollars before you hit publish on KDP.

Now, do not misunderstand what I am trying to say here. You should always, always, always, write, produce and publish the BEST quality book you can.

…but if you can afford it…

And many dreams get squashed by finances or the lack thereof.

Now why do I believe that editorial and developmental editing is terrible writing and publishing advice?

Well, you should have guessed it by now…


I have not asked for a recent quote, but back around 2015/16 I got a quote for $3000 for full editing and developmental editing for our book Kill Them Dead. We first published in 2013 and by 2015 we made around $500 in total sales.

The number of copies or page reads we need to just break even is not worth it.

The juice is not worth the squeeze.

Also, adding “Now developmental edited” to our marketing is not really a hook that will make potential readers excited.

I love the way Dean Wesley Smith puts it. I am paraphrasing here but he is of the opinion that no editor knows your story, can better it, and should only if you can afford to get them to run a basic spelling, grammar, and punctuation edit.

You can read all his wonderful advice from his blog here.

You have to go Audio

I am not going to spend too much time on this one.

Same as the previous terrible writing and publishing advice, this is simply too costly.

Especially if you are starting out.

An audiobook production, regardless of how hot it is and popular it is, is simply out of reach for most authors.

Again you will rarely be profitable.

You have to run ads

Okay, some quick background.

My day job is being a digital marketing specialist and consultant. Ok sure my non-penname self.

And, I understand the power of digital marketing.

I understand fully that you secure reach. Or eyeballs on your products.

I have also tested it.

The problem is this…

Very few people buy directly from an advert.

Yes the gurus, will argue this (they need to sell their courses). And sure there are authors with successful advertising, but that is only once you are established, with a back catalog of books.

Unknown author, without reviews, raw going for advertising is NOT going to work.

So what will be some good writing and publishing advice?

We all love the shiny object.

The new thing.

The new channel. The new way of reaching readers.

And we get so invested in it.

Smart marketers (calling themselves authorpreneurs) leap onto this and create courses.

Because our author’s dream – and mine is also there – is to write full-time. We want it so bad that we won’t hesitate to buy every book, watch every video, and even fork out money we don’t have to get our hands on a magical course.

It is a sick cycle.

One that will prevent you from doing the one thing you should be doing.


Just write.

Write what excites you.

Write what you will want to read.


One book after another.

Get the work done.

Build up a backlog of books.

And then create yourself an author platform.

It might be a blog or a social channel. But be there. Be authentic. Share your journey.

And over enough time you will start seeing a return.

You will start getting sales.

It might be modest at best.

But over time it will compound.

I get it.

Surely it cannot be this simple? There has to be a magic bean somewhere.

Nope. Most things in life, like losing weight, for example, are actually simple.

But if you do not have the discipline to keep going, then no matter how many pieces of so-called advice you implement it will not move the needle.

See terrible writing and publishing advice is all over the internet.

And over the years I have found it to be time eaters. It takes you away from writing.

Hope this help.

Give me a follow on Twitter or X as it is called now. (my only social profile)

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