#IWSG October 2014: Have A Plan


Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

In honor of IWSG’s three year anniversary and one year anniversary of the website and Facebook Group, the IWSG Team is putting together an eBook that will benefit all writers – The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. And we invite all IWSG members, Facebook members, and followers to contribute.

Here are the details:
The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing.

Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Focus on one of those three aspects and give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.)

You can either post it for your October 1 IWSG post or email it directly to TheIWSG AT gmail.com or alexjcavanaugh AT earthlink.net (Since the length can go over the standard IWSG post length.) Include a one sentence byline and a link to your site. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.)

All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014.We will compile them into an eBook and aim for an early December release. The book will be free and available for all eReaders.

Thank you for making the IWSG such a huge success!!


Publishing seems like a simple concept, and at its core, it should be but things aren’t always what they should be. To publish, according to Dictionary.com, is to issue textual material for sale or distribution, but of course I’m paraphrasing. With this definition, publishing does seem simple indeed, but we all know there are steps to publishing and that’s where things get complicated.

Step 1: Have an idea or desire to write about something.
Step 2: Write and develop the idea into a consumable format (printed, digital, audio, etc…).
Step 3: Publish and promote the developed idea.
Step 4: Sale and distribute the developed idea.

Even these steps seem simple, but again there’s more to it. One thing’s for sure when taking these steps into consideration, publishing needs a plan.

I want to hone in on Step 3 for just a moment. Publishing has been a tricky pursuit as of late. With so many options available to the masses, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype and miss an opportunity to make the best decision as opposed to the easiest or most popular decision. The question on the minds of many is whether to pursue traditional publishing, independent publishing, or something in between. Also, many wonder what defines traditional publishing, independent publishing, and as for the in between, let’s just call it hybrid publishing. While I don’t have all the answers, here’s how I see it.

Traditional publishing is when an author signs a contract with a publishing house, big or small, and no payment of services is required up front. With traditional publishing many aspect of the process are taken care of, such as: editing, distribution, and some marketing, but also some of the creativity may be limited when it comes to the ultimate title and or cover of the book as well some other minor issues. The publisher registers the copyright and ISBN for distribution purposes.

Independent publishing is a term that’s often misinterpreted and rarely understood. True independent publishing means that the author is the publisher in deed and title. The author writes, edits, markets, prints, distributes, and so on or contracts professionals to do so on their behalf. The author registers the copyright and ISBN and is recognized as an independent publisher, not just an indie author. The author/publisher has total control of the entire process from beginning to end which includes all the financial responsibility as well.

Hybrid publishing is what most people consider independent publishing. All the all authors who publish exclusively with Amazon.com are essentially hybrid published authors. They do not always own their ISBN and while they own the rights to their work, the copyright is registered to Amazon.com for the purposes of distribution. Amazon doesn’t own the rights of the work, but the rights to distribute it. There are many other cases and examples of this such as: Smashwords.com and many more. I simply used Amazon.com as a quick reference. Here the author is given a greater amount of control over the publishing process than with traditional publishing, but still not all of it and there are fees involved.

What this all boils down to is having a plan. Not every writer wants to be a published author. Many are content to blog and share their work with the public in their own special way, but for those who desire publication, a plan of attack is necessary. Just as a good writer does due diligence and research for the development of their stories, so must a good writer do their due diligence in the pursuit of publication.

There is no right or wrong path to pursue on the road to publication anymore. Each individual must decide for themselves how they want to pursue their dream of publication. There is no quick and easy road to personal success and if you are looking for more than that, you may not be ready to call yourself an author.

Decide what you desire to reach your personal success and do your research to find the best path to take you where you want to go. Everything else that comes along the way is extra; extra baggage, extra goodies, extra work, extra goals and dreams.

Do you have a plan for your writing and publishing path?
How will you compose your story?
How will you go about perfecting and editing it?
How will you publish it?
And how will you market and distribute it?

Hybrid publishing is not a term I came up with. I’ve seen it used by others and apply the term to myself and my work. 


After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Kristin SmithElsieSuzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue!


Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #139).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Published by

Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.

10 thoughts on “#IWSG October 2014: Have A Plan”

  1. I don’t think you could overstate an author’s need for a plan. So many of us go into the writing process thinking we’ll figure out the whole publishing thing when we finish the book. That is far too late in the process. Thanks, Toi.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I admit that some of this is from experience. I had a plan when I started out, but it wasn’t a very good one and I didn’t understand things as well as I do now.

    1. Thanks for the opportunity. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the attempt, but then thought about the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far and just had to share.

  2. It’s great there are so many options, but also easy to get overwhelmed. I think it’s important to look at what is best for the book and that could vary with each book you release, but for each one you definitely need a plan. Excellent advice!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I like your point about each book being different and having options to best present each book can be tricky, but doing the research will make a difference in the long run.

  3. I’m big on goal-setting. I see so many authors that their sole goal is just to finish and upload the book, but they make no plans for promoting or what to do beyond that. This is a business and you have to have a plan.

    1. Thanks for saying that. I’m always afriad I’m being a bit harsh, but after learning things the hard way, I share what I can when I can. Thanks for stopping. by.

  4. Well hi again, Toi! I’m not sure how I found this, but I’m glad that I did. Thanks for an informative post on publishing today! I think the anthology is going to be awesome!

Comments are closed.