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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blog Communities: Forming a Safe Place for New Writers in a Scary Online World

Some pretty scary things have been happening in the online book world recently—stuff that's been shocking to those of us who expect our fellow book-lovers to behave like civilized adults.

I spend a lot of time telling new authors how to use social media to create a "platform," but I probably don't warn you enough about the dangers. I did write a post last spring on Gangs of New Media, talking about how the "hive mind" and rage addiction are adversely affecting our industry.

Unfortunately, so many authors have turned into non-stop spam machines that anti-author sentiment is on the rise. There are sites where anti-writer gangs dominate, and others that are tyrannized by groups who treat the Internet as a giant video game in which naivete is a crime and innocents are there to be slaughtered.

The bigger and older the site, the more likely it is to attract sociopaths and semi-literate potty-mouths. I'll be writing a series of posts starting in October about how to stay safe in this increasingly hostile environment.

But international legal teams and the media are gathering information. You can leave an incident report for NBC news here. It's better not to discuss specifics in the comments of this blog, or we'll attract trolls. (If you see a nasty comment, don't respond. That's what they want.)

However, a few out-of-control thugs don't make the entire online book world a bad place.

There are wonderful communities where new writers can network, learn, and comfort each other as they learn the ropes and go through the long and often painful process of learning to be professional authors. As creatives, we're confronting our demons and putting our raw souls out here in public every day, and we need places where we can feel protected and safe.

One of those places is the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Alex is one of the writing world's most prolific bloggers as well as the author of the bestselling Cassastar sci-fi series.

He's also one of my fellow contributors to the Indiestructible anthology, which donates profits to charity.

The IWSG, which turned two years old this week, is one of the most helpful online writing communities I've come across.

Blogger Julie Luek of "A Thought Grows" says, "I feel like I need to throw a little confetti in honor of Alex and the two year IWSG birthday. Thanks, Alex, for pulling a bunch of disconnected, fearful writers together. You've left quite a legacy in the writing-blog world."

IWSG a kind of monthly blog hop for writers who want to network, but prefer to avoid the "I'm-42-and-still-in-middle-school" atmosphere we find in much of social media.

As artist and blogger Donelle Lacy said in the comments of last week's post "writers need a support group of people who give helpful advice and encouragement. When you get buried under rejections, they can help pull you out. "

Purpose: To share and encourage. 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. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writers.

Their Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
Alex's Twitter handle is @AlexJCavanaugh

I recommend the group to writers who are just getting their feet wet in this business. It's a great way to get new blog followers and members are helpful and kind.

When I was feeling pretty down on the whole online book world recently, I found it uplifting to to visit a community where people haven't forgotten the Golden Rule.

Alex has a success story that proves my theory that a blog is the author's most important tool in establishing platform. Alex doesn't use Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or Google+. His blog, Twitter—and his visits to other blogs—are his major online activity. Try Googling him and you'll see how well this has worked for him. I ran out of time after the first thirteen pages of 100% Alex in the search results, but the pages probably go into the hundreds. 

As gangs are allowed to terrorize big book and retail sites, the one place where we know we can be safe is in blog communities we choose for ourselves. Each blogger has the right to block hostile trolls and delete offensive comments. We can set the tone for our blogs and make sure they reflect our brand and standards.

"Insecure" writer Damyanti of the Daily (W)rite says, "I think blogging brings out the best in writers– we become a sympathetic, helpful community (which sometimes doesn’t happen in real life.) IWSG has become a safe place for blogger-writers on the web, and I personally have learned a lot from some of the posts I’ve read, be it writing advice or publishing tips."

Evolved, generous spirits tend to attract other evolved, generous spirits, and that is what what Alex J. Cavanaugh has done. He volunteers with literacy programs and is always looking for ways to make the world a better place.

Today he's going to talk about how to create a blog community of your own.

Yes, I'm always telling you not to market your books exclusively to other authors, but the first step in building platform is to network and build a solid core of online friends. Connecting with a group of writers in similar genres can benefit your career in many ways. Not only can you prop each other up during tough times, but you can publish anthologies, put on joint 99c sales and and team up for newsletters. Writers need writer friends. Forming your own community can pay off in huge dividends later.

Creating an Online Community

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

When I first began blogging, I was one lone writer. Little by little, I discovered other bloggers and writers and began to immerse myself in this awesome community. Through events, blogfests, and memes, I connected with others.

And I noticed something – writers are an insecure bunch!

