"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group inaugural post. Can you help me? I don't know if I've got what it takes to get my novels published. Do you?

Well I don't believe myself to be much of a joiner, but recently I've blown that theory. I've joined the Writers Platform Building Campaign again and I couldn't resist Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. Why on earth do we needed another group? Keep reading:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writers.

Connecting: There is a participation list on Alex's site (click link above). It also allows for comments if you have an immediate need. This is where we can help one another. Check this page whenever you visit – if you can help a fellow writer, hop over to their blog and offer assistance. Eventually I may set up lists of where people are in the process, so if you’re having querying issues, you can visit someone else who is querying or someone who signed a contract for help. Or a list of resources. Be watching for these updates!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Well it's the first Wednesday of the month so here is my inaugural post for the IWSG. Maybe I'm wrong but I think most writers are insecure - about their work, their talents, their chances of publishing - all the hoops you have to jump through, all the advice of the 'must dos' and 'must not dos'. It's enough to make anyone insecure, especially when you see these 'rules' being broken by best-selling authors all the time. Are they laughing at our insecurities?

So I'll use Alex's 'purposes' above for my post today. This is really making me think!

MY DOUBTS (which I haven't conquered yet Alex)
  • Do I really have a talent for writing? Am I kidding myself? Does the world need more words, especially from me? Are the people who say they enjoy my stories just being kind? 
    • My question is then - how do you know you've got what it takes to see a novel through to publication? I must be one of the world's most voracious readers and I  read some fabulous books and some very second-rate books that managed to find a publisher. Obviously there's more than talent involved...
MY FEARS (which I haven't conquered yet Alex)
  • Do I have the stamina to see a novel through to publication? The articles/stories on this topic are pretty daunting. So much to do it seems like writing the novel is the easiest part. There are many edits, queries, pitches (is that the same thing?), proposals, first chapters, choosing who to approach, then if you find a contract you're often asked to practically re-write your ms. The mind boggles...
  • Once again there's a plethora of information on all these topics. 
    • To be accepted by an established publisher as a debut novelist seems highly unlikely these days, although I know there's exceptions. All debut novelists hope to find an agent/editor not 'allergic to the smell of a new writer' as Glenys Smy said in a post once. I posted a wonderful debut novelist's success story here on Meagan Spooner 
    • There seems to be no end of Indie e-book publishers. How do you know which are reputable? There's a lot involved in finding the right fit, I'm sure, but once again I had some great success stories posted here when I hosted my Publication Party series (use my Search button to find these posts.) I'll link to possibly the most successful e-pubbed author I interviewed, Christine Bell. She's since released at least one more novel.
    • Self publish? Seems many bloggers are doing this.I've already been approaching friendly bloggers with some questions. Look at Roland Yeomans - 11 self-pubbed e-books in a few months. Amazing! It seems a mountain load of work and self promotion, but is it the best way? What do you think?
So over to you, friends and mentors...can you help me? Can you answer any of my doubts and fears? Can you add to them, ha ha? PLEASE tell me what your experience has been if you're published and tell me what road to publication you're following if you've not been yet. I will be so appreciative...If you're really happy to help/advise, please click on the IWSG link in my sidebar where you'll find 100-ish insecure writers...

Can you help any of the writers below?


  1. I wish I had a definitive answer, but I do know that Predators and Editors, groups like Authors Guild and Mystery Writers of America are good places to start when looking for a reputable publisher. Jenna Petersen at The Passionate Pen has good resources as does Piers Anthony.

    I wish you all the best as you search for a publisher. :)

  2. *hugs*

    This is an interesting idea. I may have to join.

    Publishing is a personal decision I think. While I don't plan to self publish most of my stories at this point I don't completely nix the idea either. I think it depends on the time, the novel and what the author wants to do. Some books are better for that option than others and they do take effort but publishing requires work either way.

    As for the writing, that is a good question. How do any of us really know if we are good enough? I am going to quote someone but I don't remember who, some agent or other. Basically, the thought behind the comment was "Don't reject yourself, that is my job." But even with rejections the writer could still be amazing.

