Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM August 2015



It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.


If you'd like to join us, click hereBe sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG


Alex's awesome co-hosts for August 5th are:  


Please stop by and thank them for their time and effort.


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If you have a question for "Ask PZM Sept/15", forward it to cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca, and I'll pass it along. If you're wondering whether Phyllis already answered your questions and you missed it, type Ask PZM in the search this blog window on the right-hand side of the page, and you'll receive a list of Phyllis's posts.
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I took an hiatus for the month of June, mostly to finish the final draft of my political thriller (an epic story featuring Vietnam and the fall of the Soviet Union) and to squash my writer's block with my current WIP. Earlier in the year, I'd left my publisher thinking I'd just go out and find another one. That didn't happen, and my ego suffered. Taking a break was good. I sought out those things that make me joyful. I finished the final draft of KISS OF THE ASSASSIN, and I continued work on my WIP.

I know many of you are struggling, wondering why a sensible person like yourself chose such a gut-wrenching profession. Maybe you've yet to be published, or maybe you're like me, back to square one for book #3.

First of all, writing chooses us, not the other way around. While there are many avenues of assistance, support, caring, (IWSG: a wonderful example) it is vital that you be who you are, love being who you are, and not measure yourself by the labels put upon you by our industry.

Don't lose faith; reach out. We're in this together.

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ASK PZM


Q:  Can you recommend sites you find useful for writers?

The following are in no specific order, please read the fine print if you are submitting your work, and do note that many of these suggestions have both free and paid options.  And although I have written here about some of these sites before, I wanted to include them in this list with the other sites:

Querytracker.net – free and paid options to search for book agents and keep track of your submitted queries.  The interface could be greatly improved – I needed to use the site’s how-to videos to understand many of the features – although I find the tracking system worthwhile.  P.S.  For $25 a year (at the time of writing) the paid option, which allows tracking of up to 20 projects rather than the free option for 1 project, is worth it to me.  (This is the link to see the different features between the free and paid options: https://querytracker.net/upgrade.php )

Inktip.net for scriptwriters (film & TV): free and paid options for weekly leads of production companies looking for specific scripts.  There are also paid options for featuring your script.  I have used the paid weekly lead option and found the provided leads interesting.  (So far I haven’t sold anything.)

Wazala.com – I just found this site and thus can’t give a personal recommendation. It interested me because I was looking for an online market site similar to Etsy.com that went beyond focusing on handcrafted products.  I think Wazala might be an interesting place for authors to sell their books and related merchandise – just read the small print carefully!

Studios.Amazon.comfor scriptwriters: free to upload scripts to Amazon Studios, which gives Amazon at this writing a 45-day option on each uploaded project (and certain activities extend that option period).  I use this opportunity frequently – see all my projects at  https://studios.amazon.com/users/48358 – although it is very important to carefully read the development agreement before signing.

Kindleworlds.Amazon.com -- if a featured “world” is one of your fan favorites, this Amazon program provides the opportunity for you to write fan fiction for that world, get your fan fiction published on Amazon if your fiction meets the guidelines, and be paid for your fan fiction when people buy it!  While I haven’t yet tried this opportunity (I’m not a “fan” of any of the current worlds), I have heard the Amazon person in charge of this program speak and I was suitably impressed.

Wattpad.com – I’ve written about this site before – a free site to post your fiction in installments and where fans of your fiction can be notified each time you post a new installment.  I use this site and you can see my various Wattpad projects at www.wattpad.com/user/ZimblerMiller (Note that I choose the “All Rights Reserved”option when uploading any of my work although there is always a risk of someone using posted material and you should think carefully about this before posting anything on Wattpad.)  At the moment I’m adding chapters of the Rebecca Stone cozy mystery SINK LIKE A STONE, the sequel novel to CAST THE FIRST STONE, at http://budurl.com/Sinkintro – if you like cozy mysteries I hope you’ll check out this new installment mystery.

Skrawl.com – I just learned about this free site to post your fiction or nonfiction writing, including screenplays, when the site’s community manager reached out to me.  I’m trying the site out now with a brand-new serialized fantasy story ROAD TO ZANZICA.  Check out my experiment now at http://skrawl.com/skrawls/1165-Road-to-Zanzica and, as with Wattpad or similar sites, be very careful to read the terms before agreeing.  (I’m choosing the option that only I can add “bits” chunks to the serialized story in order to keep the copyright totally for myself.)

Goodreads.com, Shelfari.com, LibraryThing.com – all online book communities.  Amazon’s Goodreads, Amazon’s Shelfari, and LibraryThing have many options for authors and readers. (I do have accounts on all these sites although I’m not that active on any of these.)

Meetup.com – search in your local area for meetings of real people offline in readers and writers groups.  The meetings of many of these groups are free.  And if you want a writers or readers group and can’t find one in your area, you can start one through this site.  (I use this site to attend different tech meetup events in Los Angeles.)

If you have other sites you’d like to share with others, please do so in the comments below.  And do note whether you have personally used the site.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller – the author of fiction and nonfiction books – blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and is active on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller



44 comments :

  1. I had my back to square one back in March but have worked through it. Maybe for the better.
    Susan Says

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    1. So it's possible that I'll beat this thing? Gads, that's good to know.