Most writers are quick to offer encouragement and support of one another. I started to wonder if there was a way to focus that positive energy and make it even more powerful. I wanted to bring everyone together as a group and let other writers know they weren’t alone.

Thus two years ago the Insecure Writer’s Support Group was born!

Its purpose: To share and encourage. 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. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting schedule: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

The success of the group has exceeded all expectations. Every month there are so many touching posts as writers bare their souls, followed by a slew of encouraging comments. Sometimes writers post encouragement, providing others with hope. Now three hundred strong, the group has come together in ways I never imagined.

Groups and communities like the IWSG are where we connect and thrive. Other groups have risen, including the Indiebles’ Indie Day, where writers and bloggers can come together and share their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. It’s a powerful force.

There are five ingredients and steps in creating a successful group:

1) Leadership - In any group, there are those who participate and those who facilitate. You get more when you are directly involved. Whether organizing or teaching or leading – you learn and benefit. You are able to give back. This benefits you in countless ways.

2) Value – There has to be a purpose and meaning behind the group. What can you and the other members offer? How will everyone benefit? Is there a real need that can be met?

3) Time –Do you have the time? Plan it out first. Perhaps get feedback from a couple key blogger friends. Make sure you think of every aspect and how long it will take to implement. Setting up the mission statement, sign up lists, badges, pages or group blogs, etc. – it all takes time and a commitment.

4) Involvement – Entice others to get involved not just with the group but with each other. This starts with you first. The leader must be involved. He must promote and uplift more than anyone else and set the example for others to follow. Find ways to actively involve the members.

5) Keep it going – Never lose the passion. If the leader loses it, the group falls apart. Delegate where necessary, because you can’t do it all. Evaluate members and make sure everyone is participating. Continue to promote and encourage. Be prepared for growth and adjust for it.

The IWSG has been a huge blessing to me and all who’ve participated. The comments and emails of thanks often pour in as writers tell me it’s their favorite day of the month. I’m no longer able to visit every single post (despite rumors I have clones) and have three rotating co-hosts every month. The group has grown large and I’ve already made plans to take the next step up and propel it into the future by setting up an IWSG dedicated site.


Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He's experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

For more on creating online communities check out this post by Alexis Grant on Jane Friedman's blog.

Are you part of the IWSG? Have you ever thought about starting your own online writing group? Have you been bullied or treated rudely in other online communities? What other communities can you recommend that are friendly to new writers?

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Available in paper at Barnes and Noble & Amazon 
and for Kindle for $4.99

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!
A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorm is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

"Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together." - Charity Bradford, science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes


2 Bestselling Thrillers for the price of one
Killer Thriller boxed set by Ruth Harris and Michael Harris only $4.99 at Amazon,  Nook, Amazon UK and $4.93 CND at Amazon CA

"Slick and sexy. All the sure elements of a big seller written by pros who know how to tell a story." -
-Publishers Weekly

"Delivers the goods: thrills, gut-churning suspense, nightmarish terror. Ruth and Michael Harris have delivered another great read and sure bestseller. I dare you to put it down!" --Bob Mayer


The Harper's Bazaar UK Short Story Prize is open to all writers. NO ENTRY FEE. Are you the next Dorothy Parker or Anita Loos? Submit an original short story (up to 3,000 words) on the subject of 'spring' to:shortstory@harpersbazaar.co.uk. The winning entry will appear in the May 2014 issue. Its author will be able to choose a first-edition book from Asprey's Fine and Rare Books Department to the value of £3,000 and enjoy a week-long retreat at Eilean Shona House, on the 2,000-acre private island off the west coast of Scotland where JM Barrie wrote his screenplay for Peter Pan. Deadline December 13th.

The Rumpus has launched the Weekly Rumpus and is calling for submissions. They are interested in "sharp, fresh, original work that grapples with life as it is really lived and felt in the world today. We want writing that walks on a wire, questions conventions, conveys a vision." 1000-6000 words. Here's their submissions page.

Quirk Books "Looking for Love" contest.
They offer a $10,000 prize for the best quirky love story of 50,000 words or more. Visit the Quirk Books website to download the entry form or for further information. Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes around 25 books each year. Their bestselling titles include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Entries close October 1. 

Get your book international visibility for a reasonable price. EBookBargainsUK
 is now advertising bargain books to close to a dozen countries, including the US and Canada. You can get more info here. Make sure your book is under $3.99 and provide links to all stores, not not only Amazon (unless you're in Select.) Ads go for as little as 10 bucks. These guys made my Camilla boxed set a bestseller in Canada: #2 in women's fic. between Margaret Atwood and Bridget Jones! (Which kind of perfectly describes what I aspire to in my fiction.)

