Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Happy Birthday, IWSG!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group day. Writer's post their thoughts on their own blog, talk about their doubts and the fears they have conquered, discuss their struggles and triumphs, offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling, visit others in the group and connect with fellow writers--aim for a dozen new people each time.

Celebrate with us. Answer this month's question. 

Remember, the question is optional!

September 6 question: The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

I discovered IWSG right at the beginning, sometime after I had participated in an A to Z Challenge, hosted by Arlee Bird, in which Alex J. Cavanaugh's posts had made a positive impression. As I was striving to build my platform, I caught the IWSG bug and signed up for this awesome group of supporters.

IWSG has changed over the years as Admins have come and gone (including me), as blogging has changed, as those who participate have changed. But one aspect of IWSG has remained true; the kindness and encouragement from involved authors who make this group one of the best gatherings of the internet once a month in the blog hop and who create a helpful and encouraging community on every IWSG platform. 

It would take me hours to properly describe all the kindness of the writers I've met through IWSG.

I've met writers who are willing to be ARC readers, who have given me feedback on book covers and book blurbs. I learned about the various types of publishing platforms through the IWSG blog hop, following along with the publishing journeys of a few hundred writers. I've hosted really cool release day posts and book tour posts and been hosted in turn. I've met individuals who became friends I've kept in touch with outside of IWSG through email and other platforms. I've been given help on social media shout-outs, and more, but more importantly, I've read encouraging posts when I needed them the most and had kind comments written here on my blog when, again, I needed them the most. 

Again, IWSG has helped me in countless ways, and I am thankful for all the kindness, encouragement, and support. 

Happy Birthday IWSG!

If you are new to the IWSG community, start at the website, or go find the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh.

A little about Alex:

Alex Cavanaugh is a writer and promoter. He works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. 
Sign up for the blog hop HERE.

And please thank this month's co-hosts: 

News and Something I Have slowly learned on Kindle Vella: 

First, I want to say Thank You to all who commented last month and offered to help with the eventual paperback and eBook release of The Dragon and The Ranger under my pen name Rene Hawthorne!

Second, well, mainly I've been writing, writing, writing, and marketing, marketing, marketing. Every day is similar, but different, and I am thankful for this life. 

 Third, Dark Blade: Forged, the serialization I started with on Kindle Vella has received over 1700 thumbs up - this is by no means phenomenal when looking at the top runners on the platform, but I am thankful for those who have read it.

Meanwhile, The Dragon and the Ranger under my pen name, also has over 1700 thumbs up despite being on the platform a shorter length of time. Why? I suspect it's because it's fantasy romance and not fantasy action adventure, but I also suspect it has something to do with something I learned about the platform. 

Something I've learned in a turtle-like fashion: 

Kindle Vella stories with more likes typically have more episodes for the entire story. For example, the front runners which have over 100,000 "likes" contain 121-187 episodes and they aren't completed yet. 

How this has played out in the above "like" average for two of my stories on there:

Dark Blade: Forged is around 68,000 words in a Word doc, but I split it into 41 episodes (chapters). It has over 1700 likes gained slowly over two years. 

The Dragon and The Ranger is around 71,000 words in a Word doc, and I didn't upload it to the platform until earlier this year, but I split it into 74 episodes. It has over 1700 likes. 

Each "like" is for an individual episode, so a story with 1700 likes doesn't have 1700 readers unless those readers all liked one episode and stopped there. In fact, not every reader will finish the story. 

Instead of switching titles for a new book in a series, the front running stories on Kindle Vella, simply state "Season 1 and 2," or "Seasons 1-5" to show these serializations contain more material than one would expect in an average book. I've read at least two seasons of Elven Heartbound (one of the front runners), and the amount of material is similar to reading two standalone books in a series. 

So, belatedly, I realized splitting the Dark Blade Trilogy into more than one title on Kindle Vella was a mistake. Argh. I'm remedying that the best I can by making "book 2" into a combination of book 2 and 3 with the plan to have 150 episodes of it by the time I'm finished with it. It's currently sitting at a modest 374 likes with 31 episodes, but readers are required to leave Dark Blade: Forged and find Dark Blade: Tempered. Kindle Vella doesn't make that easy.

If you decide to write for Kindle Vella, I recommend writing a series under one title name with many short episodes of 1200 words or less.  

There are reasons to have several Kindle Vella titles of shorter lengths, but to break into the top 250 Kindle Vella titles, a singular, massive title is more likely to get there. Romance also helps. Cliff hangers at the end of every chapter also help. 

BTW, the top 250 titles are the ones most new readers are reading on Kindle Vella, so that's why I consider it a benchmark.


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks for the info on Kindle Vella. And congrats on those "likes"! :)

Sarah Foster said...

I love how the IWSG has helped people to make friends and get encouragement and help with their writing journeys.

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks for sharing about the Vella experiences. Not something I know a lot about. Sums up the IWSG - sharing what you found!

M.J. Fifield said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with Vella. It's interesting to hear about authors' experiences with it. And like Madeline said, congrats on those likes!!

Jemi Fraser said...

