IWSGThank goodness it’s February: January is gone. How many resolutions did you make, and how many are still intact?  I decided long ago not to make new year resolutions. It’s always the same thing: lose weight. I generally have to return to my eating plan every Monday.  My WeightWatchers App is full of eating records for Mondays and Tuesday, and occasionally Wednesdays….

So what has this got to do with the Insecure Writers’ Support Group post for February?  Well the question of the month which our hosts  Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte are supporting us with is:

What do you like most about the genre you write in most often?

Um… room for the imagination to soar?

No, I have other thoughts in my insecure mind at present.

January is gone – meet February doubts

I had a long task list for January, which I have mostly completed.  You can see more about it in this post I did – is it only two weeks ago?

My positive start to the year immediately descended into self-doubt once I got down to building my Patreon page:

  • why would anyone want to support me
  • what should I really be writing about, since my Princelings series is clearly not grabbing too many people’s attention
  • Is my scifi as old-fashioned as my Princelings books; after all, I don’t read/enjoy many scifi books
  • Should I put out more flash fiction collections
  • who do I think I’m kidding – I don’t even write good flash fiction

Well, maybe I do and maybe I don’t. My mojo is hiding at present, but that’s partly because of self-doubt.  The old adage about sitting down and putting one word in front of the other applies. When I sit down and write a piece, I find I could do it.  Then I can polish it. The inspiration is hiding a bit, but thinking about what I’m doing for the Story Reading Ape, the writing is okay, it’s the plot and world-building.

It reminds me of something one of my friends, a graduate of a prestigious London design school, said about my painting.  “The trouble with you,” she said, “is you never just paint.  You always have to paint a picture.  It always has to be finished.”

Well, I didn’t finish everything I did, but I see what she meant.  When I do these things, they are not merely for my own enjoyment or satisfaction.  Not a pastime. (That also sounds like my golf, at present) I always seem to want to go the whole way and publish them.  Thank goodness for blogging.

And maybe I shouldn’t – publish them that is.  Maybe I should be more discerning and say – yes, I enjoyed that, but I’ll keep that to one side.  It isn’t really up to standard for publishing.

Patreon page

jemima's patreon pageSo I worried about setting up my Patreon page, and hit upon the reason for supporters – to pay for professional editing.  That’s what I really need. Having lost my last professional editor for the scifi books (she died), I need to find another.  And now I know how much that will cost me, I dither and look for short-cuts. Well, I think I’ve learnt.  If I really want to produce quality books, there isn’t a short-cut on this.  My darlings (my manuscripts) really do need to be pored over and ripped apart by an editor’s eagle eye.

Beta Readers

That goes for collections of flash fiction too.  They may have had the benefit of comments on the blog, but people are usually kind.  That’s why we need beta readers.  And I should ask more people to beta read for me, and I should beta read for more people. I think my current readers are great, but there aren’t many different points of view among them.

Yes, I am asking you if you’d like to beta read my work.  And yes, I will offer to beta read yours in return.

And that means we have to have a code of practice for our beta reading so that we give each other value for value. We comment on plot holes, structure, depth of character, things not understood, and general originality of the ideas in our works.  Kindness and constructiveness are our watchwords.  We remind each other of things like diversity: can some of your villains be female, to pick up on something I read just before I started writing this.

February starts the real year

Having done all this soul-searching and planning in January, I’m now ready to get on with the editing and writing needed to achieve my goals for the year.  I’ve given thought to how to change what I do to market the books, and I’ve decided that writing is my best advertisement.

  1. Perihelix 2ed scifi seriesI give you notice that I will be raising prices on my books when the offers alongside the launch of The Princelings of the North end, because my books are worth paying for.  No more Free First in Series. That model is gone.  If people get it free, there’s little evidence these days that they read the rest of the series. It’s nice to see those downloads in my KDP report, but where are the sales of the others? (On iTunes, actually)
  2. For my Scifi series, I will be bringing out The Perihelix in April (Oh, crumbs, that’s a deadline!)
  3. Book 2; Curved Space to Corsair, will come out in the autumn (or after my new editor has creamed it)
  4. I will be writing three flash fiction stories for submission during the year (two opps already identified, and the Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition gives me the opportunity for two more, even if they are microflashes!)

I’m now outlining the whole of the flash fiction series I have started writing for the Story Reading Ape.  It’s based on illustrations that Dani has already done, and it appears second Sunday of the month.  See the first one here. Next edition is this coming Sunday.

