Monday, March 28, 2016

I Met My Friends Through the #IWSG - guest post by Stephanie Faris

I Met My Friends Through the IWSG
by Stephanie Faris

I’m not even sure how I found the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). I distinctly recall being completely perplexed as to how to get new readers when I first started blogging outside of MySpace. On MySpace, there was a “Top Blogs” section that lists the most popular blogs by category. You simply found your category of interest and started reading. In the general blogosphere, no such ranking exists. 

I believe it started when I started following a few commenters on agent blogs like Janet Reid’s and Nathan Bransford. They were very popular at the time and read by bloggers who were trying to find an agent, as I was. I picked up a few regular readers through doing that, then begin searching their blog comments for great new blogs to read. Somewhere in that process, I stumbled upon the IWSG and its monthly posts. I realized this was the community I was seeking.

What is the IWSG? It’s a group of writers, originally put together by blogger/writer Alex Cavanaugh. On the first Wednesday of each month, we post about our insecurities and give each other a big morale boost. Every April, some members of the same community participate in the A to Z Challenge, where we post every day on a themed topic, starting with the letter A and ending with Z.

The genius of the IWSG is that it gives writers a way to support and inspire each other while also providing a great resource for finding that small community of writers who will support us throughout our careers. We can support them back, as well, which is often even more gratifying.

Today, I’m an active member of the IWSG. I participate in the monthly post, except when it’s A to Z Challenge month, and, like Christine, most the members of my blogging support community are members, as well. I highly recommend it for any author no matter where you are in your career. The support will keep you going when you’re ready to give up and, once you’re published, you’ll find the members of IWSG are some of the best people in the world to help you out with your marketing. If you’re a writer and aren’t a member of IWSG, check it out!


Blurb:

Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!


Author Photo (click for full resolution):


Bio:

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

Links:

32 comments:

  1. Hi Christine and Stephanie ... it's amazing isn't how we all get to meet up and get on so well ... in so many ways. The IWSG and the A-Z challenges are just great for opening up worlds within the blogging sphere ...

    You're so right ... cheers to you both and good luck with your books - Hilary

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  2. Thank you, Stephanie! The growth and the strength of the IWSG continues to amaze me. I'm thankful the purpose of support and bringing writers together is still the core essence.

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  3. I'm not a part of IWSG because I'm just blogging and not writing right now. But I am friends with many in the group, and you can be part of this amazing network of writers whether or not you actually join. Congrats on your book, Stephanie!

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  4. It's nice to "meet" Christine through Stephanie's guest post. Great example of IWSG in action. Two writers connecting with each other and in turn creating other connections with other bloggers and writers. Cheers - Ellen | thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com

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  5. The IWSG is a great way to connect with other writers and support them.

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  6. Hilary: I agree. The best part is meeting new people...I get so excited when I find a new blog and comment and the person comments back. I know I've made a new bloggy friend!

    Alex: I can't imagine sitting back and realizing I'd created something so powerful! It truly has changed lives.

    Natalie: I was for a while--just interacted with people and didn't participate. But once I added my name to the linky, I saw that each month on that first Wednesday I got comments from complete strangers and some of them would even keep reading after I commented them back.

    The Cynical Sailor: That's exactly what it's about, Ellen!

    L. Diane: I agree!

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  7. IWSG really is a great group, and I'm happy to be a part of it. Looking forward to co-hosting in April - I've never done it before so hopefully I'll do a good job. :)

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  8. I loved being a member of the IWSG for several years, but I'm having a rest from it now. I made some wonderful blogger friends through it - it makes blogging fun when you know people are reading.

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  9. I love the IWSG. I took a break from it for a while, but I came back to it at the start of the year, and it feels like I never left. Such a wonderful, supportive group.

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  10. Madeline: You'll get a lot of new commenters that day...I think I had more than 100 comments that day alone.

    Annalisa: It certainly does! It depends on your goals. I've seen a lot of people drop out of blogging altogether recently and I fully understand. It is a lot of work, but it takes work to make sure you're meeting whatever your particular goals are.

    M.J.: That's the great thing about it--you can just jump back in whenever you want!