And you can sign up for the newsletter for your country right here. I've signed up for the new US version. If you like bargain ebooks, this is a great free service.

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Blogger Roland D. Yeomans said...

Long, long ago but sadly in this Galaxy, I noticed the savage, cruel reviews on Goodreads. I decided then to avoid it. Oh, I have a ghost of a presence there, but I hardly check it out.

I reasoned that if Goodreads allowed such bile to go unanswered that it was no place for a healthy individual to hang out. (When 100% of a person's reviews are slash and hack affairs, Goodreads needs to comment in some way.)

Alex is a shining beacon to all of us in the blogging community. I know his next book will skyrocket -- and rightly so.

He is there for his cyber-friends in each of his posts.

As are you, Anne. Have a great new week!

September 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Anne, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! (Proof we never know who is watching what we do online.) Thank you for allowing me to share about the IWSG, online communities, and CassaStorm.

September 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

This attitude of hate permeates our society, from politics to the anonymity of social media. It is an illness, an evil if you will, that isn't good for the receiver OR for the giver.

Yay for Alex! Looking forward to all his endeavors. Books, music, blogging, and IWSG.

September 15, 2013 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Roland D. Yeomans said...

Alex, thank you for your very kind twitter for my own post. I was feeling down today (working solo all weekend as a rare blood courier will do that for you!)

It is that kind of habitual gesture on your part that breeds a warmth and family feel to our blogging community.

It is called the WorldWideNet for a reason -- you are right -- we never know who is watching or who is feeling especially vulnerable at the moment.

The IWSG answered the lonely questions of struggling writers and let them know they were not alone. Thank you, Alex and Anne. :-)

September 15, 2013 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Alex is an absolute gem and he is definitely a force for good. Always kind in his comments, he treats each person he encounters online with kindness and with dignity. Those traits has made him beloved amongst his friends and indispensable in the blogging community.

September 15, 2013 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Eternal Curse Series said...

Some of us writers are even too insecure for the IWSG, but we do what we can. We read, we comment, and support whenever possible. Alex has a way of making everyone feel like a friend and a member of his community, and sometimes that’s all we need. Thank you Alex and Anne for all that you do.

September 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Alex—thanks so much for such an inspiring post and for the back story of how you got the idea for—and created—IWSG. And for setting out a step-by-step guide to building a positive, supportive community. Much needed in this sometimes-savage internet world.

Anne—thank you for the Killer Thrillers shout out. For thriller lovers, it's a $$$-saving two-fer opportunity. :-)

September 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Roland, thanks! I haven't received attacks on Goodreads outside of a few one star reviews out of spite, for which I feel fortunate. And happy to send out the Tweet about your blogfest. Plugging it tomorrow in my blog as well.

Thanks, Huntress!

Anne, thank you - appreciate the kind words!

Eternal, thanks, and hope you can join us someday.

September 15, 2013 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger L.G. Keltner said...

IWSG is a great support group and I'm glad I found it! The online world is filled with venomous voices, but Alex J. Cavanaugh does a good job of creating a safe space for writers.

September 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've been a member of the IWSG since the beginning and am pleased to be part of the upcoming IWSG site. Alex created something really special with this group. It's like no other.

September 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Andrew Leon said...

It also helps to exist as an online consciousness to whom time does not matter. He thinks he has us fooled with that talk of clones, but some of us know the truth.

September 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Natalie Aguirre said...

I hadn't realized there was so much bullying and bad gangs out there, Anne. I guess I've been lucky to stay out of it, but am looking forward to the posts on how to protect ourselves.

So glad you think blogging is still a very important part of a writer's platform. I definitely do too though sometimes get a bit discouraged with how people disappear from blogging (though I have a great and pretty big following still). Alex has been a real inspiration in these transitional times and I've met lots of great blogger friends through his group of enthusiastic bloggers.

He really is such a great friend, always there to shout out about people's good news and be supportive. Glad to see the community giving back by supporting his book release.

September 15, 2013 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Alex is definitely a blessing to the entire online writing community. He's so supportive of other writers. I'm always amazed at how far and wide his reach is. He's an impressive guy.

Anne, thank YOU for all the information you provide. This blog is another must-see.

September 15, 2013 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Suzanne Furness said...

Alex is the glue that holds our community together. IWSG is such a success long may it continue to offer a safe haven to us insecure writers!

