Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Competition Among Writers

Let's talk insecurities. As writers, we know all about rejection. If you're working, you're getting some rejection from somewhere...unless you've made a deal with the devil.

For everyone else, It happens. But knowing that still doesn't make it enjoyable. As a rejected author I'm always torn between whether I'm the one who stinks, or if the heartless jerk on the other end of my query is to blame.

But I've been that jerk, so today, I want to take a closer look at rejection from the perspective of the one delivering it.

Occasionally, I'll offer my reader services as a slush pile reader or a contest judge. Wearing that hat gives me a much different perspective on rejection. There's one hard truth: the competition among writers is brutal.

Okay, so you're thinking...duh, that's what everyone keeps saying. Trust me, I had the same thought. But once you're in the position of having to choose a single story from a stack of them, you realize (with deep guilt) that you are rejecting good stories simply because you can't choose them all.

It's like walking into a book store with limited cash in your pocket. You can only buy one book. How will you choose? It's your turn to be the bad guy...

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Annual Anthology Contest is open and taking submissions! 

Genre is middle grade historical – adventure/ fantasy and the theme is voyagers.

Monday, July 22, 2019

How To Score Book Reviews

In the world of indie publishing, nothing gives you street cred like good book reviews. Maybe your blurb simmers with the wit of Oscar Wilde; maybe your cover art provokes spontaneous tears because it’s Rothko levels of sublime. All that’s no substitute for a real, live reader liking your book — and liking it so much they go out of their to share their excitement with the world. For potential ebook buyers, reviews furnish social proof. They show off how popular and vetted your book is and offer insight into the sort of people who liked it, making would-be readers wonder if they might like it too. You might be tempted at this point to buy praise — or start spamming your book’s Amazon page with adulatory sock-puppets. But there’s no need to take shady shortcuts. Instead, just follow these tips, and you’ll be scoring book reviews the ethical way.

1. Define your audience

You know your book from cover to content — after all, you wrote it. But now it’s time to think about how it comes across to people who weren’t around for the writing process. To get the reviewers you deserve, you have to know your audience — there’s no point hawking Louboutins to a shopper looking for soccer cleats, or tempting a would-be tractor-buyer to drive away with a Corvette instead. You can start working at the level of genre: My book is for sci-fi readers. But your thinking will have to get more fine-grained than that. Try to picture your perfect reader: how old they are, what they do when they’re not nose-deep in your book. Most importantly, try to imagine what else they like to read. This step is arguably the most important part of defining your audience: naming your comp titles — books that read comparably to yours — so that fans of those books can become fans of your books. Think hard about how your project fits into the greater publishing ecosystem, and you’ll be able to fine-tune your target audience, going from “sci-fi fans” to, say, “YA readers interested in works of Afrofuturism with a strong female lead.”

2. Identify the right reviewers — and pitch them

You’ve got a strong sense of your audience. Now it’s time to target the subset of that audience able to furnish you with glowing reviews — the ones who run the book blogs. First, do a sweep through a directory of book reviewer blogs, keeping an eye peeled for those that seem to fit into your niche. Next, think about your comp titles and track down where those books were reviewed. To streamline this process, you can also try submitting to a service like Reedsy Discovery, a book-marketing platform that shops your book out to reviewers for you. Now you’ve got a list of promising reviewers who A) work in your genre and B) have a demonstrated preference for works like yours. At this point, you’re ready to make contact with reviewers and pitch them your book. Make sure to look over each blogger’s policy to make sure you’re contacting them the right way — for instance, not cold-emailing them when they want you to fill out a form. Make sure to customize your pitch for each reviewer — the last thing you want is to sound spammy or boilerplate. Reference their past reviews to demonstrate that they’re more than just a faceless source of free publicity to you, and pull out those comp titles to prove you’ve done your homework on the market.

3 Draw them in with giveaways

Giving your book away for free can be a great way to get more readers lining up for it, trailing reviews in their wake. Luckily, Goodreads makes it easy to list a giveaway, and the data says it pays: according to book marketer Thomas Umstattd, 750 people enter the average Goodreads giveaway, and 45% of the lucky winners end up leaving a review for their prize. By doing a giveaway, you’ll be generating much-needed buzz: even bookworms who don’t win a copy are now more likely to add your book to their bookshelves. If Goodreads isn’t your scene, you can also offer your book through LibraryThing — their Member Giveaway interface gives you a real-time look at exactly how many users are making requests for it. You can also use freebies as reader magnets to, well, draw readers in and start building a fanbase. If you’ve got an entire series in the pipeline, for example, consider making the first installment perma-free in exchange for emails — and be sure to put a note in the back matter asking readers to leave a comment on your book’s Amazon page. Because they didn't have to give up a cent, they’ll be that much more willing to pay you with their time, offering glowing — or at least, honest — reviews.