    Maybe consider why you are writing? I know some people who write with a focus of money and publishing and while I want to be published it's now the main reason I write. Maybe your reason for writing is something to consider. Hope that helps.

  3. Oh, I think I need to join this group! I'm in such a valley with all of my insecurities.
    It's exciting to see so many writers do well self publishing - though I'm not sure I have the time or know how at this point in time to go down that path.

  4. I think you've hit on most of my own publishing fears. Especially with the inde/self publishing concerns.

    I'm not a self promoter. I don't have the time, or the energy. Those that have been successful in both self publishing and small presses have done most of their own self promotions. I envy their drive.

    Even getting an agent or any sort of publisher interested seems against all odds. I've seen a few of my friends land big name agents, and get published with well known houses; but I don't see those odds happening for myself.

    Denise, I believe you are an excellent writer. You've got a lot of very good story ideas, and write them well. Not perfect all the time, but what I see is not usually polished up for publishing either. But its well done, and shows real talent for story crafting and progression through a plot - both character and overall.

    You'll make it one day. And you are so involved in the writing community that can't hurt your chances either.

    As long as you keep believing in yourself and your dreams, somebody else will also. Your enthusiasm will shine through your writing.

    And nothing is ever totally polished until it finally published and out of our author hands. Right?

    I'm sure you have the drive to make it.


  5. Okay Denise, I'm afraid I have no advice for you but will you please get out of my head! I could have written this post - as could, I suspect, a large number of other writers :-)

    Thank you for voicing our fears and doubts so succinctly.

  6. First, you are a talented writer! Crap, if I can do it, anyone can.
    Seeing it through - I think being naive helps. You just decide you're going to do it and plow forward without over-thinking. Or in my case, without any thinking!

  7. Oooh, this is intriguing. Well, I'm a tradionally published writer of short stories, who's trying to get to grips with a novel.

    I know not every one likes shorts (I adore them), but they're a good way of building up publising credits and perhaps confidence, too.

    Do you write short stories, Denise?

  8. And don't forget the small publisher on your list, those who publish print books that get in bookstores as well as ebooks, who don't require agented submissions, who have wonderful editing and support for their authors, yes, can you tell I'm a fan of the small traditional press?

    I'm having fun reading all the insecure writer posts today :) Very relatable!

  9. No matter what, you wouldn't write if you didn't love it. It's the passion that drives you. The passion that will keep driving you to query, find an agent, find a publisher, or eventually self-publish. Once the passion is gone, then hang up your typewriter.

  10. We all have a lot of the same fears/concerns with our writing. Sometimes, I think all the information available to us today on the Internet doesn't help. I find myself sometimes worry about those publishing, agent, now self-publishing details and just don't find myself butt-in-chair enough. Good luck.

  11. I wish I could offer you all the answers but I'm already asking the same questions as you. I think the most important thing is to first write your book, and then start looking at all the stages that come after. Try not to worry too much, and enjoy the process of writing.

  12. Wow, what a great idea! Thanks for pointing this out, Denise, and for all the great links. I doubt I'll ever conquer my insecurity, but I do feel better about it all on days when I've gotten a massive amount of writing or editing done. There's got to be government funding for that!

  13. I'm sure most if not all writers can relate to your fears. I know that I can. There are so many choices and we all want to make the "right" choice that we won't regret :). I'm taking it one day at a time, one step at a time while keeping my focus on what I want. Just can't let the doubt monster derail me.

  14. Hey all you lovelies. Thank you so much for taking the time to read/help/encourage. The best for your journey too! Denise

  15. It's amazing how you can think yourself sick--and I do the same thing. There is so much information out there on what to do, what to expect, how to proceed that sometimes I forget that what it really comes down to is doing what you love and telling your story. The world does need more ideas, especially from you!