September 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

Great post by Anne and by Alex-- thank you both for all you do in the community. I stand by my original statement. I appreciate the support both of you offer, very much.

September 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Gail said...

I still trying to decide how Alex finds the time to do all the wonderful things he does!

Great job, Alex, and love your books.

September 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Renee said...

Awesome post Alex, and Anne. I knew there was bullying but did not realize it was organized.

The IWSG is one of a kind and an amazing resource for any writer! Thanks Alex!

Congratulations and good luck with CassaStorm!

September 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ruth, thank you!

Andrew, just don't tell anyone...

Thanks, Natalie - and look forward to visiting you tomorrow!

Thanks, everyone! The IWSG is a success because of YOU, not me.

September 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

nice...some solid wisdom alex...i have built two very successful blog communities...and we operate very similar to your philosophy....having a team approach is huge as well that way one person is not responsible...also creativing a community where people communicate/comment on each other is essential...the last thing i want is someone who thinks they are too good to comment on others...

September 15, 2013 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Clarissa Draper said...

This is the first time I heard of people attacking writers. Why would they do that? Thank you for making me aware. I know you and Alex are such great online support to us all.

September 15, 2013 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger ediFanoB said...

A big thank you to Anne and Alex for an excellent post which is as much interesting for authors as for readers.

The countdown is running. Only two days to go until the launch of CassaStorM!!

On 17th of September the world is yours Alex!

September 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Teresa Coltrin said...

Hi Anne! Hi, Alex. Alex is an awesome blogger/writer. But he's more than that. Alex gives back by doing many things for bloggers/writers like creating a once a month opportunity for writer to air their insecurities. Writers ARE insecure and sensitive. Maybe the naysayers know this about us and pile on the cruel remarks. Great posts today, guys.

I believe what goes around comes around. I try to support others.

September 15, 2013 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Gail, it's all done with smoke, mirrors, and clones.

Brian, amen!

Edi, thanks - and I'm excited!

Teresa, it does come around!

Thanks, everyone.

September 15, 2013 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

Excellent post. I plan on joining myself, once I get my act together and finish up my hiatus from blogging.

I do believe blogging is the best platform to launch any writing career in these days, which I will be forever grateful for.

September 15, 2013 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Karen Walker said...

Hi Anne and Alex
I didn't know there was such a vitriolic response to writers on the web either. Makes me doubly glad we have our Alex, who is kind, compassionate, extremely funny, and genuinely cares about others - and actually does something about it. Thanks for featuring him today.

September 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Pat Hatt said...

Yeah so nice surrounding one's self with no bullies in blogland, everywhere else there are plenty of loons for various reasons looking to put you down a deep dark hole. Nice post between the two, the ninja wannabe does do much for good at his zoo.

September 15, 2013 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Al Diaz said...

Interesting, I've never ran into any troll, gang, or aggressive individual. Lucky me, but then again, I'm no famous author. In any case, I really think IWSG is just a blessing for many writers. May it keep growing. :)

September 15, 2013 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

GB, we'd love to have you join us!

Karen, thank you!

Pat and Al, thanks!

September 15, 2013 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger bookspersonally said...

One of the best lessons I learned from Anne when I first started blogging was to surround yourself with the good people and unfollow the folks who make you feel bad - always inspiring when writers support each other- love the spirit and intention behind the Insecure Writers Group.

September 15, 2013 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger D.G. Hudson said...

Glad to see Alex here, Anne! I'm not part of the IWSG, but I try to support and comment on the blogs when they appear.

Alex is loyal, therefore, we who follow him are loyal as well. Many talk the talk but Alex walks the walk! (clique maybe but true)

I'll be looking forward to your future post, Anne.

Thanks for the information, Alex, and enjoy the coming week, where it's all about you and the 3rd book, CassaStorm.

September 15, 2013 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Meghan Ward said...

I didn't know about the IWSG! Thanks so much for introducing us to it, Anne and Alex! I will check it out!

September 15, 2013 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Murees Dupé said...

Our blogging community is so much richer for having an awesome person like Alex leading us. I just love IWSG and I think he is a genius for creating it. Thank you Alex!

I can't believe that people can be so mean and cruel to one another to post awful things about someone you do not even know. I know that such an incident happened to a fellow blogger and I just could not understand why. Great post, Anne.

September 15, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger ilima said...

I love IWSG and Alex is such a huge support to fellow writers. We ARE an insecure bunch for sure.

September 15, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger M. A. McRae said...

