Yesterday, I went to the final day of the Kansas Authors Club state convention in Topeka. After the business meeting, I attended a panel discussion on how to market books and yourself as a writer.
Four many-times-published authors made up the panel. Each one gave a short talk and then answered questions. At one point, one of the panel members disagreed with another. It was not like the picture above. Instead, the author who vocally disagreed with another author did it in a respectful way.
It wasn't done to put down or embarrass the other woman. What the discussion entailed would take too much space in this post, but I liked the fact that one disagreed with the other in a public statement. Why?
Because it made evident the fact that everything we hear at a workshop is not gospel truth. Some is, of course. But much of what the authors presented was their own opinion garnered from experiences they've had. Is that wrong?
Not at all. We attend writing workshops to gain information. These two authors disagreed about one aspect of selling your books and yourself. I learned something from each one.
If Stephen King tells me I must write a certain way or I'll never sell my book, do I have to throw away my own opinions and nod my head at him swearing to do it his way forevermore? No, I don't. While I might respect his opinion, I have my own experiences on which to base my judgement as well as listening to experts in the field. I would probably listen carefully and try much of what he told me to do but I wouldn't give up my own thinking along the way.
The ages of the panelists varied quite a lot. What works for the youngest might not work for the oldest one. Because of their stage of life, they most likely approach each point in a different manner. And that's perfectly alright.
Remember that we can use different methods and still be considered correct. You do what works best for you. Don't ignore the advice you receive in a writing workshop. Much of it will be of great help to you but neither should you disregard your own feelings for the way something should be written.
I know I've spoken in generalities here, but you probably get the picture. It's alright to disagree at times--even with an expert. Just do it respectfully. No book smashing on heads, please. One last point--if you are going to disagree with another person, be able to explain why, back up your statement.