Monday, April 22, 2019

Times Have Changed for the Insecure Writer.

Louise Dean, Founder of The Novelry, opens another avenue to publication... 

Here's how to get published.

Leading literary agencies have buddied up with The Novelry to get their hands on their writers' work because the standard, thanks to their rigorous process, is so high. They fast track members' work, giving a response in one to two weeks. It's a VIP pass.
To join The Novelry, sign up for one of their writing courses, they're inspirational and practical, there's nothing like daily guidance and a deadline and The Ninety Day Novel course is the tonic many aspiring novelists need to get that novel done.
"Because there's never a right time to write a novel," says founder and author Lousie Dean "I created the right place. You'll need our method, an hour a day for ninety days and I'll give you a new good habit that will last you a lifetime of happy writing."
Members working across all the fiction genres - Literary, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical including Young Adult and Children's - get matched to literary agents under the careful stewardship of The Novelry.
The Novelry offers online writing courses and residential writers' retreats with guest tutors including bestselling award-winning authors Kit de Waal and Sophie Hannah.
The Novelry's courses have been named in the top creative writing courses online worldwide by The Bookfox, winner of 'Best Course to Write Your Novel' and 'Best Editing Course'.
  1. If you love reading and would love to raise your writing game to publishing standard, you might like to explore what's on offer at The Novelry. Plenty of free advice at the blog and a free mini-course.
  2. The Classic Course teaches writers how to build a world in fiction. Learn the techniques and methods of authors like JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JK Rowling and more. Delve into your own unique life experience and find the story inside you. You’ll leave the course with a plan for your novel and plenty of material. 
  3. If you have an idea and need to write it, write it fast. So write it in a season as Stephen King advises with the Ninety Day Novel ® course. It’s an online course, available worldwide, you can sign up at any time and you’ll be guided step-by-step, daily, and supported all the way to ‘The End.’ With one-to-one troubleshooting sessions and plenty of encouragement from fellow writers, no one gets left behind. 
  4. Put that pen down! Leave that novel in a drawer for at least a month and read other great books again, then return to the novel and produce a second draft using the Editing Your Novel course.
  5. Submit those first three chapters one by one to the novelists' community at The Novelry for warm wise feedback. Then when you’ve taken on board all the constructive and cheering praise, you send it to Louise Dean, founder of The Novelry who will submit for you to their leading literary agency partners.

Founder of The Novelry, Louise Dean studied History at the University of Cambridge. She is the award-winning Man Booker listed author of four novels published worldwide. The Novelry hothouses writing talent preparing writers for safe submission to leading literary agents and a happy and secure writing life.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Write Advice

Did you just cringe at the blog post title? Are you contemplating it? Or do you just don't care? Guess what? All are okay. For it can be right to cringe over the wrong use of write. It can be right to think about it and see how it fits. It can even be right not to care and take it as it is. It can even be right to do all three. Come again?

Every person is an individual with strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, beliefs, and all kinds of other things. So what are you going to get? If you've been around a while you already know the answer. You are going to read conflicting advice, advice you disagree with, advice you agree with that doesn't work for you, advice you agree with that does work for you, and even advice you may think is nuts but works.

Writing advice is just that, advice. Or tips if you prefer that word. Either can be right. All can be right. All can be wrong. It all comes back to you.

You have to decide what works. You have to decide what doesn't. You have to decide for yourself. You have to do the work. Yep, there is no way around it. It all truly does come back to you. Thankfully, there are steps you can go through.

Step 1

Decide what you are looking for. Editing advice, marketing tips, etc.

Step 2

Search and gather that advice.

Step 3

Narrow what you have found down to the best 10. Or pick a number that is good for you.

Step 4

Decide what you want to learn and expand upon. Could do this sooner, but by seeing the advice collected, you could have a better idea about what you want to explore.

Step 5

Compare the advice to each other and your capabilities. Does it make sense? Are you able to do that or willing to give it a try? Does it fit in your budget?

Step 6

Fact check. There are many out there just after money or recommending useless things because they are an affiliate or something of the like. Double check anything that recommends a service. Scams and worthless so-called systems abound. You don't want to get caught up in those. Also, use common sense. If it sounds to good to be true, it almost always is. If you find anything guaranteeing sales or that you'll never have to edit a word after the first draft, better to turn and run the other way.

