IWSG 80: Hope in the Publishing Industry


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.



Louise – Fundy Blue | Jennifer Lane | Mary Aalgaard | Patsy Collins at Womagwriter | Nancy Gideon


Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

This is going to be short. I keep wondering if I should go back to writing for personal enjoyment and leave the industry to the masters.

It’s not the pain of rejection, surprisingly enough. It’s the combo of the stress of submission, almost constant rejection and my partial success.

Being published years ago then making into a recent anthology only to be dropped because there were not enough high quality submissions.

If there is a crack, I seem to find it.

I need someone to hold up a flashlight in this damn dark tunnel that never seems to end.

Is it worth it? Share some success from yesterday, last week or even ten years ago. Tell me there is a light at the end and I just need to take one more step to see it as you do.



60 responses to “IWSG 80: Hope in the Publishing Industry

  1. Hi,
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes it gets so dark that you can’t even see a shimmer. Giving up is not an option unless you really feel that you are not doing what you’re called to do. So hold on and hold fast. It will pass, and you’ll be glad you kept moving forward.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  2. Dear Anna,
    I sense a deep longing in your post to reconnect with the joy of writing combined with the pain of performance. The light is inside you. It has always been there and always will. Trust your inner wisdom.
    Lynn La Vita blog: Writers Supporting Writers

  3. There are always opportunities. DLP has found several of our books from Twitter pitches. I can also point to the number of authors in the IWSG anthology. You won’t find options if you give up – that is guaranteed.

  4. I believe in the light too Anna. I faced countless struggles and I’ve slowed my momentum at times, but I’m firing up a little believe again and I think you should too 🙂

  5. Maybe the flashlight needs new batteries. Sometimes they’re easy to find, sitting right on top of the junk drawer. Other times, you have to go looking. But you’ll find them. And when you do, the beam from that flashlight will blast through the darkness. 🙂

    [Whew, that was a terrible analogy. Let’s blame it on the fact I need more coffee, okay? Please?)

  6. Being a writer is hard. It has lots of ups and downs, and the ups seem to be pretty rare, while the downs are much more common. I can only tell that, for me personally, I’d never forgive myself if I gave up on writing. There may be easier professions and more comfortable lifestyles out there, but I’d make myself miserable wondering what I could have done if only I’d kept trying. I’m not sure if that’s a particularly helpful or inspiring thing to say, but it’s the truth that keeps me going.

  7. If you write for personal enjoyment then you always gain from your writing, so I think it’s always important to keep that in mind, even if you also have other aims.

  8. I’ve been doing this since 2005. I wish I had the answers. What I’ve learned is to fake it ’til you make it. I know that sounds simple, and it actually is. Smile, Anna. Believe. Find joy where you can. Never give up. Never surrender.

  9. Falling through those cracks is hard. I remember when I first started writing getting a full request & then a No. That No was hard. I took years off to learn the craft. When I published last year, I didn’t go the query route – I like being a control-freak indie 🙂

  10. I was an author writing for international publishing houses, for TV and film. For me, blogging is just fun because I don’t need to go on lecture tours, don’t need to appear in talk shows and at book signings, I just can write without any consequences. Like Patsy, I write for personal enjoyment. Well, being a writer is running a business with agents, PR people, people who do the research and editors etc. People often have romantic ideas about being a writer. With blogging it is great, you don’t need all these support people, it’s easy. But it has nothing to do with professional writing.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. I am so sorry the anthology was dropped. I am sending you love and light and wishing you well. ❤

  12. I wonder the same thing as you sometimes. Is it worth it to get published? I do think it works if you continue to work on your craft and persevere. And it’s okay to write to enjoy the process.

    • The joy of writing got me through some tough times. It’s a stabilizing force in my life, so I know I’ll always write. It’s the roller-coaster ride I’m not sure I’m up for anymore.