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  2. A month-long hiatus sounds nice. Congrats on finishing your final draft! And you're right that writing chooses us and I'm glad writing chose me. :)

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    1. Me, too, Chrys. Even if somedays it feels impossible.

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  3. I so agree with Joylene that writing finds you (and not the other way round). That said, I also understand how Joylene has been feeling. Until recently I had slowed down my writing considerably -- and being approached about trying out Skrawl helped pump me up. (Do visit my Skrawl project at http://skrawl.com/skrawls/1165-Road-to-Zanzica and share with others who might like this fantasy -- with romance -- story.)

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    1. Can't wait to check it out, Phyllis. You... are my inspiration. Thanks for all you do.

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  4. It's true. Any of the arts find the artist. A "normal" person doesn't deliberately go out to seek rejection! :D Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  5. When I tell people I'm a writer they say they're jealous. Oh boy, they have no idea how much we struggle. They have images of Hemingway, write a little and party a lot. That's not my experience. It's daunting but it's what I do and I like it 60% of the time ;)

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    1. Sixty percent of the time is good odds. I'm close behind you. We're who we are, that's for sure. Thanks, TBM!

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  6. Phyllis, thanks for the helpful links. Always appreciate your help! Joylene, thanks for hosting, and for your encouraging words. It is nice to know we have wonderful friends to share the journey.

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    1. Karen, thanks for such a nice comment. Glad you found the links helpful.

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    2. So true, Karen. It's a long lonely journey without like-minded people.

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  7. Great post, enjoyed the links. Congrats on getting past the writers block and soldiering on.
    I hope all you wish for in your writing you find and soon,
    Best of luck,
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  8. Nice list! Thanks for the information. And yes, sometimes it takes a village to raise a writer.

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  9. "writing chooses us, not the other way around." I love that. So true, but sometimes we have to choose writing too, especially when the struggles get more difficult.

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    1. Or sometimes we have to force ourselves to clean the dishes. Because we are human and can succumb to our laziness. LOL. So true. Hi, Lynda!

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  10. So I'm thinking. . . Why is this gut-wrenching? Ego? If we don't achieve our goal (s) and we don't achieve it/them in PUBLIC is that what produces this gut-churning stuff? I guess it is.

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    1. I think so. We put everything into our writing. If we want to be successful, we must. It's hard to put yourself out there knowing you can get kicked in the gut. We know, yet we do it anyway. Thanks, Lee.

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  11. I'm sorry to hear you didn't find a publisher right away. Perhaps this is your chance to try out the world of self-publishing. It requires a different skill set, but unless you find a great publisher who's willing to do marketing and help sell your book, you may be better off where you control everything and reap the benefits. Good luck!

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    1. I have one more novel to finish, then I'm going to start honing my marketing skills and decide what to do next. Thanks, Lexa!

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  12. Thank you for this wise, wonderful post. You know what? You achieved your mission with this piece, I feel truly uplifted. Thanks, Joylene. A great read, as always! :-)
    http://www.yvettecarol.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Yvette. You always make my day.

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  13. p.s. Wishing you all the best with the third book!

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  14. Thanks for a great list! We'll add some of those to the IWSG site.
    Sorry I'm late, Joylene - this just now showed up in my Feedly reader.

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    1. Yes, they'll be a wonderful addition to our site. Your blog always comes to my inbox one day late too. Guess they're busy.

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  15. I do believe one of the best resources a writer has are the online support groups like IWSG. Can you imagine writing before internet? It really would have been lonely. Good luck with book 3.

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    1. Sadly, I can remember back then. I started writing in 1983. It was extremely lonely. Took until 1995 before I found my first online writers' group. Thank, Kai.

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  16. Thank you, Joylene, I needed to hear that today.

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    1. I'm so glad it helped, Sara. Have a great day.

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  17. Good job with your final draft! Great list of links. I knew of many of them, but discovered a few new ones.

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    1. That's great to hear, Loni. Thanks for stopping by. Happy IWSG.

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  18. I've tried MeetUp but never got any response from the groups I queried.

    Keep looking for a publisher, Joylene. I'm taking a break starting this weekend to finish my next book.

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    1. Good luck with it, Diane. Breaks are a good thing.

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  19. Hey Joylene,

    How's it goin', eh?

    Good to know you did your final draft, Joylene. You were missed during your hiatus. I tried to cover for you in the world of blogging but failed miserably.

    I have a good feeling that all is going to be okay with you finding a pawblisher, sorry,publisher!

    Have a nice weekend, Joylene.

    Gary :)

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    1. It's going well, Gary. Thanks for the support and carrying on while I was gone. Carry on and Blog is what I always say. Okay, no, but it is smart, don't you think? Carry on and Read Jane Austin. Carry On and Read Penny's Blog. Carry on, Carry On, carry on.

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  20. "It is vital that you be who you are, love being who you are, and not measure yourself by the labels put upon you by our industry." Great quote and very encouraging post, Joylene! Love the helpful writing links too.

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  21. 'Writing chooses us, not the other way around'. Mmmm. I'm just wondering why I'm so late to the game... *sighs*
    Thanks for all the links, Joylene.

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  22. Writing is fun when you are moving along in the story and the words flow. Sometimes they don't flow, but kind of burp along. We write through it because we have to. Simple, eh? Thanks for the links. Finding new things to use in writing is part of the fun too!

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Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.