The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#124

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 your thoughts on your own blog. Talk 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 writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 06th posting of the IWSG are:  J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!

Don’t forget to visit them and thank them for co-hosting!

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!

July 06th Question: If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose? 
I have no idea! But I’m keen to read what others have to say.

I’m posting early because I’ll be out of town for a week. So I’ll only be able to visit blogs once I’m back.

I have many short stories in various stages of development: some completed but unedited, some completed and edited, some half-done etc. I’ve been thinking about self-publishing these stories as a way of dipping my toes in the self-pub waters!
A scary thought… I’m wondering how steep is the learning curve? I suppose I’ll find out when/if I follow through with this. I’m not one to back down when faced with a challenge. But I’ll keep you posted. 

If you had to give me ONE piece of self-publishing advice, what would you suggest/recommend?

See you all next week!!


  1. Natalie Aguirre on July 5, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    Hope you’re having a great trip. Sorry, but I’ve never self-published, so I don’t have any advice to share. But I’m sure plenty of authors in our group can give you good advice on how to do it. Keep us posted if you decide to self-publish your short stories.

  2. J Lenni Dorner on July 6, 2022 at 9:12 am

    Hmm… one would be to think about where your readers shop. We might not like Amazon, and might be fighting to get some of their policies changes, but it’s hard to deny the popularity of Kindle. Of course, there is Smashwords, which allows readers to buy your ebook and put it on the device of their choice, or read it on screen. But as this takes one extra step for people to put something on a Kindle, and there are a lot of lazy, er, hesitant and busy, readers out there, it doesn’t always work out for the writer. However, with Smashwords, you can get on B&N and into libraries and stuff. You cannot do KindleUnlimted and Smashwords, but you can do regular Kindle and Smashwords. I have no idea about Vella.
    But adding your book to Goodreads is always a great idea. Especially for reviews!
    Some sites (*glares at Amazon 😑) only allow readers to post reviews if they spend a certain amount of money a year shopping with that site. Even though Amazon got sticky fingers slimed into Goodreads, it’s still an easy site to leave reviews on.
    (However, Amazon basically blackballs books until there are at least 50 reviews on their site, from verified buyers who bought the book on their site and spend enough money per year with that company.)

    That’s my rant tip.

    My other tip is to get as many blogs as possible to post about your book. Get social media friends. It is said that an average reader has to see a book mentioned five times before they’ll go look at it, seven times to get them to consider buying, ten times to buy it, and twenty (20??!! omg…) times to actually freaking read it.
    I have no idea who sat around and conducted that research, who they consider average, or how many people they polled. I just recall the stats from some time back.

    For the IWSG July prompt asking which book world I would live in, I narrowed it down to three choices.
    One is a short-story I published. One is from a popular series. And one is better known from television, but there are books. It’s all on my blog.
    Today’s Google Doodle This is a tribute to Charlie Hill of the Oneida Nation, the first Native American stand-up comedian to be on a nationally broadcast television show.
    Over at Operation Awesome, our Pass or Pages query contest is open this week with July’s family saga genre. Know any writers who might want to enter?

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  3. Hilary Melton-Butcher on July 6, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Hi Michelle – have a lovely week … so great to get out into that South African bush … I think I’d like to live in London in Victorian England, having fireside chats about various new authors and visiting the bookshops and libraries that were springing up then. But actually a visit to Cape Town with similar thoughts … cheers Hilary

  4. Patricia Anne Pierce-garcia Schaack on July 6, 2022 at 11:33 am

    My advice would be to go ahead and do self-pub. Becoming a hybrid author where you are dipping into both worlds is a good thing.
    Enjoy your week off. We all need that.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  5. Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 6, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    My advice – contact other IWSG members who have done it well. Several of our Admins can give you sound advice as well.

  6. H. R. Sinclair on July 6, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    I hope you have a good trip!

    My advice is to do it, don’t overthink. Oh, and go wide (don’t just publish on one platform).

  7. Janet Alcorn on July 6, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    I haven’t self-published, so I can’t give advice on that, but there are lots of opportunities to get short stories published in anthologies or literary magazines. And you can submit them to contests. In every case I’ve encountered, you retain your rights, so you could self-publish your own anthology later. I wish I had a bigger backlog of shorts. It’s hard to balance writing them with working on my novels-in-progress.

    Good luck!

