IWSG 35: Passing On The A to Z Challenge

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.


April IWSG Day Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Christopher D. Votey Madeline Mora-Summonte
Fundy Blue Chrys Fey

To be honest when I look at different ways to promote my stomach clenches. So I will probably never participate in the A to Z Challenge. Although, I’ve thought of different things I might try.

Telling a story in 26 pieces is the one that appeals most.

But here’s the thing, I’m too insecure to post a story without an editor going through it.

The only thing I’ve put out there without the professional touch is my blog and no doubt there have been glaring errors I’ve missed that my readers did not.

So what’s a girl to do? I have a rep to consider.

I’m nervous enough when a trained professional has given it their approval. Even then I still feel like I’m running around naked. Trust me. No one deserves that.

What about you? Would you publish anything (besides a blog) without professional help?


49 responses to “IWSG 35: Passing On The A to Z Challenge

  1. NO WAY! LOL! I’m totally with you on the naked thing–I have enough anxiety thank you! 😉

  2. Lol! Thank you for the cute post. I am right there with you. My current efforts to maintain my blog are scary enough. I know there have been glaring errors I don’t see until much too late. Sigh. Have a great rest of your day Anna.

  3. I posted my novel, GHOST OF A CHANCE, over a period of months in blog post length snippets. It ran hot for awhile, and then interest waned.

    I do believe that this will be my last year to do the A TO Z as a result of the added hoops they have given us and the linky they have taken. Odd coincidence, I did my IWSG post on the same topic.

    As Erika wrote: Have a great rest of the day!

  4. Publish anything for money without professional help? No. Publish anything for free without professional help? Yes. Although I do my best to put out a professional product even for free, I wouldn’t consider putting out anything completely unedited if people are paying for it. I have posted flash fiction on my blog and used to post fanfiction on some fanfiction sites before I took writing more seriously. It’s a good way to draw in people, even if it isn’t professionally edited.

  5. Not doing A to Z either. That is a great idea for a theme tho.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  6. I do A to Z, but I am terrible about updating it. I think we all put errors out there through our blogs and even though I read, reread and read again, my eyes play tricks on me. LOL
    sherry @ fundinmental

  7. I’m doing A to Z, but we’ll see how it works. It’s a ton of work!

  8. Great idea…and I can see your hesitation, but the IWSG is such a supportive, non-judgmental community, they’d love it!

  9. I never noticed errors in your posts, and believe me, I’m picky about grammar. As to me posting without an editor – yes. I post my stories on wattpad without an editor, and most people who read them comment on their unusually clean writing. Although an editor could often improve a piece or spot a mistake I missed – we all do sometimes. Unfortunately, my current budget doesn’t allow me to hire an editor. The only way to go would be for me to exchange editing services with someone else. I still haven’t found her but I’m looking.

  10. I have never done A to Z but I have an idea for the next years. Maybe…

  11. Never. Editors and cover designers and formatters are key for me. Even as a professional editor myself, I know I can’t be the only set of eyes on my own work.

    I love A to Z Challenge posts about fun topics which interest me, or that are just well written. Ongoing stories are tough, because the posts are usually long, and if readers have to miss one or more, they’re lost. And the ones who just use each post to promote their own books get old fast. Just MHO after reading hundreds of these posts! 🙂

  12. I use Wattpad to test out different genres, POVs and folklore creatures. Occasionally I’ll post a short story on my blog and on Tuesday’s I post flash fiction I’d entered into competitions (usually Microcosms Fiction and Cracked Flash Fiction). It’s a great way to get more readers interested in my writing – especially since I’m open to suggestions 🙂

    As for AtoZ… Standalone stories work best (not everyone will read every post) and it should be interspersed with posts about other topics to reach more readers (not everyone wants to read fiction).

    You should give it a try: let go of your fears (easier said than done) and jump. You’ll be amazed at the results 🙂

  13. spunkonastick

    Without an editor or critique partners, it’s a bad idea to post anything online. Plus once a story is posted online, it’s considered published. A lot of writers don’t realize that.

  14. I never thought I’d put stories on my blog that hadn’t been previously published, but I did during one A-Z Challenge. They were all stand-alones and very short. It was nerve-wracking, but I had a blast. 🙂

  15. I have a pool of beta readers who going through anything I’m going to publish, story wise. They’re fabulous and by the time they’ve given their stamp of approval, I know that what I’m putting out is ready to see its readers. So there’s that approach.

