IWSG—July odds and sods

It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears.

This month’s question is:

There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

First and foremost, I’d love to see ISBNs becoming free or very low-cost in all countries, possibly being discontinued altogether. They may have made sense at one point, but they seem really obsolete now, and it should be illegal for Bowker to have a monopoly and charge through the roof.

Only someone who was paid by Bowker would say it’s “not bad” to charge $1,500 for a thousand ISBNs, particularly when many writers may never need nearly that many!

I’d also love to see more agents and small publishers open to self-published books. It’s the best of both worlds to have complete creative control for e-books and the first edition, yet the advantage of getting noticed by more people through traditional publishing.

Given how most of my adult books are deliberately written at saga length, I’d also like to see more agents open to taking on long books instead of dismissing and mocking them out of hand. Some genres and stories can’t be done justice in all of 350 pages!

I’d also love for writers to be able to directly submit to editors as they used to, as recently as the Nineties. Having to secure an agent to get your foot in the door makes it so much harder and longer a process.

I knew going into JuNoWriMo I wouldn’t come anywhere close to 50K, thanks to this unending lockdown and the resulting inability to go to the library to write. Seeing as I’m still not in my own home, with unlimited privacy, I’m simply unable to write at nearly the prolific level I’m used to. There’s a psychological block. Almost my entire June wordcount came from blog posts!

My main summer goal is to finish checking the proofs of Dark Forest for the paperback editions, so I’ve been succeeding at that. I only find minor typos or errors here and there, but it’s important to go over the proofs and then check all over again after submitting corrections. On that front, I’ve proofed several hundred thousand words.

Still, I started spring thinking I was finally heading into the homestretch of my WIP, and now my progress has slowed to a snail’s pace. It’ll be a miracle if I’m done by NaNo!

The theme of July, apart from my Sunday Weekend Writing Warriors posts, will be architecture and housing. It kicks off next week with rants about open concepts and tiny houses, and will also include topics like common architectural styles, how to use real estate ads for research, the post-WWII housing crisis and the resulting exodus to suburbia, and my thoughts on The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

August will be pet month, and September will be education-themed (writing about higher education in hist-fic, my own educational history, the ridiculousness that is Sudbury, my thoughts on radical acceleration and grade-skipping, and more).

If lockdown ever ends and I’m still not out of this place, I don’t know if I’ll feel comfortable going back to my local writing group. One of the members said “I never pegged you for a [misogynistic slur]” after I very vocally came out in strong support of J.K. Rowling in the face of so much disgusting abuse.

She left a laugh-react when I told her that word has been recognized as a misogynistic slur, often accompanied by threats of violence, by several courts and U.K. Parliament, along with a website documenting such abuse.

May she choke on her poisonous Woke cookies!

6 thoughts on “IWSG—July odds and sods

  1. Free ISBNs…YES! For my mom’s picture books, I used the free ones from Smashwords and KDP because I can’t afford to buy that many, but I’d like to own them.

    I know The Wild Rose Press offers a service to help those who want to self-publish, but I don’t believe they help promote those books…and here’s the thing…traditional publishers don’t really promote or market unless you’re with the Big 5. You still have to do all the marketing yourself. They may send out a tweet here and there, especially when your book first comes out, but that’s about it. So, you may not get noticed by that many more people.


  2. The mass blocks of ISBN’s remind me of buying things wholesale. You usually end up with more than you need or could ever use. Like buying them from Costco.

    I hear you about returning to “normal” after the lock down. There are a lot of things that I feel like not returning to after things get back to normal–if they ever really do. My writers group disbanded several years ago. It was weird anyway. I didn’t feel like I fit in much though I did tend to win several writing contests they held. It helped that submissions were blind so nobody really knew who wrote what.

    It’s sad the extent to which so many people have become radically divided even over rather insignificant issues.

    Here’s to the “new normal”! May it be better than the old and definitely better than what we have now. But I’m not gonna hold my breath.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 2 people

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