I have been lucky in my experience. Aside from briefly sticking my nose in the Amazon forums - and quickly withdrawing it again - there have been few bad experiences. Even a one-star review by an idiot (not even a purchaser) was quickly followed by two reviews from strangers contradicting him. But maybe those who've been having more sales, more exposure, and more SUCCESS, are getting targeted more. Support like this is valuable, and a site for insecure writers is a great idea. Marj.

September 15, 2013 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger SC Author said...

Alex is truly amazing! He is so dedicated to his blog and the online community, He comments on so many blogs so many days if the week, and is definitely one of the best people to make this post.

September 15, 2013 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Books, that is sound advice.

DG - thanks, appreciate that!

Meghan, please join us.

Murees and Ilima, thank YOU!

MA, we do get those one-star-but-haven't-read-the-book now and then.

SC, thank you!

September 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for telling me about Alex, Anne. It just goes to show what a positive force blogs can be--in the right hands.

September 15, 2013 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger DAVID WALSTON said...

Alex and his ninja army had been a blessing to all. All the comments, and encouragement to others that he does.

September 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for all these great comments, everybody! And thanks to Alex for this great post and all the work you put into the IWSG!

And you've brought some new followers: we've hit 1500! Love those nice round numbers.

It's great to hear how many people have NOT encountered the troll community that lurks in the dark places of the bookosphere. That probably means you're doing most of your networking on blogs, which I do think is the safest way to go.

September 15, 2013 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Interesting post, and great tips. Glad I stopped by. :)

September 15, 2013 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger mshatch said...

Alex is one of the most generous bloggers I can think of. Excellent post :)

September 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Excellent post, Alex (and Anne). I love the supportive writing community. We are out there. Kudos for bringing so many together.

September 15, 2013 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger Robyn Campbell said...

Hey thank you Alex for a super post. And thank you Anne for having him over. Alex you have brought a lot of us together. You are also one of the most supportive writers I know. I have never had a problem with Goodreads but I have heard of some. I guess it's like anything else in this life. Some good people, some bad. Alex, I finally got my comments back!!!! YaY!!!!!!!!! *waving*

September 15, 2013 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

Nice to meet you, Anne! Thanks for hosting Alex. Great post, Alex! Appreciate you sharing your insight. :)

September 15, 2013 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Catie Rhodes said...

I clicked on all your links and read them; therefore, my comment is gong to be short. What an interesting article. As always, I learned tons of stuff. I had never heard of Alex or IWSG. I'll have to check it out.

September 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Leanne, I try to use my blog for good and not evil!

Thanks, David!

Anne, that's awesome - congratulations on 1500 followers.

Robyn, glad your comments are back!!!!

Catie, please join us.

September 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

'Evolved, generous spirits tend to attract other evolved, generous spirits, and that is what what Alex J. Cavanaugh has done.'


September 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Jemi Fraser said...

Alex's books ROCK! But much more importantly, so does he. Alex is a shining example of the best of this online writing community. I've never met a more generous, kind group of people and Alex is right at the top of that list. :)

September 15, 2013 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Anne & Alex,

As always, Alex is a source of inspiration with his boundless energy and generosity. Keep up the good work, Alex!

September 15, 2013 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Donelle Lacy said...

A lot of online communities (writer communities included) aren't safe from harsh and destructrive attitudes and words. You have to go in armored if you don't want to end up battered and bloody. ISWG isn't like that and I'm thankful for it. Writers have enough to deal with without strangers taking shots at them under the guise of being 'helpful'. Thanks, Anne and thanks Alex!

September 15, 2013 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger S.K. Anthony said...

You are both incredibly amazing, thank you for all that you do for this community. Loved this post!!!

September 15, 2013 at 7:47 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Truly wonderful post, Alex and Anne. Bravo and Brava!

September 15, 2013 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger T.F. Walsh said...

Wonderful post, Alex... you're an inspiration:)

September 15, 2013 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

When Alex first proposed the IWSG, I felt unqualified and asked how "writer" is defined. I hadn't authored anything. Alex's response: If you write, you're a writer. I immediately signed up, and I'm so glad I did. Alex is blogland's greatest gift.

You're a gift too, Anne. Thank you for this post.


September 15, 2013 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Albom said...

Thanks Alex, wonderful post and you are a strong and encouraging leader, no wonder the group is such a success.

September 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Lexa Cain said...

This whole thing (cyber-bullying) is becoming so bleak and depressing. I wonder if it's a product of the dreadful economy or if being mean and hateful is part of human nature.