  16. The only letter that works for me is L. L for lazy. LOL. I’m with you, participating in A-Z has never caught my fancy. Do love reading all the posts, though. We have fabulous writers in IWSG and you’re one of them. If you’ve ever made a glaring mistake, I sure as heck never noticed. Too interested in what you’re going to say next to care. Besides, the editor in me would have noticed. Don’t let the doubts surface. You have an unique voice that always leaves me thinking.

  17. As a former high school English teacher, I feel equipped to handle the line edits, as long as I have the eyes of my critique partners to spot the boo-boos I’ve missed. That’s the trouble: I know what I mean to say. I do plan to hire a cover designer, though, if I self-publish. Happy scribbling to you.

  18. Stomach clench would apply to me too with the A-Z challenge. I’d have to have all 26 DONE before I’d even sign up to do it. As far as pro editing, I have an excellent group of writers in my writing group who spot a lot of mistakes. I also use beta readers to catch errors or scenes that are just weird. And I rely on all of them to help me before I submit an ms to a publisher or when I self-pub my non-fiction ebooks. .And hey, I’ve never noticed lots of errors in your blog posts. You’re cool.
    JQ Rose

  19. I’m not sure about the professional edit. I think I should probably get one, and I’m sure I’d learn from the experience, but boy can they be expensive. I’ll have to see how I feel after my story is finished.

    • I submit without a professional edit. I only use beta readers. The pros I’m talking about are supplied by the publishers.

      Yeah, great learning experience. 🙂

  20. I’ve done the A-Z several times and loved it but I don’t think I will do it again. But when you mentioned your idea about publishing a story in snippets it reminded me that I’ve seen several people do that and have great success with it. So if you decide to go for it I bet you will too. I know what you mean about the editing but I think you should still consider it! 🙂

  21. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    Hi, Emaginette! I’m visiting as an IWSG co-host today. I enjoyed your post very much. I’ve never had the help of a professional editor, so I’ve been running around naked all my life. That may be fine for papers, newspaper articles, and my one short story, but when I finish my memoir, I definitely will be looking for professional help. Good luck getting organized for next year’s A to Z Challenge. It would be fun to read a story in 26 parts.

  22. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    You don’t have to publish stories on A-Z to promote your work. What I’m doing this year is writing about the people, places, and things in my series. For example, today I’m posting about Eagles (the symbol for a war god) and equinoxes (since seasons are important in my series). But you don’t have to promote your writing with the challenge either. Other people choose music or hobbies or other topics. Some people don’t even pick a theme. The Challenge is just to get you to post more frequently and visit more blogs. I do schedule my posts well ahead of time. That way, I have more time to comment during April, and if I spot a mistake, I can fix it before the post goes live.

    As for proofing one’s work, a couple of years ago, I did my A-Z challenge about women science fiction/fantasy writers. Later on, I got the idea to collect my posts into a book, so I did. The book version has more entries and is organized differently from the blog posts. I did have to clean up some mistakes, but it wasn’t that bad. I put my work in different formats when I edit or proofread, so that helps me catch mistakes I might otherwise miss.

    Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, Science Fiction/Fantasy Author

  23. A to Z is an excellent and surprisingly easy way to promote. And it’s FREE! 😀 As for publishing something without professional help (blog excluded), no I’d never do that. That’s a big no-no for any writer. Even writers who are editors, like myself. We make mistakes.

  24. I get my books professionally edited, and back cover blurbs and things refined by critique, but no I don’t get everything edited. These services cost money, people! 🙂 p.s. You inspired my blog post on a similar theme.

  25. Loni Townsend

    My first (and only) participation with the A-to-Z Challenge was a serial novella (Murder Most Fowl). It’s actually one I’m working on editing another 10K into it. Well, it’s the one I should be working on right now. I just keep getting distracted.

    The serial novella worked out well. People seemed receptive, and Alex even mentioned it as a blog to check out that year. I think the only not-positive encounter I had was a blogger who popped in on letter M, told me my dialogue was choppy and I had no imagery, and never returned again. Other than that, I had fun with the story, though blog hopping itself stressed me out.

    • Thanks for that. I guess I could ask them to behave like critters and shout out for constructive comments to help improve my work. Could be a way to go. 🙂

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