Step 7

Deploy the advice that you have gathered and remember that it is a marathon. Everything from writing to marketing takes time. You can't just go "poof" and have things done.

Step 8

Keep track of results. There is no sense in putting more money into an ad that did nothing the first time. There is no sense in following a writing schedule that you can't seem to follow.

Step 9

Adjust and continue to adjust until you find your groove.

Step 10

Rinse and repeat for the next aspect you are looking into.

Even this advice won't work for everyone, but you have just checked something else off that won't work for you. That means you are getting closer to something that may work. Only takes one tip or piece of advice to help you on your way and/or teach you. You just may have to wade through much to find what works.

And it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, completely ignore advice that sounds dumb. "Publish without ever editing" is just one such example.

Have you ever found any advice or tips that worked? Any that you thought would work but didn't? Can you spot the scams and crappy advice? Do you know anyone whose tips worked for them but not you?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Why Copying Other Successful Authors Won’t Make You Successful

Have you ever looked up to another writer, admired her success, and said to yourself, “That’s what I need to do. I’ll just follow what she did.”

We naturally learn from observing others, and it’s always helpful to study those who have reached the level of success we aspire to. The problem comes from expecting if you do exactly what this other person did, you’ll accomplish the same level of success.

In fact, trying to follow in the footsteps of successful authors often leads to discouragement and despair rather than triumph. When you do (or think you did) everything the successful author did, and the same rewards refuse to come your way, you may feel like a failure.

But in truth, you didn’t fail. You just followed a path that wasn’t meant for you.

Why Copying Successful Writers is a Losing Strategy
Successful authors have been there and done that, so they know what they’re talking about. Many make it a point to condense what they’ve learned into easy-to-follow instructions for other writers, in the sincere hopes of helping them out.

Can we learn from them? Absolutely, particularly when it comes to gaining ideas for marketing techniques, productivity hacks, plot developments, and that sort of thing. The danger comes when we fall into the trap of thinking if we do what another successful author did, we’ll automatically experience the same level of success.

“The daily habits and thought processes of your idols are certainly a contributing factor to the quality of their lives,” writes comedian and writer Jon Westenberg in Business Insider, “but only because they have realized that those things work for them . . . . Those things are deeply personal, and they're not something that can be copy-pasted into your own life with any guarantee of impact or effectiveness.”

It seems logical to imagine that once a person figures out how to succeed as a writer, his or her experience should translate into an easy step-by-step process that other writers can follow. The problem is that the successful writer in question came by her process through a typically long period of experimentation in finding out what works for her.

That means her process is extremely personal, just like her fashion style and preferred brand of toothpaste. You wouldn’t expect that buying the same clothes and brushing with the same product would help you emulate her success, and similarly, following her process to success likely won’t, either.

Yet many writers fall into the trap of thinking this is the way to build their careers. It’s an innocent mistake, but one that can be dangerous, as when you don’t achieve the success you hoped for when you thought you should, you may start to doubt yourself as a writer.

Writers Have to Climb Their Own Mountains
Consider how many variables there are in life. To start, no two people are the same. You don’t have the same talents, gifts, or personality as someone else. You are you, and that means you must forge your own path to success.

Yes, you can absolutely pick up tips from others, learn important skills from them, study as an apprentice, and use your newly acquired knowledge to take giant steps forward in your career . . . as long as you go about it with the right mindset, understanding that all you’re doing is picking up tools to make your journey a little easier.

But if you think that following in another’s steps will take you to the top of that same mountain of success, you’re making a huge mistake. We all have our own mountains to climb. You have to find yours.

This can be really bad news if you have no idea how to go about finding your own path. After all, if you get instructions from another writer on how to succeed, you can follow those instructions, but if you’re left standing on the open road with no instructions at all, you can feel lost, frustrated, and worst of all, hopeless.

The Secret to Writing Success: Find Your Own Path
There’s no doubt that forging your own path as a writer is difficult—probably one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face as a creative individual. But it’s the only way to fulfill your potential and find a career that’s right for you.

“I can tell you from my own experience that I spent a lot of time in my early months as a blogger mimicking some of my unknowing mentors,” writes blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur Corbett Barr on “My sites didn’t really start to grow until I stopped mimicking and started becoming myself.”

But there is the question—just how do you become yourself?

I’ve found that one of the best ways is to take some time to determine exactly what your strengths are, both as a writer and a creative individual. Too often writers focus on their flaws. We get writing critiques and send our stories out to beta readers to discover what’s wrong with our stories.