  13. Your first question is one I’ve asked myself frequently. I’m sure we’re not unique among writers. We’d love to enjoy the process without the burdensome clutter of promotion, but if the goal is to be read, these two halves must be served.

  14. You’re young, I think, so perhaps this won’t help. I came into the writing game thinking Trad Pub was THE WAY and that anything less was inferior. But after 30-something rejections, I realized I was too old (at 52) to count on ever getting the golden ticket in time to build my author career. So when a Twitter Pitch competition led to an offer from a small press, I took it, learned about the publishing business, improved my craft through study and practice, and am now happily indie and slowly building a readership. Trad Pub isn’t the only way, dear heart. Many excellent writers never get a nibble from Trad Pub for a plethora of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of their writing. Write the stories that bring you joy and put them out in the world. Build a platform. Your readers will find you.

    • Thanks, but not so young. hehehe

      I did much the same as you did. Since my first contract, all three of my indie publishers closed their doors. I rallied but it took time.

      Now, I’m submitting again…

      I’m glad you found success though. One of my favorite sayings is: What one person can do another can do. Maybe there is hope for me too.

      Thanks, Rhonda.

  15. I’m sorry the rejections have been hitting hard lately. It’s never a good feeling 😦 You’ve rallied and started submitting again and I say you get to be proud of yourself. You have the grit and the toughness, and that takes a lot of strength. You’re doing a great job. I hope the light starts shining through for you soon.

  16. I think we should always be writing for personal enjoyment. And I’d say yes, there’s always light, even if you have to start the fire yourself. Keep plugging away, but maybe explore some of the options Rhonda/Sadira and Ellen Jacobson have used. They are such inspiring examples. I’ve always known I’d indie publish, so I don’t have the rejection burden really. The few times I’ve submitted short stories not chosen, it just goes into my pile for the collection I will eventually publish.

  17. Of course, there is hope. It is eternal. But I’ll go against most commenters here and say something nobody said: take a good hard look at your writing. Don’t give up but learn and change. You’re a good writer, but I’m sure you can improve. We all can. There is always something new to learn, and most internet classes are affordable. The genres of your stories. The structure of your plots. Your characters. Analyse what you do and compare it with what the successful published writers do. Examine your favorite stories by other writers, break them down to components, and see if you could identify what makes them tick. And then apply those lessons to your writing. You can do it.

    • Thanks, Olga. I’ve been taking courses online for most of 2020-2021. Before that I’d search the internet for information on this and that.

      You’re not wrong about breaking down the stories I love and learning some new methods from them. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  18. I try to enjoy my writing life for the joy it brings me personally and let that help carry me through when I feel frustrated about sales/audience/readership being smaller than I hoped for. Remember the theory of ripples: you never know how what you’ve already put in place will play out, if only we are patient enough. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

    • Ripples are definitely something to consider. I’m hoping after reading the comments and a hard think, my attitude will be adjusted, and I can carry on.

      I’m not usually so gloomy.

  19. I am a personal enjoyment writer myself, only submitting if I get the burst of inspiration. But I’ve been that way from the beginning, never wanting to adhere to someone else’s parameters and gatekeeping when it comes to my writing. I wish I had more encouragement to give you.

    • A long time ago I was the woman you described. I kind of liked her and wish she was still around.

      No doubt, something I should work on if I want to be happier. Thanks, Loni.

  20. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    Hi, Anna! I can feel you sinking into that gravity well, and I hope you find some anti-gravity boots and a star to light your way out. It is hard to keep slogging along and not give up. I cheer myself up by considering all my kinds of writing as writing, even blog posts and journal entries. I try to have a wide and generous definition of success, so I feel better. My !@#$%^& memoir is dragging me down, but I’ll get there! One damn word at a time, army crawling through the snow on my belly at 40 below. I really liked Joylene’s comment of ” fake it ’til you make it.” I feel like I’ve been faking it for a long time. And then Voyagers happened. That was a bright light to moving me forward. It is worth it.