I've belonged to writing.com for years and almost never ran across anything abusive. The owners and Mods (of which I'm now one) are very aggressive about banning abusive members, especially since children are allowed on the site. I wish some of the money-hungry companies (Amazon, GR, Yahoo) would start cleaning up their sites.

Great post, Anne and Alex! :-)

September 15, 2013 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Donna Hole said...

"The IWSG has been a huge blessing to me and all who’ve participated."


When I first started blogging I had no idea what to do. I blundered through by finding friends like you Anne who were willing to give a newbie the time of day, and to be encouraging on posts and insecurities.

The IWSG was a great concept, and demonstrates how far the blogging community has come, even since I've joined a mere 5 years ago.

It is blogs like your's Anne, and Alex, that make writing blogs a community. Thank you both for your support and dedication.


September 15, 2013 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger ~Sia McKye~ said...

This particular group of writers are phenomenal. It's all about helping one another and also learning the right way to not only deal with insecurities but a non spam type of author promotion.

I, for one, hate having a book shoved down my throat. Author are more than A BOOK. I think Alex helps many writers understand that.

He's pretty cool for a ninja. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

September 15, 2013 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Jamie Gibbs said...

The success of IWSG is testament to Alex's hard work and community spirit - in a field where authors tend to be insular and solitary, he's created a safe haven and a vibrant community to bring us together.

I'll drink to that :)

September 15, 2013 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm also glad that Alex founded the IWSG! He has helped so many people through different stages in their writing careers. Anne, thanks for hosting Alex! It's so nice to finally meet you!


September 15, 2013 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Shannon Lawrence said...

I've definitely found the blogging community to be supportive and a safe haven. Luckily, I haven't dealt with bullying in writing circles online, though I have dealt with it in, believe it or not, parenting circles online (expecting clubs for pregnant mothers and beyond). I actually put together an article about it that I never submitted anywhere, just to get out the bile from it all.

Alex is definitely someone who has brought a lot of writers together online, and who continues to provide us with support.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

September 16, 2013 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger Vanessa Morgan said...

I recently became a member of this group and I can really recommend it to writers and creatives of all sorts.

September 16, 2013 at 1:38 AM  
Blogger Bonnee Crawford said...

Great post from alex

September 16, 2013 at 2:01 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, Suze.

Jemi, appreciate that!

Donelle, and I won;t ever allow that to happen.

Robyn, and I'm really glad you are part of the group. Besides, your IWSG always rock the house.

Donna, we won't let you down.

Sia, thanks! Ninjas are cool.

Jamie, so will I!

Vanessa, glad you joined us.

Thanks, everyone!!

September 16, 2013 at 3:15 AM  
Blogger Carolyn Brown said...

Great post Anne and Alex. Alex found my site about 2 years ago now, I joined IWSG shortly after and have found a supportive, strong community involved in helping one another out.

I believe Alex is the heart of this community and is the stable platform on which we all lean.

Congrats to him for his ongoing commitment to this community, he deserves the accolades!

September 16, 2013 at 3:39 AM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

Always good to see the community come together instead of tearing itself apart. The Insecure writer's group has done a lot of good.

September 16, 2013 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger Churadogs said...

Re Goodreads, Amazon reviews, etc.being taken over by too many trolls; wouldn't you think Goodreads and Amazon and other blogsites who are (supposedly?) a business, would protect their business interests from trolls? I mean, if a site becomes toxic, nobody will visit it. Hard to grow a website if it's untrustworthy or toxic. I'm picking up more and more chatter about FB, for example; i.e. keeps creeping people out. There comes a tipping point to such things. You'd think Goodreads, Amazon et al would figure that out.

September 16, 2013 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger Gossip_Grl said...

Great post and I think deserving of a standing ovation! Alex is one of the first people who ever commented to my blog. I had a couple of anonymous comments, but his comment was the first time that I could click a link and actually see it went to a real live person. I sort of felt a little honored because at that time he had received the honor of being one of the "Blogs of Note" He has been a great help and has often answered questions that I have. When I said that I'd like to self publish some of my Menopausal postings he has been a big encouragement to that. I haven't yet did that due to getting swamped with my job but I do still think about it and is still my goal. Many Thanks!

September 16, 2013 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

It's nice that there's such a safe, supportive place for writers online. Alex has always modeled how to be a responsible online citizen as he reaches out to dozens with kindness each day.

September 16, 2013 at 6:17 AM  
Blogger Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex rocks! And I am so thankful for IWSG. Great post on staying positive in an online and outside world that focuses on the negative.

