From the Editor's Desk

How Much do Opinions Matter?

Seth Godin talks about opinion, entitlement, and when to disregard:

1. Due to lack of standing.

2. Due to lack of credibility.

(Read the post for further clarification.)

He also says this:

“People with a history of bad judgment, people who are quick to jump to conclusions or believe in unicorns or who have limited experience in the market–these people are entitled to opinions, but it’s not clear that the creator of the work needs to hear them. They’ve disqualified themselves because the method they use for forming opinions about how the market will respond is suspect.”

This resonates with me, because at this juncture in publishing developments, there’s a lot of opinion. A lot of blueskying disguised as authoritative punditry. But neither idealism nor cynicism, nor any other rampant bias, are the same thing as credible experience.

It may be more valuable to reserve judgment until one’s own hands-on experience (and the body of credible, in-good-standing feedback on one’s experience) has reached a measurably authoritative level. The perception of authority only lasts till alleged expertise is tested by active application to reality.

What I tell my clients about books, for instance, should actually help them write books better and more easily. Being hypothetical or giving my personal preferences won’t cut it. Furthermore, I must offer something quantitatively better than just joe-on-the-street reader reaction or the local critique group. Or else why do I get to charge money for my feedback instead of simply writing Amazon reviews like the rest of the world?

My writer side also says this: It’s okay to stand your ground in the face of vibrant opinions (like Amazon reviews), even if you’re still developing that ground–and maybe especially so, because you’re laying the foundation of your future. And you have to live with it. Others don’t.

That’s why opinion is so darned easy compared to experience, after all. Assign value accordingly.

For a further springboard in your own opinion-taking decision-making, I rounded up a list of who I listen to as a writer over at Scita > Scienda.


Categories: From the Editor's Desk

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