And I am getting on with all the guest interviews that people have kindly offered to host.  Strike while the iron’s hot, or something.

Oh, there is one more thing.  I must proofread my work better, especially before I send it to someone for their blog!

That’s it

That’s my kick in the pants for February.  If you want to join the beta readers, let me know.

What about you?  Did January work for you?  How about February?





February #IWSG | Thank goodness January is gone
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17 thoughts on “February #IWSG | Thank goodness January is gone

  • 7 February, 2018 at 9:43 am

    I’d love to beta read for you 🙂 I agree about not giving away your writing for free: some readers might value it and go on to read the rest, but others might not even read the free download. Your writing is worth being paid for.

    • 7 February, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks, Ronel – I have your email, I’ll be in touch.

  • 7 February, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    It sounds like you have made some decisions about your writing. Don’t give up on Patreon. I know of one author who is a part of it and I have also joined it, although my page and everything is not set up yet. An editor is necessary and I hope you find one very soon. As for The Princelings, you know how I feel about the book I read and reviewed. It was truly a delightful story and it got me stirred up at first with Kevin and what I perceived as his dumbness. You drew me in and I am seriously thinking about reading the entire series.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

      • 8 February, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        Thank you, Jemima. I have an account at Smashwords that I don’t use often. I will purchase it there.
        Shalom aleichem,

  • 7 February, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Lots going on here, you don’t seem to be feeling insecure with all these great plans ahead of ya. Keep on motivatin’, you doin’ good, guy!

    • 7 February, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement. I enjoy planning. The doing is the problem 😀

  • 7 February, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Excellent set of plans, and some excellent insecurities, too (most of which I share. No golf, though). I agree about needing more beta readers. I also need a wider range of readers, and probably more in the genre. By the way, the last beta I did for someone, I got a nice set of guidelines/suggestions for how to beta read, which I have (with permission) pirated and can share. It largely amounts to “do what works for you,” but offers suggestions about thing to look for and comment on. I’m better as a line editor than a big-picture editor, I think.

    • 7 February, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      I don’t think I’m critical enough in my reading… I just want to enjoy it – but I now ask myself ‘why am I not enjoying this’ which would always help in beta reading.

  • 7 February, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I could beta read but not until I get through this long, long slog of editor’s comments and corrections. I can recommend Alison Williams – she edits my books and a lot of my fellow writers’ as well. They have all been pleased.
    alisonewiiliams@sky.com. She is also very reasonable.

  • 7 February, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Jemima: I would like to recommend Alison Williams as an editor. She is mine and I’ve recommended her to many fellow writers, all of whom are very happy with her. She’s both reasonable and fast – you can contact her at
    Would be happy to beta read for you, but only once I am through the long, long slog of editing. My least favorite thing to do.

    • 7 February, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      I know the feeling – thanks for the lead (twice!)

  • 7 February, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    The Patreon thing is scary isn’t it? I feel like I’m asking a whole lot of people.

    My January got derailed due to my brother’s death. Things are getting back on track, but I’m his executor of estate, so I have that to sort out, so I went with smaller goals for this month to keep myself from burning out from trying to do it all.

    • 7 February, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      I thought that when I read your post but didn’t comment. It takes time to get over a brother’s death – all other things can wait. Just look after yourself, and the paperwork.

  • 8 February, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Jemima, when I first started reading about your “insecurities” I said “why am I trying to write, Jemima is having a rough go” and almost closed my browser, but I kept reading – as I always do – and once again, became inspired. I’m so sorry about the death of your editor, but it looks like some followers have got you covered. I would love to be a beta reader. I don’t have anything that is close to anywhere near for a beta reader to read yet, but would love your input, if I ever get there.

    By all means too, don’t give away your art. We have this discussion constantly in music, because there are people who will undercut other player for contract gigs and it debases the entire industry, not that I’m implying that’s even CLOSE to the case here. You’ve worked hard to create your works and you should not just give them to people who are not going to even crack the book open! It sounds like you have a plentiful list of things to do, and I hope to be a part of it, Jemima! Thanks again!

  • 8 February, 2018 at 4:08 am

    Hi Jemima, I have to say I love the guinea pig I had many when I was a kid and bred and sold them for after school money. I hold guinea pigs near and dear to my heart. I named m first two Lancelot Link and Mata Hairi,

  • 10 February, 2018 at 4:06 am

    January was good to lay the foundation for a lot of stuff and clear out the BS. It was a bit costly but I hope February will pay me back and then some. Best wishes to you and yours moving forward.

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