Monday, July 15, 2019

#IWSG - Writing in the summer or How to legally ignore your children.

For some, it's always difficult to carve out time to write. There are always a hundred or more things we need to be doing and writing seems to take a backseat.

Then...summer break from school arrives.

There is a constant buzzing noise going on in your ears.

It's your child(ren).

They want [insert food/attention/time/a ride/permission/attention/answers/food/attention/etc. here].

Again and again.

So, how can you balance your writing with your family?

Bribery. It's an old-fashioned notion.

Promise the park. Promise new books. Promise fast food. Promise ice cream. Promise the movies. Promise cash.

Do whatever it takes to get a few hours to yourself and write those words.

Okay, maybe that's not the best advice, and, honestly, kids aren't cute and young for long, so do your best to balance the time you spend with your children and the time you need to write.


Interested in our next Twitter event? Use this LINK to get more information!

The next #IWSGPit  will be in January 15, 2020
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Our annual anthology contest is now open! Use this LINK to find all the details!

The 2019 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest is now open for submissions!

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 3500-5000

Genre: Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy

Theme: Voyagers

Submissions accepted: May 1 - September 4, 2019  

Need some clarification on the genre?
Middle grade – suitable for 9 – 14 year-old children.
Historical – it must have historical aspects and be set in a time before 2000 or earlier. It just needs to be set in the past. Adventure/fantasy – the subgenre can be either adventure OR fantasy. The fantasy genre is acceptable as there are many ancient cultures and times that believed in supernatural occurrences.

Monday, July 8, 2019

What's Up?

The answer to that question, "What's Up?" is A LOT!

There's a new anthology contest that is open and taking submissions now. The main genre is Middle Grade Historical Fiction with the sub-genre of Adventure/Fantasy. If you're sharpening your pen and want to enter, take a look at the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES AND RULES. 

WRITE IT. EDIT IT. PUBLISH IT. Is working with #IWSG and they're getting some excellent submissions to their contests. In June, the theme was The Caged Bird, and thirty writers entered. While it was a hard contest to judge, Nick Wilford managed to winnow the "short list" down to three winners. You can click on the badges to read the winning entries, but you might also enjoy reading some others. The list is HERE.


If you didn't enter last time or you want to enter in the next contest, here's the theme and a link to the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Jump in. It's a lot of fun to participate.

Have you checked out IWSG on Instagram? Tyrean Martinson keeps our members and followers up on all that's happening.

Although our next Pitch Party isn't until January, you might want to put it on your calendar and start thinking about what you'll pitch and how you'll do it so it catches a publisher's or an editor's eye!

We are also looking for one more admin to join the team! If you are interested, please email us. Must be active member of either the blog hop or Facebook. 
Email - admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

So do you think you'll enter something for the IWSG's next anthology? How about the August WEP? Do you have something in mind for the Red Wheelbarrow theme? Are you on Instagram? If so, we hope you'll follow us. Are you thinking about pitching your story in January? And are you interested in joining the team?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Sizzling First Wednesday in July

It's July, so now we're cooking! 

Temps are up, fall is beginning to look darned good, but we need to take time and celebrate
HOT #IWSG Wednesday.

Thanks Alex!

And it's not too late to visit all of the great July hosts and say hello:

Young Adult Books
The Question of the Month is "What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?" The question is optional, so I'll opt to answer it as best I can. 

There may be a few of my quirks lurking in the Princess of Las Pulgas. Carlie tends to be stand-offish when she's hurting, and I've been told that's my strategy as well.  In Sudden Secrets, one of my friends thought my MC technique for managing stress seemed similar to mine. Cleo ran to escape thinking about her situation; I hike--guess that's close.

I'm not much like Hutch in Double Negative, but Fat Nyla and I share a lot with each other. I wrote one scene to re-enact a moment in my life, but in the book I got it right and punched the jerk in the nose. Score one for Nyla. Score one for me--just a little late.

My snarky self comes out in Sliding on the Edge, I'm afraid. Shawna cops her bad ass attitude to cover up a lot of insecurity. I've been known to do exactly that. I'm better at dealing with those insecurities now that I'm "matured." My mother would be so grateful.