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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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.comif 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

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