Even if we receive some praise, we’re likely to overlook it and focus on the critical statements. Humans are wired to focus on the negative. Even from an early age, we pay more attention to bad news. That means it’s natural for you to focus more on those critical comments and negative reviews than the positive ones, but by doing so, you’re ignoring what you need to determine your unique path.

Instead, pay more attention to the positive comments. I recommend you keep a file of all the positive comments you receive on your writing (and other creative endeavors). As your file expands, start identifying categories. What do readers respond to? Your unique settings? Your humorous dialogue? Your quirky characters? The fact that your stories are fast-paced and exciting?

Investigate your comments and determine what they’re saying about your strengths. What do you do well as a writer? The more you can figure that out, the easier it will be to chart your own path.

You can apply the same process to your author platform. What is working for you? What blogs or podcasts that you’ve produced get the most attention? What else do you do creatively that people respond to?

Pretend you’re a scientist and your subject is you. What makes this person special? What does she have to offer readers that no one else has? How can she package that information in such a way that she attracts more readers to her work?

As you answer these questions, you’ll find your options gradually narrowing until there’s only one road left ahead of you—the one that leads to your unique brand of success. And that’s much more satisfying than someone else’s, anyway.

For more help determining your unique strengths and building an author platform that attracts readers, see Colleen’s new book, Writer Get Noticed! Get your free chapter here.

Barr, C. (2010, December 15). The Difference: Copying Your Mentors vs. Becoming Your Best Self. Retrieved from
Hanson, R. (2010, October 26). Confronting the Negativity Bias. Retrieved from
Vaish, A., Grossmann, T., & Woodward, A. (2008). Not All Emotions Are Created Equal: The Negativity Bias in Social-Emotional Development. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 383–403. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.383
Westenberg, J. (2016, January 12). Imitating the habits of successful people is ultimately pointless. Retrieved from

Colleen M. Story inspires writers to overcome modern-day challenges and find creative fulfillment in their work. Her latest release, Writer Get Noticed!, is a strengths-based guide to help writers break the spell of invisibility and discover unique author platforms that will draw readers their way. With over 20 years in the creative industry, Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness and Writer CEO. Please see her author website or follow her on Twitter.

For more help determining your unique strengths and building an author platform that attracts readers, see Colleen’s new book, Writer Get Noticed! Get your free chapter here.


We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning podcasts each week.

The next one is Episode 242: Challenging the Status Quo — Interview with Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG April 2019 - Next Anthology News!

So it looks like it's April then - how did we get to the second quarter of 2019 already? Hope it's been a good one for you so far. Of course, being the first Wednesday of the month, it's time for our monthly meeting, so let's get to business.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

This month's wonderful co-hosts are J.H. MoncrieffNatalie AguirrePatsy Collins and Chemist Ken!

And this month's question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

Hmm, this is definitely an interesting question. A wish to help me write the whole book wouldn't go astray, but that might be pushing cheating a little far! Actually, I usually find it particularly tricky to write the end - and this is the case right now as I grapple with pulling together my trilogy to write its final chapters. It definitely seems to be a tall order to tie everything up neatly, and of course there's the dreaded twist - you don't want readers to see it coming, but you also don't want them to feel like it's totally hit them out of left field. With the best twists, I think, "Ah, of course!" So yes, a bit of divine intervention in that department would definitely be appreciated.


Now let's turn to this month's exciting news - we're announcing the genre and opening date for the next IWSG anthology!

Our genre is Middle grade historical: adventure/fantasy and the opening date is May 1. The best brains are on the theme, and that will be announced on the opening date. So this is just to whet your appetite - you could use that time to brush up your knowledge of the genre if it's not your usual bag, for example. We're looking forward to more great entries!

Don't forget the Masquerade anthology is hitting the shelves on April 30!

Masquerade: Oddly Suited

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Website - IWSG Anthologies

Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary

Print ISBN 9781939844644

eBook ISBN 9781939844651

Print and eBook:

Special note:
We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

Here's the very funny Episode 236 with Jeff Somers on Writing Without Rules (or Pants).

Check it out and come back later this month for details about the program.

OK, now it's time to check out more IWSGers at the sign-up page. What part of your WIP would you wish for help with? Excited about the theme for the next anthology? Or for grabbing a copy of Masquerade? Interested to learn more about DIY MFA?