  8. Jemi Fraser on July 6, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    I love being an indie author! I love the control over all aspects.
    I’m a wide author, so my first piece of advice would be to set up accounts on all the major retailers and D2D (Draft2Digital) early. Get the paperwork and banking info submitted and accepted. Some retailers are slow at this.
    Each retailer has its quirks (eg. as a Canadian dealing with our taxes, it’s far easier for me to reach Apple through D2D) but it’s not hard.
    Any time you want to chat, reach out. I’m happy to help!!

  9. L. Diane Wolfe on July 6, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Shoot me an email – I can help. Yes, it’s a steep learning curve.

  10. C. Lee McKenzie on July 6, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    I’m definitely not the one to give publishing advice, but based on my so-called experience, I’d say don’t rush to publication. Make sure you’ve made the book the very best you can before releasing it into the world.

  11. Loni A Townsend on July 6, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    There’s a lot of factors in self-publishing, but thankfully, you have the IWSG as an amazing resource for when you take that step!

  12. M.J. Fifield on July 6, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    I’m a self-pubbed author and I’ve been happy with that decision because of the control factor. There is a lot to learn and a lot of moving parts to the process. I agree with Lee, though—don’t rush to publication.

    Safe travels!

  13. Carol Kilgore on July 6, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Hope your trip was great. My advice: Learn a lot about marketing your book. Also take L. Diane Wolfe up on her offer. She will be a tremendous help to you.

  14. Mary Aalgaard on July 6, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    I haven’t self-published, but I think a collection of short stories is a great idea! I think you have some of the recommendations already in place, a strong website, blog, and following. As well as other social media contacts. Go for it!

  15. MIffie Seideman on July 6, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Michelle! I haven’t self-published, but several in my writer’s support group have. They strongly encourage going through IngramSpark (who I also think has a variety of free info or videos about self publishing on their site, though that could be old info). I have also heard a lot of good things about using Book Brush to design your covers, since it also helps you design matching giveaways, like bookmarks, etc.
    Have a great trip!

  16. Olga Godim on July 6, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    I only self-published one book, so not much advice. Just go ahead and do it.
    Do you need covers? I could do covers, or at least I could try, and it won’t cost you anything, whether you choose to go with my covers or not. As I do it as a hobby, I don’t charge any fees. So far I have done mostly pre-made covers, but also real covers for two writers. Both seem satisfied. I would be happy to try for you.

  17. Louise (Fundy Blue) on July 6, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    I hope that you’re having a great trip, Michelle! Isn’t it wonderful to be able to travel again?

  18. Denise Covey on July 7, 2022 at 12:07 am

    I’m glad to hear you’re thinking of self-publishing. My advice would be to accept that it’s hard, no two ways about it, It’s great to have someone to hold your hand. You need a great cover, a great blurb and be prepared to advertise some. I found it best to just go with Amazon as they sell the most books and it gets even more complicated to publish wide – eg iPhone, Barnes and Noble etc. I’m happy if you throw some questions at me.

  19. Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy on July 7, 2022 at 1:18 am

    Yes!!! Self-publishing is fun. My advice is get a good cover (don’t do it yourself). And make sure the style of the cover fits the genre of your stories.

  20. Damyanti Biswas on July 8, 2022 at 3:49 am

    Self-publishing is definitely a steep learning curve–from what I’ve observed from the outside. I may be totally wrong, but the big decision is at what point you’d like to tackle that curve. Some try to do it pre-publication–learn as much as they can, build up enough books to be able to rapid release, and then of course, learn through the process as well. Others, I’ve noticed, just dive in and do it and learn as they go. Neither process is foolproof, and since I have zero experience, I have no advice to give–just tons of good wishes, and a request to tag me in anything you need promoted so I can shout from the rooftops!

  21. Elizabeth Seckman on July 8, 2022 at 11:35 am

    I hired Melissa Maygrove for the editing and Carrie Butler for the cover design for my latest book, which I self-published. It is more work to do it yourself, but all of the work and money I am investing feels more like a direct investment in my future goals. So, more work and responsibility, but it’s like planting your own garden. It feels like worthwhile work!

  22. Toi Thomas on July 17, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    As far as advice goes, I’d say manage your expectations for a first-time self-publisher. Hard work is excellent and will get you far, but as you say “there is a learning curve”. Because you’ve already built up a platform and presence online, it won’t be as hard as someone who hasn’t, but keep in mind your return on investment. I’d be happy to help with whatever marketing campaign you come up with. I love to see people stepping into the world of self-publishing, even when they far surpass me, which most do. I’m excited for you.

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