Insecure Writer's Support Group

Year in Review #IWSG #writerslife

I can’t believe that it’s November already! For me, it means the last IWSG post of the year (I’m taking December off for a proper holiday).

Learn more here.

Buckle in, this is going to be one awesome – and slightly long – post.

I’d like to start this post with amending the details of Grumpy Old Gods Vol 3’s release date: gremlins broke in, got wet and got fed after midnight…

The Grumpy Old Gods are back in a delightfully spooky edition. Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, almost always grumpy, cranky, or cantankerous, these modern renditions of aging gods and goddesses will enliven the season and leave you wanting more.

Maize by Marshall J. Moore: Family history and mythology both have a way of repeating themselves; and if you are P.I. Althea Stagg, they are basically the same thing anyway.

A Grave Mistake by Elizabeth Shaffer : Loki isn’t a good guy, but sometimes, even he gets the chance to be a hero. (So what if he was in the middle of pulling a prank when the chance came along?)

Queen of Nightmares by Ronel Janse van Vuuren: When Queen Mab tries to take a well-deserved break, all hell breaks loose…literally.

A Deal’s a Deal by Vanessa Finaughty: When the younger gods decide to throw a Halloween bash, the lord of Samhain is less than pleased. As usual, It’s up to Isis to fix the resulting mess.

Riding the Storm by Lyssa Medana: Even a retired God needs to get out occasionally; Taranis should have chosen a different night.

The Boy Who Became a God by Aletha Wade: Sometimes it takes a lot to become what you will be, and death isn’t always an ending.

Fingertips of Blood and Oil by K. A. Masters: On an epic trip across the sea, a Captain meets a Goddess, and finds out that they have more in common than one would expect.

Oracle by Mark Bruce: Beware what you bring with you when you enter the Oracle.

St. Estavan of the Children by E. E. King: He died. But after he died, he found a purpose.

Night of the Living Diva by Greg Nagler: Lilly and Mable face off with the Goddess Hecate. It’s not going to be pretty.

Rose by Vanessa Wells: Something is killing wealthy businessmen, something that can rip out a heart and leave no DNA evidence – when the police can’t find the killer, it’s time to call a witch.

Release date: 25 October 2019

If you would like to read and review any of the Grumpy Old Gods anthologies, just fill in the form and I’ll send you your free copy.

On than note, I got a notice that Amazon had changed the rules about reviews yet again.

  • Disconnect Twitter and Facebook from your Amazon account. Reviewers get disqualified if you know each other. (If they identify friends and family reviews, they will delete them.)
  • ALWAYS use a clean link when sharing book links (don’t add anything after the ASIN – it’s how you get tracked).
  • DO NOT use the phrase “Free copy in EXCHANGE for an honest review”.
  • DO NOT use the phrase “I was given a free copy of this book by the Author”.
  • DO NOT use the phrase “I love this Author or this is one of my favorite Authors.”.
  • DO NOT use the Author’s name in the review.

AMAZON WILL DELETE Reviews according to their new Rules.

To avoid key triggers for Amazon bots, try this phrase instead: I received an ARC copy of this book and I am voluntarily reviewing it.

Thanks, Juneta for all this great information!

In other awesome news: the second book in the Dark Court Sisters series will be released on November 30th. (The first in the series is Dark Desires.) I’ve just gotten my rights back on it – the story was first published in Clarion Call: 4 Fairytale Riot! – and it’s already available for pre-order everywhere.

Kelly, a Hunter for the High Council of Faerie, is sent to investigate strange disappearances in the town of Bremen. She is confronted with her heritage, her past and her own warring nature in her quest to bring peace to the region.

Get The Inn on pre-order from your favourite store today.

If you would like to read and review it – maybe also read and review the first book in the series – please sign up below and I’ll send you your free copy. (Both are really short ebooks!)

In October, I did an experiment with Instagram. I posted a photo – or series of photos – a day to allow readers into my world. The days I didn’t post was when Life got in the way in really horrible ways.

The pros:

  • I learned what my audience likes.
  • I gained new followers.
  • My feed is bulked up.

The cons:

  • Takes loads of time every day – can’t schedule in advance. (Looking at other photos and liking them is to blame.)
  • Finding the right thing to photograph takes away time from writing.
  • Can’t do it from my desktop (unless I use this code-thing Jacqui hooked me up with – and I’m sure I’m going to wreck the internet with it).
  • Uses all of my mobile data for the month (and I’m not planning on changing my contract any time soon).

For me, the cons of posting every day outweighs the pros. So I’m going to go back to posting once a week.

If you want to see what I did, check out my Instagram feed here.

Wish I was this creative with my posts…

Also from October…

Can’t really see it in the photos, but my hair is ombre purple!

I was awarded author of the year – second place – and one of my stories Bos van Nagmerries (Forest of Nightmares – from Twisted Tales!) was awarded story of the year – second place.

When the MC announced the story, I was like “what?”. I’ve written so much this year – in two languages – that I couldn’t place the story. I had to go online with my phone to figure out what was going on. Oh, and the MC also said that it sounds interesting – the only comment about stories or poems he had made all night. Yeah, I feel good about that.

Here’s a sound clip for a video trailer – with narration from my book! – that is in the works. (Part of my prize from last year being THE author of the year and all.) Note: it’s in Afrikaans and you’ll only be seeing me fidgeting under all the attention. This story is also part of my debut Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie/Eens…Verhale, Mites en Legendes van Feërie.