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  11. I'm still finding my footing in the IWSG, but I am an active member. I found it in a round about way. I was doing research for an article I was writing for my blog (average readers at the time was zero). As I was researching writing tips, I stumbled across Chrys Fey's, 'Write With Fey'. This was actually the month before the A-Z, a few weeks (so it's been about a year). I liked the concept of the AtoZ challenge so I joined up. Which is when I met the rest of my blogging buddies. Not long after, I joined a small group who were engaged in the Battle of the Bands. These same people, almost all were in the IWSG and I was intrigued by it, but dragged my heels to joining for a few months. Finally I did, and I have not regretted it one bit. I've received so much encouragement and positive feedback and have meet so many wonderful blogging friends. So, yes, I agree with Stephanie. If you are a writer and aren't a member, check it out!

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  12. Great post Stephanie. I'm one of your fans you know.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  13. It is a great community and writers like Stephanie are why it works.

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  14. Jeffrey--I may be wrong, but I think the A to Z Challenge was one of the things that drew me in, since many of the IWSGers also do A to Z. I LOVE writing within restrictions. There's something about that structure that challenges me. If you tell me "Write about anything" I get stressed out!

    Sandee--Awww, thank you! I consider you more friend than fan, though! We're blogging peers.

    Susan--That means a LOT. It has always been my goal to give more than I get out here...if that means telling the world about a new book by a great author, then sign me up! So many on social media just post when they have a book to promote and that doesn't really work. Whether it's Twitter or blogging or whatever...we would miss so much if all we did was blast marketing messages. "Community" is what it's all about!

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  15. An enthusiastic group of supporters has really made the AtoZ a successful event! I know your support was a great help.

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  16. I enjoyed finding out how you discovered the IWSG. I'm so glad I had found it too. :)

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  17. The IWSG was the turning point for me too. So much learned, so many friends found. Alex, is to be applauded again and again.

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  18. Clee: The A to Z signup list is incredible! I can't believe how many people sign up each year.

    Chrys: I think we all stumble upon it by reading a blog of one of the members...there are so many of us now!

    Yolanda: And one of the best things about Alex is he is totally selfless. He created this community, but he consistently uses his blog to promote other people.

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  19. Blogging and writing can be lonely careers or hobbies, so it's great to know there are kindred spirits who are going through some of the things to feel that support!It's amazing to find so many bloggers through A-Z, and as incredible as that is, there are zillions more blogs out there full of new friends to hang out with! Hugs...Ro

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  20. It's fantastic to have you here today, Stephanie! I love the IWSG. The community is amazing. :)

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  21. Finished Piper Morgan Joins the Circus in one sitting! :) Adorable, adorable, adorable. That is all!!

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  22. Now that I participate I seem to see IWSG mentioned everywhere (as it should be:)) before that I guess, like you Stephanie, I happened on it while visiting blogs I enjoy. So glad I did!
    Cool site, Christine :-)

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  23. Ro: I often think about all of the great blogs out there, just waiting to be discovered, but it's so hard to find them...especially if they aren't part of a community.

    Christine: Thank you so much for having me! I had a blast.

    Diane: Awww, thank you, Diane!!! You may be the first person I know of who has read it.

    Diedre: I kept seeing it, but I'm pretty sure I first took notice during the A to Z Challenge because it seemed so fun. After a little more exploring, somehow I learned about IWSG, but it was still a while before I jumped in and participated.

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  24. Hi Christine and Stephanie!

    Awesome how we all meet and strike up a fellowship with one another!

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  25. Great guest post! I've never participated in IWSG, but many of the people I follow do, and I agree, it seems like such a supportive community...

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  26. I remember seeing IWSG posts around and joining about a year or two later. It's a wonderful community.

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  27. New Release Books: I agree. It's an amazing community!

    Heather: That was how I was at first. Eventually I just had to join the fun.

    Medeia: I can't remember how long I was seeing posts before I finally joined. I don't think it was a year, but it could have been.

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  28. I stumbled across the A to Z Challenge last year. I hadn't blogged for about year and a half and I decided to dive back in with daily posts! Through the A to Z, I met Alex and other IWSGers, and I joined in June :) I've met many great bloggers and even wrote my first 5000 word short story because of the IWSG. It is very motivating!

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  29. Great post, Ladies.
    You are so right, Steph. IWSG is amazing.
    re: Piper. Best cover ever.

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  30. Elizabeth--I wonder how many books will eventually sell (or already have!) as a result of the IWSG.

    Sandra--Aww, thank you, Sandra! I love anything with puppies, especially book covers with puppies and my name on them!

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  31. Same as you, I found it though a friend and she doesn't post there anymore. I'll never give it up. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  32. IWSG is a great group! I love reading the posts and the facebook group is always super supportive and helpful :)

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