The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#125

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 August 03rd posting of the IWSG are: Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

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!

August 03rd Question: When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?
With regards to my short stories (which always seem to take on a life of their own), I go the original route. It’s normally a wild and fun ride!!
When it comes to a novel/novella, I’d imagine that, to a large degree, you should give readers what they want. After all, there are certain genre conventions that have to be satisfied when dealing with long books.

Do you have a newsletter?
I’ve been trying to work on author newsletter ideas.
My takeaway so far:
~personal touch;
~a great subject line will almost always outperform a great newsletter with a poor subject line;
~lead with a relevant image and bold statement;
~an uncommon but relevant reader stat;
~exclusivity e.g a free story;
~networking opportunity with another author in the same genre as an example of paying it forward.
Can you vouch for any of the above? Did I miss anything?

Here is a collage of the books I’ve been reading.
1. How To make a Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn
2. Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn   
3. Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran   
4. 2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron 
Have you read any of these books?

Happy IWSG Day! If I still owe you a visit from last month, please bear with me – I will get around to your place. 


  1. M.J. Fifield on August 3, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t have a newsletter of my own, but the author newsletters I enjoy most include a personal touch. It’s not all “BUY MY BOOKS”. I don’t tend to subscribe to the ones that are for very long. The exclusive free story/whatever is nice, too.

    • Natalie Aguirre on August 4, 2022 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks for sharing your tips on newsletters. I’ll keep them in mind if I ever do one. I haven’t read those books, but they look good.

  2. T. Powell Coltrin on August 3, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    No newsletter here, but maybe one day.

    I’ve only read Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna. We need to pay attention to her, she knows what she talking about.

  3. C. Lee McKenzie on August 3, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    You’re the second blogging to point out the conventions in different genres. I hadn’t thought about that as being a constraint, but it’s obvious, isn’t it? Good point.

  4. Tyrean Martinson on August 3, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    I’ve been working on my newsletter this year, and I would add, shorter is better than longer. I have written a few lengthy meaty ones and while they get opened, the next ones don’t. So… I promised a short and sweet one this time by putting that in the title and more people have opened it, plus I’ve received replies, which is nice.

  5. Hilary Melton-Butcher on August 3, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Michelle – I’ve just my blog … but so enjoy engaging with others … and learning from you all re the subject of writing and publishing. I just am happy with being around – and catching up with blogging friends – thanks for your comment – cheers Hilary

  6. Loni Townsend on August 3, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    I’m terrible when it comes to newsletters. I don’t have much more to say that I don’t already say on my blog. I own a few of those books you have listed, unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet.

  7. Carol Kilgore on August 3, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    I have a newsletter. I agree shorter is better. I try to include something personal about writing or life in general in each one. Sometimes I do better than other times. I do much better putting my characters on the page than putting myself there.

  8. Miffie Seideman on August 3, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    This very timely question about newsletters hit home for me today. After days of editing a great newsletter (i hope), a website update bug sent out a totally empty newsletter to my subscribers. I’ve spent all morning with the developer getting the bug fixed, rewriting a newsletter with a ‘super sorry for another email’ and hoping folks don’t unsubscribe.
    So… there is that to contribute to the newsletter issues to consider. What happens when there are glitches with it the impact your subscribers?
    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  9. Olga Godim on August 3, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Yes, the genre expectations should be met in every story, if you hope to attract your readers.
    Re: a newsletter – I don’t have one. But I subscribe to several writers’ blogs. And I enjoy most NOT the ones talking about their books but the ones talking about what the readers want to hear. Sometimes, there are posts about the new books by that author. Other times, it is what she does in her mundane life, or an invitation to the readers to share certain experiences in specific areas. In that case, most of the value of such posts are in the comments, in the interactions. It is like a literary community. We read/listen but we talk too.

  10. Lee Lowery on August 4, 2022 at 12:13 am

    Genre conventions do need to be honored. Especially in this competitive market. There are so many choices for readers now. And I’ve dumped authors who’ve jumped shark to be “true to themselves.”

    No advice about newsletters. I don’t have one and I don’t subscribe to them. No time for either.

  11. Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy on August 4, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Good advice on newsletters. I’d also add consistency ie twice a week, once a week, once a month. Whatever frequency you choose, make it consistent.

  12. Alex J. Cavanaugh on August 4, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Sounds like a great plan for a newsletter!

  13. Denise Covey on August 4, 2022 at 1:54 am

    Yes Michelle, different genres have different tropes of which readers are very aware. Joanna Penn is always good value. I use Bookfunnel to grow my newsletter. You offer a free story and people sign up to your newsletter to get it. Some people only subscribe to get the freebie, but really, for every 100 subs I only get a half dozen unsubscribes. But I struggle with newsletter content. I always start with a picture showing something about my local area with a short blurb. And I make clear sections. My click rate isn’t high, so I’m no expert, but I’m continually working on improving it. Dah.

  14. L. Diane Wolfe on August 4, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    A networking opportunity is a good idea. When I had my own newsletter, I featured a new author every month.

  15. Michael Di Gesu on August 4, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I love your ideas about newsletters. Since my first work isn’t out yet, I haven’t even thought about it. I should get busy on at least an author page. IT is FINALLY happening after such a long time. I have been so out of the loop for so long, I really must up my game now.

  16. Damyanti Biswas on August 4, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    What a bit of interesting advice. I have a newsletter too. I agree with keeping it short and sweet.

  17. Elizabeth Seckman on August 5, 2022 at 3:51 am

    I haven’t read any of those books, but should.

    As a reader, I like newsletters with a personal touch. My financial advisor adds golf tips and recipes, which is neat. I keep thinking I need some sort of formula like that, but like most things I do, I haven’t quite decided on an actual formula.

  18. Michelle Wallace on August 18, 2022 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for all the comments. and advice.
    I really appreciate your visit! 🙂

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