Then there’s all of my achievements outside of INK for the year. Once more just me fidgeting while the MC tells everyone how wonderful I am. (All three Grumpy anthologies, my three non-fiction books, my other books published in Afrikaans and English, and the book launch/charity event I hosted in June.) Note: it’s in Afrikaans and you’ll only see me fidget, pose for a photo and smile while receiving praise and applause.

Honestly, I was planning on calling it with INK. (Call the time of death…) Maybe it’s the envy of other writers – I could seriously feel it last year when I was awarded writer of the year again – or the lack of comments on my stories, but I decided early this year that I wasn’t going to work to get the award again and that I was going to use this gala event to say goodbye. But then the new MC made people like me in the way he presented my achievements, my video trailer is in the works (for free!), I got placed second, and Anzé came to speak to me personally about secret things in the works that will be good for my writing career. So I’ll budget and stay part of this writing community.

Talking about writing communities and things I didn’t think I’ll continue…

I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year.

Again. Despite saying that I don’t have the time or energy. The competition is what drives me in November!

I’m keeping it Untitled, because Top Secret Story is very melodramatic. I’m not going to talk stats, but I had the lowest word count for day 1 in my entire history of doing NaNo. It’s enough to make a person cry – especially since my region is in competition with another about first day word count every year. *Sigh*

The site was revamped and drives me bonkers. I do like the new way to update your daily word count – as a whole or for the current session. But I lost all of my NaNo buddies! Please leave your NaNo username in the comments so we can be writing buddies again. I tried to recover everyone, but some don’t use their actual names on NaNo…

My NaNoWrimo page.

But that’s what rewrites are for. Right?

What did I learn this year? (Besides the above.)

  • Writing is important, but Marketing is equally important.
  • Flagship content is king.
  • Amazon categories can be changed and made to work for you. Thanks Geoff Affleck for your awesome webinar.
  • Reading every day is overrated. Your frame of mind, emotions, etc. affects how you perceive a book. A bad mood can ruin a perfectly good book.
  • Writing every day is overrated. As long as I keep to my editorial calendar and get work done on time, a bad writing day can be used for something else.
  • Reviews are super-important. And so, too, is my amazing street team filled with avid readers.
  • Perfection kills creativity.
  • Fear is a frenemy to keep close and to beat in competitions at all times.
  • Caitlin will find trouble, no matter what. She keeps things interesting…
  • Having a desk in the bedroom isn’t as bad as I always thought – it keeps me away from tech and close to my furbabies who need a bedtime routine when inspiration strikes and I want to write in the middle of the night. It’s better for my back, too.
  • I’m an intern in my own business – I should delegate more (to the right people), fix my editorial calendar so I do more than scut work every day, and I need to have confidence in myself and my work.
  • I have great instincts and should listen to them more often.

Yeah, you’ll see from the jargon (calling it, scut, etc.) that I’m binge watching Grey’s Anatomy

Okay, so on to this month’s IWSG day question: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

Have you read my work? Everything is strange. Most recently, though: what do kappas like to steal? Turns out, they go crazy for cucumbers. They’ll drop everything – all their nasty tricks and whatever – for the chance to steal a cucumber. Insane. This will make an excellent folklore post at a future date…

What about you: what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever googled for a story? What did you learn this year? Have you read anything I’ve written? (If so, please write and post a review on Goodreads/BookBub/Amazon/Online stores/your blog/the wall to work/etc.) What are your plans for December?

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free ebook. I won’t share your information and I’ll only email you once a month with updates on new releases, special offers, and a bit of news.

25 thoughts on “Year in Review #IWSG #writerslife”

  1. Lots going on with you. You’ll need your holiday! Congrats on the upcoming release.

    It’ll be interesting to see how many of my reviews have disappeared, as I always thought it was ethical to disclose receiving an ARC. No longer. Ah well, play by today’s rules, banned tomorrow. I’m always behind in gaming the system.

  2. Congratulations on being in one of the Grumpy Old Gods anthology! I have one of them I plan to read and review…I think it might be 3…but I haven’t had time yet. 🙁

    Next month’s IWSG post will be my last blog post of the year. After that, it’s a break for me. I already have it all set-up, too. It’s a mashup for posts. I like to do that as my last post every year. 🙂

  3. In impressive year, and now it’s time to catch your breath! I appreciate the tips about Amazon. I’ll make sure I get the wording right for disclosing ARCs, and I never connect my social media so that should be okay.

    Congrats on all the books, stories, and honors! You are doing good stuff 🙂

  4. Actually you can credit the Amazon info to C. Lee McKenzie first. She told me that extra stuff in an email.

    Woohoo! Congrats on the award and all the achievements. You have had a busy book year. WTG!

  5. I think as far as Amazon reviews the best thing to do is only give out free copies for reviews before release. Amazon doesn’t mind that. If you give them out a month or two in advance, they can leave the review on or after the release day.

    Also, if you get other authors to review it, rather than having them leave the review on Amazon, you can get them to send you their review and you can post it in your editorial section.

    The reason they have so many rules about it is because of people taking advantage of their review system for personal gain (like paying people for 5 star reviews by the hundreds). They want people to leave honest customer reviews otherwise the whole system falls apart and becomes meaningless.

    Congrats on your upcoming release!

  6. Congratulations on your award, Ronel. I’m so behind with my reading I don’t remember where most of the books came from – unless they are autographed. Then, I evade the fact that I might have been given it – except o my website.

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Sorry it took so long for me to drop in here.
    There’s a lot in this post. Hard to pick one thing to comment on. I did enjoy reading Grumpy Old Gods 3 and plan to leave my review soon.
    Glad you decided to stick with your writing community. I’ve only recently started to get involved with a local group.
    Hope you enjoy your break.
    See you in 2020.

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