  21. Too bad you’re feeling down, Anna. How disappointing for the anthology to be cancelled! I’m guessing self-publishing isn’t an option for you? I’ve enjoyed it, especially after getting started with a publisher first (which it sounds like you did). But it may not be feasible. Hope you start feeling more hope soon.

    • I’ve tried self-publishing, but it hasn’t worked out for me. I’m too much of an introvert. It’s one thing when you’re in a group and there is some coaching available. But going solo… I’m just too overwhelmed by it all. :-/

  22. I write for personal enjoyment, but I’m trying to keep tabs on what the market might enjoy too. But what do I know? My first story is an urban fantasy without magic or magical creatures (for the most part), so who knows how well that will be received? But this is the story I wanted to write, so that’s that. I’ll see what happens and go from there. I’m also trying out the self-publishing route (as an introvert), so we’ll see how that works out too.
    Just keep writing.

    • Good luck with your adventure. I’ve read your work and really enjoyed what was posted on WattPad. I don’t know much about marketing, but I can be there for you if you do a cover reveal or virtual blog tour.

      And I’ll always write. It’s who I am. hehehe

      Thanks, Ken. 🙂

  23. You know I’m going to encourage you, however, let me say first how glad I was to read your post, because I’ve been having the same feelings! I finished my trilogy which I had worked on for fifteen years last year. The sales have not been great. And I look ahead at this year, thinking do I want to go through all the headaches and expense and harassment of self publishing another book or do I just want to go back to when I actually loved and enjoyed writing the stories? I have been experiencing this same angst, but from the Indie side. I’m not sure what I’m going to be do yet…I’m still thinking about it. Let me know when you come up with an answer. In the meantime, keep writing! It’s the only way. 🙂

  24. Hi! The journey is never easy and there are downs as well as ups. The only constant of life is change and the wheel of fortune must move up. Good luck and happy IWSG.

  25. Dear Anna
    What you are feeling is what so many writers go through more often than not. So I would say hold on.

  26. Sorry to read about your continued struggles, Anna! This is exactly what happened to me a couple of months ago.

    I created a story for an anthology and when requiring about it after not hearing anything for months, I discovered they loved my story, but there hadn’t been enough high-quality submissions. Whenever they “will put out an anthology they will put mine in it…”

    It was my goal in 2020 to be published in an anthology. I submitted to two and was accepted by these two. I believed in it so much, that my author bio in my book mentions this! So, the second one better happens this year.

    I think it’s best to bet on multiple horses and… to work on a project that you have total control over, like self-publishing a book. Now that I finally did that, it gives me the feeling of accomplishment and pride I was missing before.

  27. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    Write what you love, write the story that wants to be written — and as Stephen King famously said — write the first draft just for you with the door closed. Yes, the part about getting submissions accepted and published is great — but enjoying what you write is so much more fulfilling. Get back to enjoying what you’re doing and stop stressing about things you can’t control — you’ll be much happier. And when the time is right for publication, you and your stories will be ready to go. Good luck and happy writing 🙂

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day The Great Pretender

    • Well, I am writing what I love. Mostly because I love writing. It’s the business part of things that I’m having trouble with. I honestly wish I was made of sterner stuff but that too has its consequences. hehehe

  28. It’s always darkest before dawn. When I started writing again and submitting my work it was rejection, after rejection, after rejection. It came to a point that I dreaded checking my Submittable account. Then one day, after a long while, I found an acceptance for my poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press. It made my day, despite that I self-published my chapbook in the end. Since then, while I still get rejections, I’ve had several of poems published. And had a short published in anthology.

  29. I hear you, Anna. In the early 2000s, life interfered with writing and I stepped away from it for about 5 years. When I came back, everything had changed. I thought the heck with it and wrote for pleasure, for fun. No thought of publishing. What a relief. Better yet, I seemed to have gotten my mojo back. I’m going thru another life twist and I keep reminding myself to write for fun. If you really want to write, go for it.

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