The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day. The fabulous co-hosts this month are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, and Lee Lowrey.
Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.
This month's question is:
"What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?"
Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below.
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|Image via The Graphics Fairy|
"Simon, what's going on here? Why am I lying on the ground covered in sand?" After sitting up, brushing the annoying grains off of my clothes, I gazed up and saw a giant pyramid reflecting the strong sun. And was that a giant sphinx nearby?
"Simon, answer me! Last thing I remember, I was taking a nap, and now I appear to be in Egypt!"
"You should be addressing me as Your Holiness or as He Who Should Be Adored and Worshiped," the large gray cat said haughtily. He flicked his pink tongue across one of his paws, then cleaned sand off from behind his ear. Apparently satisfied with his appearance, he added, "After all, I am a god here."
I snorted - which helpfully got rid of the sand lodged in my nose. "You, a god. Are you kidding me?"
"That's exactly why I used my powers to have us travel back in time to this place. Here, people will build statues to honor me, they'll fan me to keep me cool, and they'll give me all the belly rubs I desire."
I rolled my eyes - which unhelpfully dislodged some sand from my eyelashes into the corner of my eye. "You are so selfish, Simon."
"Oh, I'm sorry," I said, just a tad sarcastically. Okay, a lot sarcastically. "I mean, you're so selfish, Your Eminence Who Constantly Has Tuna Breath."
He growled some more.
"By the way, before you whisked me off to the past, I was busy writing my monthly IWSG post about the pitfalls you should avoid when publishing."
"I thought you said you were taking a nap."
"Same thing," I snapped. "Napping is how writers talk to their creative muses."
Simon did the feline equivalent of rolling his eyes. It's hard to describe what that looks like, but you know when it's happened.
"And do you know what my number one pitfall was? Getting too attached to a character. You know how I write cozy mysteries. Well sometimes, some characters just have to be killed off. Get my drift?"
He swished his tail back and forth, kicking up sand all over me. "Fine, we'll travel forward in time, back to that stupid boat in stupid Florida. But, you owe me a belly rub. And a statue wouldn't hurt either."
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I'm not sure I can really answer this month's question as I very much at the start of my publication journey having just released my first book in June. But here are a few pitfalls I've tried to avoid so far.
1 - Comparing Yourself to Others
If you watch writing podcasts or frequent certain forums and Facebook groups, you might start to believe that everyone but you is killing it. There are countless stories about how someone has become an Amazon best seller, how they're making six-figure incomes, or how they churn out a new book each month. It's really easy to get caught up in all the hype and despair that you're not successful like everyone else.
The truth is that most writers will never become best sellers or be able to fund an luxury holiday to a tropical island from their royalties. Comparing myself to those superstars would take all of the fun out of it. After all I started writing because I enjoy it, not to become rich and famous.
2 - Not Taking Your Time
Wow, there is so much to learn when it comes to self-publishing. I'm really glad that I had a rather ridiculously long pre-order period so that I could get all my ducks in a row before my book was release. Once you finish your manuscript, if you're anything like me, you'll be itching to push the publish button and get it out there for all to see. But if you don't take the time to make sure you get everything right, you might find yourself stressed out when things don't go to plan.
3 - Not Having a Cat
Okay, this is really a point that Simon wanted to make. He feels that it's really important to have a cat as one of your main characters. Fortunately, I have one in my cozy series - Mrs. Moto, a Japanese bobtail calico. She's a very sweet cat, doesn't have a god-complex, and isn't snarky.
Don't let Simon hear me say this, but having a cat isn't essential. But not knowing the common tropes of your genre is a potential pitfall. I write cozy mysteries and many of them feature adorable furry companions. No, you don't have to write to market and tick every trope off of the list, but if you publish a book that doesn't deliver what your readers expect, then you might find that you get some bad reviews. For example, if I had written in gory detail about the crime scene or had explicit sex scenes, than I'm pretty sure cozy readers wouldn't be buying the next book in the series.
If you want to know more about my cozy mystery publishing journey, I'm documenting the good, the bad, and the ugly over on my author blog. There's a whole bunch of posts on things like editing, book format, beta readers, cover design, and going Amazon exclusive vs. wide.
What about you? What pitfalls have you experienced on your publication journey? Or what pitfalls are you hoping to avoid as you start your journey?
A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary - not very romantic. A dead body on board - even worse.
>>Murder at the Marina<< is the first in a new lighthearted and humorous cozy mystery series about Mollie McGhie, a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.
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