The IWSG is full of so many great people!

Congrats on the Vella success! Love learning how things work :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

More episodes get more reads - at least you know now.
We appreciated your time as an IWSG admin.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the tips on Kindle Vella. And awesome you have been with the IWSG since the beginning.

Patricia JL said...

Your Kindle Vella woe sounds like something you got sorted at least. Thanks for the heads up about that.

Michelle Wallace said...

You've been a source of inspiration to me, with your ongoing commitment to writing, and I always think of you warmly, as the Everyday Writer.
The IWSG has such a wonderful sense of community, which is hard to find in online groups. I'm so glad we connected.
Happy IWSG Anniversary Day!

cleemckenzie said...

You jogged my memory, Tyrean when you mentioned finding IWSG through the A to Z. I think that's how I came on board, too. I just couldn't remember! Thanks.

And thanks for the Vella information. I haven't even looked at it, so I'm impressed you've done so much. Congratulations.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Madeline - Thanks! I hope the information helps the next Vella author. :)

Sarah - I love it for the same reasons! :)

Nick - Thank you! Yes, it's good to share what we've learned.

MJ - Thanks! It's been an interesting journey so far.

Jemi - So true! Some of the best people are in IWSG.

Alex - Thank you! It was a good time, but outside life demanded a little more attention for a while.

Natalie - honestly, I think it was from the beginning, but I may have jumped in a few months down the road. Thank you!

Patricia - you're welcome. I hope it helps.

Michelle - Thank you! Every blogger and writer in IWSG inspires me each month.

Tyrean Martinson said...

C. Lee - I think that's how I found IWSG - at least I hope so. I would have to take a long trip down the old blog posts to discover the full truth.
And, thank you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's a very giving community.

I know about Kindle Vella but not considered it yet.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm slowly becoming more familiar with all all things KDP but haven't explored Vella yet. Congrats on your success.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Diane - Yes, it is! I look forward to hosting you next week. :)

Susan - Thank you!

Fundy Blue said...

I'm happy to hear all the ways that the IWSG has helped you, Tyrean! I have received so much from belonging to the IWSG as well. Thanks for the info on Kindle Vella. I had not heard of it. God luck as you learn by doing. Take care!

Rosemary Johnson said...

A very comprehensive testimonial, Tyrean!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Funday - Thank you!

Rosemary - Glad you liked it!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Excellent Kindle Vella tips! Glad to know someone doing well with that.
Happy 12-year IWSG celebration.
"The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library." – Albert Einstein quote
September is library card sign-up month! Get one, use one, and be grateful such places exist.

J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction &Reference Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and

Elizabeth Seckman said...

So glad to have the people pf the IWSG, like yourself! My writer friends have kept me writing. I don't think I'd have lasted without the support.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I tried Vella and found that not many found me! :-) So much has changed in these 12 years, haven't they? May this upcoming year be much better for all of us!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Tyrean!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - I think the IWSG coming along at the same time as the A-Z Challenge, or perhaps just after, brought many people together - it's an amazing community. I know I wouldn't still be blogging if it wasn't for so many in those two groups. Great that we can all keep in touch and benefit whichever, which way we feel we benefit from - cheers and here's to many more times ahead. Hilary

Liza said...

These words are exactly right! "The kindness and encouragement from involved authors who make this group one of the best gatherings of the internet once a month in the blog hop and who create a helpful and encouraging community on every IWSG platform."

Rose said...

Oh. That is excellent information about Kindle Vella! Thanks for sharing that!

H. R. Sinclair said...

Thank you for sharing. That's really fascinating about the more episodes the better it fairs.

Charity Bradford said...

This post is so helpful for me right now. My first vella was a bust because it was bad writing (I pulled something out of a deep dark drawer to play around with). I've been having more success with my second attempt which is part 1 in a series. Today I started setting up the second part as a new title. Luckily, I can go back and delete that and add parts 2 and 3 to the original title.

How do the other authors set that up and signify the start of season 2?

Kate Larkindale said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with Vella. It's something I might play with in the future so insights are always useful!

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Echoing the kindness and community!

Tyrean Martinson said...

J Lenni - I love the library! :)

Elizabeth - yes, writing friends make all the difference!

Roland - it's tough to get noticed, but I joined a few Vella facebook groups, and yes, lots has changed, but we're still around. :)

Sandra - thank you!

Hilary - cheers to you, too!

Liza - yes. :)

Rose - You're welcome.

HR - it's a really different platform for stories.

Charity - glad to help! I use the Vella facebook groups to make connections, and that helps.

Kate - You're welcome! Happy writing!

Yvonne - Thanks for stopping by!

Denise Covey said...

Tyrean, it's obvious the IWSG has made an impact on so many lives. And, yes, sadly blogging is not what it used to be in those heady days 12 years or more ago. Nevertheless, many of us are still here!

chickangell said...

Thanks for the tips on kindle vella.

Serialization is a tricky beast, no matter what format. As a serial hound, I love longer stories rather than shorter stories. I do the same when binging on Netflix. Give me something that is 10 seasons in, not 2 seasons and might get canceled. Lol