Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group

I'll admit it. I have nothing brilliant to add to the IWSG Guide To Publishing. Instead I have a problem, an insecurity problem. I've been publishing short stories in an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, I like working with the editor, and it provides a writing credit when I query novels. Now that I've published six stories, the editor has offered to e-publish them together as a collection.

To better describe my reaction, let me introduce two of the many voices in my head: Boldly Optimistic (or BOP) and Cautiously Pessimistic (or CAP).

BOP: Wow! This is so cool! My first published book!

CAP: Really? The magazine's readership is small. They don't have a big advertising budget, so you know what that means.

BOP: No problem! I'll hire a copy-editor! And a cover artist!

CAP: That's the easy part. What about marketing?

BOP: Oh. That.

CAP: Yeah, that. Is marketing what you want to spend your time on right now?

BOP: Hmm. I was hoping to dive into research for a new novel. I'm also querying agents for a finished novel.

CAP: About that. What would an agent think of an e-book with 5 sales and zip for reviews?

BOP: Well, you've got to start somewhere. It would be great practice. A learning experience!

CAP: But is this the right book to publish (virtually self-publish)? Few traditional publishers would touch a short story collection with a ten-foot pole (especially by an unknown newbie) and you, with no experience, think you can market such an animal? Seriously?

BOP: Umm. (Shuffles feet).

CAP: You should wait. See if an agent bites on the current novel. See if you can publish a short story in a more widely read publication.

BOP: You're just chicken. Sooner or later, every author has to learn to market their work.

CAP: What's the rush?

BOP: It's an opportunity!

CAP: It could be a mistake.

BOP: Bwuck-buck-buck-BU-GAWK!

Okay, those two need a time out.

Self-publishers, what made you take the plunge? Those of you pursuing the traditional route: how do you keep pushing when the odds of success are so small?


  1. Marketing may be difficult, but it sounds like a great opportunity!

  2. Tamara, it sounds like a great opportunity. Even if it doesn't sell a lot, it's something else you can add to your resume.

  3. No matter what, you'll be spending a lot of time marketing. I know that's not something your or anyone want to hear, but it's the reality of being published these days. If you pass up on this eBook, and get an agent for your novel, you'll have to market that when it's time. I think this eBook would be a great way to get your feet wet and prepare you for when your book is published. And, like L. Diane said, it's something for your resume and a way for you to reach readers. Good luck!

  4. Ah, yes. The voices in our heads. Sometimes it's easier to listen to the pessimist rather than the optimist. But, we have to take risks to reap their rewards. Good luck!

    co-host IWSG

  5.'s a big time commitment, no doubt. But that's the only real downside I can see. I'm with Chrys - it could be good practice for future publications. BUT, if it's really going to take a ton of time away from writing, and you really don't want that, you don't have to do it. WHat does your gut say? Not your brain, not the fear, but your gut?

  6. You are too funny. But hey, you deserve a big WOOT! So cool they offered to do that. Apparently, you're doing something right.

  7. I'd go for! I decided to self-publish because I'm just getting to old to play the waiting game going the traditional route.

  8. I've done both, with the self-publishing because I know some people who have done well with it. What I would say on the short story front is that those stories are already out there, gaining you potential readers. A collection isn't going to improve that. You'd be better using the time to write more stories and hit more markets with them.

  9. I'd go for it for the experience. A lot of our blogger authors have self published short story anthologies and have been pleased. And, the stories are already published, garnering whatever readership/reviews they have made. Who knows, with your blogger following perhaps the publisher will gather more readership, and that can be good for both of you.

    As for the time, perhaps you can talk to the editor as get them to do the bulk of the work. But isn't getting your name out there a way of getting traditional publishers to look at you closer?

    Its a tough decision, one only you can know what is best for you. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  10. Haha. This is priceless. I'm with more than one traditional publisher, small houses, so most of the marketing is my responsibility. It's frustrating, but I keep hoping one day readers will know who I am. I've thought about self publishing, but my editing is bad. I have to have a good editor. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

  11. I'd say take it. This opportunity could lead to many others. But if you don't take it, it definitely won't lead to others.
    Welcome to the IWSG!

  12. I went with self-publishing, but my goal was to have my book, not really become a career author. I think traditional publishing might be a good route if you want to be a career author, or you want the validation of gatekeepers to tell you your work is good. But seeing that the magazine already published you, I'm guessing the answer is that you're darn good.

    Don't let the CAP get you down. :) Trust in your inner BOP.

  13. I'd say take it. You never know where it will lead. (And you'll never know if you don't try.)

  14. Yep, that pretty much sums it up! I wonder if people in any other occupation have moments of self-doubt like we do!

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