  16. First off, I've read some of your short fiction and I can confidently say you have the talent, so you can put those doubts aside. As for the stamina... yep, I have this fear as well so I probably can't help you except to say hold on to those who support you the most.
    Traditional vs Indie. That's a super hard one. I can't answer this one.

  17. It's amazing to me that so many people feel this way. You've covered so many of the insecurities I have. What a wonderful group and blog hop! It's great to know we're not alone when we feel down on ourselves, our writing and our dreams! Keep trying. You'll make it. No doubts! Christy

  18. Oh! The actually publishing via traditional routes or self-pubbed or indie freaks me out too. I've kind of put my head in the sand on that one. I'm miles from having to think about it seriously now. But, I feel like I should be learning about it. The work I've read of yours on this blog is lovely by the way. :)

  19. It is great to see so many writers encouraging each other. Great idea Alex.

  20. A support group for insecure writers is such a cool and needed idea. :)

  21. I wish I could give you answers to conquer your fears and lay your doubts to rest. However, I waffle every month on what to do. Self pub? Agent? What?
    However, I do know this. Yes, your words are wanted. They might be joining a huge pile of other's words, but yours are just as important.
    Might be a daunting task that lies ahead to achieve publication, however if you can see that end result, you just have to have the courage to get there.

  22. Self-publishing and ebooks are less prominent among children's books, so I'm still thinking traditional publishing, but I'm glad I don't have to add that to my worries! I feel the same way you do about whether I'm really going to make it as a writer. I think I can, but then something happens to set me back, and I'm no longer sure. *hugs*

  23. The self pub debate is really big right now, the stigma is gone and people are really moving towards that sort of control. Me, I don't care much for the big publisher but I also like the services they provide like quality books and editing. Great post.

  24. I can offer no solid advice because I am not a writer persay. I am just a lowly blogger. I think the answer might lie in a magic eight ball or a fortune cookie.

    I found you through the blog hop.

  25. I know I still experience doubt even though I have a third full length work coming out this year. I wonder if what I write is any good, if people will like and as you do, I wonder why put something else out there, particularly since nobody requested it. I've been shying away from joining 'cause I'm thinking do I really have time for something else, but I never know how to say no to a challenge, so we'll see. I've read some pretty interesting posts so far and I like to help whenever I can.

  26. We have the same fears, for sure. Trying and trying to get published there one set of fears, and then (I imagine) getting published there's a whole new set.

  27. I really don't have answers, I'm afraid. There are so many roads when it comes to writing . . . I'm in a similar place, having set off down the writing part of the path. Actually getting anything published seems so far away.

  28. Never give up your dream and always believe in yourself! Stay motivated and inspired every day. Thats what I can offer.

    You are talented, Denise.

    My only wish for myself is that I had more time to dedicate to my writing - I LOVE it, it's a passion for me. Right now though, the reality is balancing fulltime in another parallel universe with my writing world.

    Keep going dear lady! xx

  29. no one has your voice or your take on things, so go for it.

  30. I've published 12 kids books traditionally, a mix of work-for-hire and original ideas, and I'm exploring indie publishing too. And I still can't give a definitive answer! Neither is easier or better, they just have different challenges.

    Hi from the campaign. I’m in Group 43 - Romantic Suspense, which I write as Kris Bock. I focus on writing craft at Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writing Workshop: http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/

  31. Wow, those are quite the questions! I don't think there's any definitive answer, sadly. One thing I have learned is that there can be many paths to success. Not everything needs to be get an agent/ get a publisher/ get a book deal.

  32. Thank you all for your input. Each of you has given me something by just dropping by. D

  33. Keep on writing and encouraging others! I really do enjoy your creativity!

  34. You can do it! Writing is obviously a big part of who you are and that's the first hurdle. The rest will come.

  35. Sorry for my late visit here! All your fears resemble mine. It's so crazy. Sometimes I get so frustrated with it all I wanna quit. but man those stories just keep chasing me. Usually when i get the ugly self-doubt, i listen to some music, get inspired and remember what it is I love about writing in the first place. I love telling stories... that's why I do it.


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