September 16, 2013 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Carolyn, and glad we found each other!

Gossip Girl, you still need to do that book!

Thanks, guys!

September 16, 2013 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Christine Monson said...

Wonderful post, Anne.

I actually found Alex's blog through yours. And I'm so happy I did. His comments were swift, sincere, and clever so I clicked on his name and BAM! I've loved him and his blog ever since. Thank you, Anne and Alex for making my blogging experience a happy one.

September 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Candilynn Fite said...

Gosh, I can't even remember how I discovered IWSG or Alex's blog. Was it the platform-building campaign challenge (Rachel Harrie)? Wherever it was, I'm so thankful I did. The IWSG has made a huge impact on my writing, my confidence, and has offered me opportunities I would've never had without it. Alex is an amazing and humble person, blogger, and writer. If anyone out there is looking to build an online community, follow his advice. There have been days when I felt like giving up, and then I'd receive a sweet comment or email from a fellow IWSG'er, and I'd get inspired all over again. Alex and his IWSG rock. :)

September 16, 2013 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Michelle Wallace said...

This is such an inspiring post.
I am so greatful to be a part of the IWSG!

With regards to cyber bullying, I read a very disturbing article last month.
To cut a long story short, it claims that Goodreads ALLOWS
cyber bullies!? Frightening thought!
This is the link: www.stopthegrbullies.com/2013/08/20/the-attack-on-lauren-howard-part-1/

September 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Lily said...

Even though I've faltered here and there with IWSG, this group has helped me a lot!

I've thought about starting a group of my own but I could never do it because my work offline keeps me pretty busy. I hope, though, one day I could!

Nebula Way

September 16, 2013 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Jen Chandler said...

Wonderful, uplifting and inspiring: all the things I've come to expect from Alex.

Thanks, Anne, for hosting Alex here and letting him explain what it takes to create the safe atmosphere we at the IWSG have come to treasure.

Congrats, Alex, on CassaStorm! Nothing but success to you! :)

September 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 16, 2013 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter said...

Wow, the ISWG really fills a need. In fact, from what I can see, we're ALL needy. Could have used this last week when I received a one-star stinker review. --Sue McGinty

September 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne and Alex - such a great post - and I know everyone benefits so much of ISWG .. I am around - but not an active member ..

But totally concur with the helpfulness of this group and fellow bloggers - just an amazing bunch ..

Any negative is a no no .. it is such a pain and so time-consuming .. and unnecessary - it's one opinion ...

Here's to health and happiness and publishing and blogging success to one and all ... Hilary

September 16, 2013 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

You are all so amazing! Thanks to you all! 79 comments in 24 hours. I think that's a record--and a testament to Alex's popularity.

Shannon--You brought up an interesting point--this stuff happens even in parenting groups. There's something about the anonymity of the 'Net that makes people behave terribly. Less anonymity would help.

Churadogs--You're absolutely right and I think we all need to make it clear to these site owners that we won't stand for it. The new Kindle is linked to Pottymouth-dominated Goodreads. I would not want any child to be exposed to one of those Kindles. Parent groups should speak up.

And I saw just today that McClatchy news sites are requiring Facebook membership to comment on news stories. Seems draconian, but they're doing it because FB has a good system for reporting abuse and removing toxic comments. Amazon and Goodreads are going to have to develop that kind of technology, or they're going to see the results in their bottom line.

September 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Christine, thank you!

Candilynn, glad the IWSG has kept you going.

Lily, plan it right and I bet you can!

Sue, feel free to join us.

Hilary, you are always there cheering us on.

Anne, that is drastic and sad it's necessary. Thanks again! Will continue to check all week.

September 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Scribbles From Jenn said...

Thankfully when I began blogging, Alex was one of the first bloggers I met. He is diligent, positive, encouraging, and a real Ninja because he's everywhere! He says his Ninja army rocks, but Alex ROCKS!!!!!

September 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Julie Flanders said...

I feel so fortunate to have met Alex through the A-Z Challenge and subsequently learn of the IWSG. It's something I look forward to every month and I don't think you'll find a nicer group of people anywhere - online or off. I haven't seen a lot of the drama and anti-author sentiment that seems so pervasive in other communities but have heard enough about it that I appreciate the IWSG even more.

September 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Christine Rains said...

