The Purpose of IWSG is 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!

To join IWSG visit Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh here.


My biggest writing-related insecurity at the moment isn’t about writing per se, but
about publishing. Specifically, the constant scapegoating and refusal to accept responsibility rampant in nearly every nook and cranny of this business. Agents, booksellers, publishers, writers, and even readers—no one will escape this post unscathed. What do I mean? A few examples:

● The ‘no response means no’ query rejection. I understand agents are now implementing this approach for manuscript submittals as well. What a cowardly and disrespectful way to treat someone who hands over a year (or more) of their life.

● The many booksellers who shun self-published work because a) traditional publishers have more dollars to promote product; b) booksellers can return unsold paper copies to a trad pub for a refund; c) they’re snobs.

● Let’s talk scapegoating. Name a major publisher that doesn’t revel in blaming Amazon for the current sad state of affairs?

● And as for writers, we blame everyone. Agents who don’t think we merit a form rejection, other writers who “devalue their work with giveaways,” booksellers who refuse to stock our books, publishers with their exploitative contracts, readers who aren’t willing to take a chance on us.

These aren’t all recent developments. Check out this quote from Mark Twain written long before Jeff Bezos was a twinkle in his Mama’s eye..

“A publisher is by nature so low and vile that he—that he—well from the bottom of my heart I wish all publishers were in hell.” —MARK TWAIN (1903) 

Back when Amazon was filling everyone’s coffers, the company was lauded. No one had the courage to look beyond their personal quarterly statement or royalty check. Amazon used money as leverage to gain control of the market. And we let them. This, despite the fact that Amazon’s CEO stated the company’s intent outright. Yep, it’s on us, folks.

Now, Amazon is considered the publishing antichrist. Why? because the cash is flowing toward them rather than toward us, and dammit, we’re peeved.

The art of writing and the business of writing have always been and will always be (knock on wood) separate. That is as it should be. But here’s the thing, separate does not have to mean at cross purposes.

Amazon is here to stay, so get over it. The real issue is that no shared vision exists in publishing beyond short-term profit. This is not only what led us into the morass publishing is today, but it’s also my March insecurity.

Obviously, I’m not expecting answers, but it felt good to vent. 🙂