Good reasons for conflicting advice:
• publishing and writing are arts, not sciences. Readers (including expert ones) are human and different from each other;
• responsible people try to offer concrete answers to the specific questions you ask, when the real answer is usually “It depends on your book.” You don’t like that answer, so we try to say yes or no. Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it’s no. Because… it depends on the book;
• some advice is rubbish. Generally, it’s best to avoid taking too much notice of advice from people who have done nothing to prove that they know anything relevant. For example, an unpublished writer who has never worked in any relevant bit of publishing may be very well-meaning and intelligent but is not necessarily a reliable person to give you advice about anything other than how to survive being unpublished.
So, think carefully about where to get your reliable advice from. There’s no shortage of both sorts, and a little open-minded thought should help you decide who is worth listening to.
Believe me: I am by no means criticising people who do their best to share experience - it's very valuable, very often. I am simply saying that when you weigh it up, you should add in some other advice too, rather than only listening to the possibly unreliable source.
It's probably also true to say that you should always seek more than one opinion anyway, even from reliable sources.
Advice is more likely to be reliable from:
- authors with several books published, including in your genre, unless they got there by being a celebrity;
- people who work or have recently worked in publishing;
- other people with some clear reason why they know more than you.
- Everyone else.
- And anyone from the above list who has developed either supreme arrogance, horrible negativity or an alcohol problem. Some of them may be lovely people and well-meaning, but their advice is not reliable...