IWSG is an incredible group. I'm honored to be part of the community. They're so supportive and encouraging. Alex is the perfect leader too. An inspiration to us all. :)

September 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

The IWSG and the general network of writers I fell into online is wonderful. I've heard the horror stories out there. It's more important than ever that we band together and help each other.

September 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jenn, a leader is nothing without those who surround him!

Julie, I like hearing that people look forward to the IWSG.

Thanks, Christine!

Mary, and we do that!

September 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM  
OpenID jamieayres.com said...

I also LOVE the IWSG! Alex is a rock star . . . great guest post!

September 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Helen Ginger said...

Alex, you are amazing. Do you ever sleep? You are everywhere and doing so much "good" in the cyberworld.

Incidentally, I love the cover for CassaStorm!

September 16, 2013 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Claude Nougat said...

Congrats to you Anne and of course Alex, absolutely brilliant and much needed!

This is a brand new world we're stepping into, still being shaped, and of course, also at times warped. I've always felt the key to building up a platform on the Net is to remember, as Hugh Hewey (author of best selling WOOL) recently said, that the "buy my book" message Does.Not.Work!So to offer help to our fellow workers (in our case, these are writers and readers)is the best thing one can do...Give to others so it shall be given back to you...

September 17, 2013 at 1:25 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Jamie!

Helen, I do like my sleep. And yeah, I really dig the cover as well.

Claude, well said!

September 17, 2013 at 5:50 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Claude--You've created a wonderful writer community, too, with the BoomerLit group, which unfortunately mostly interacts on the Site that Must Not Be Named, but I hope we will be doing more on the BoomerLit Friday blog and FB.

You make such a good point that this is a brand new world and it's still being shaped. People like you and Alex are helping to make that shape a good one. I'm a big believer in paying it forward and you two certainly do that.

Hugh Howey is right: if people like you, they're more likely to check out your books than if you scream at them or act pathetic and needy.

September 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger M.L. Swift said...

What a great post! So much offered in one taste.

I'm coming up on my first year with the IWSG (November 2012 was my first post), and let me tell you, I'd have been lost without its support.

Alex, great points, and Anne, thank you for highlighting Alex!

M.L. Swift, Writer

September 18, 2013 at 3:41 AM  
Blogger Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Anne,

I've been part of the IWSG since its birth. It's a WONDERFUL way to help other and to keep yourself out of the potholes of a writer's journey.

Alex is an amazing part of this community. WIth blogger like him who care so much, we beginning writers feel like we may pull through after all.

I've been writing now for four years. I had hoped this would be my published year... It was, but not in the way I thought.

I have had one illustration cover and one blurb published. By the end of the year, three more of my blurbs will be published and another cover design.

If I didn't have this community's support, I never would have made my goal for this year. i hope next year brings a published novel to my credits. Here's hoping and moving forward on my journey...

September 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Alex says a leader can't do it all, but I'm here to say Alex could. He lets some of us help sometimes so we don't feel left out. But I'm sure he's really a superhero disguised as a ninja captain. Hope your books shoots out of this galaxy, Alex!

September 18, 2013 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

M.L. I'm definitely recommending it to new writer/bloggers. Especially those who don't want to enter the Facebook/Google+ maze.

Michael--I like the idea of "avoiding potholes". There are many. Other authors can help us avoid them, or give us a hand climbing out.

Congrats on getting a cover design published. I'm terrible at that kind of thing and in awe of the multi-talented, like you. The book will come!

Joylene--Ditto your good wishes for Alex's book's success. He just might be a superhero, who disguised as a mild-mannered author...:-)

September 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mike, glad you're part of it!

Michael, you are too good of a writer for that not to happen. But your blurb and covers also rock. Glad the community has kept you going.

Joylene, thanks - just a dude with a guitar and couple books, trying to do his best.

September 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Peaches Ledwidge said...

Great info about the anti writers....

Congrats to Alex on publishing his new book.

September 18, 2013 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger LuAnn Braley said...

New subscriber here, Anne, just another following the Ninja Captain! :O)

Kudos to you both, Anne and Alex, for all you do and all you do for your 'fellow' and 'sister' authors!

September 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Peaches--The anti-writers are an odd breed. Thing is, they're mostly aspiring authors themselves. So I guess it's some kind of envy thing. If only they'd put all that energy into writing instead of hating...

Isn't Alex amazing? He's got a new book, does all this blog stuff and has a full time job and a family.

LuAnn--Welcome! Alex has brought a great group of writers here. I hope you enjoy the blog!

Alex--What a great week! Thanks a million for guesting for me!

September 21, 2013 at 7:48 PM  

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