How NaNoWriMo Can Explode Your Writing Career – Yes, Really!

National Novel Writing Month, shortened to the kitschy NaNoWriMo (nan-no-RYE-moe), is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers to pen a whopping 50,000 words in the month of November. Though it started in 1999 with fewer than two dozen participants, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 speed-writers tackled the challenge in 2010.

NaNoWriMo can kick-start a newbie’s writing efforts, or helped experienced authors loosen up and try freestyle for a while. Many NaNoWriMo participants have even gone on to have their projects published! At the very least, the project is a great writing exercise – and an chance to promote yourself as an author or your future book. In the true spirit of this virtual writing challenge, use the Web to turn NaNoWriMo into a prime marketing opportunity.

  • Start by crowing about your plans. If you don’t already have one, build a blog page on WordPress or another free blog site. Give readers daily reports on what work you’re doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Perhaps you’re reading Moby Dick for inspiration, attended writers’ conference, or you’ve bought a new thesaurus. Bring your audience along with you and get them excited about your adventure. Duplicate your efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and any other social media platform you wish.
  • Solicit feedback. Engage your readers in the process by sharing potential plot points and asking them for their ideas. People love the be involved in the creative process, and you may be surprised what scintillating characters and plot twists could spin out of these virtual brainstorming sessions.
  • Poll your potential audience. Ask your friends and readers to answer simple, multiple-choice questions: Should my protagonist be male or female? Which name do you prefer for the main character? Should the hero get the girl – yes or no? It’s a quick way to get people invested in your success and to gather a general consensus when you’re not sure which path to take.
  • Choose cover art. This could be as simple as changing your Facebook photo for the duration of the NaNoWriMo challenge or as involved as designing a prospective book cover. The idea is to associate an image with your project that will set a tone, create an image, inspire you and engage your readers.

Once November 1 rolls around – and, trust me, it will sneak right up on you – it’s time to hunker down for real. To successfully complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, you’ll have to write consistently most days from November 1 through November 30. You’ll need to average 1,667 words per day to meet the 50K quota, more if you take any days off. That means at least a couple solid hours of writing most days. (And leave a little extra writing time to update your blog or Twitter followers and post progress reports on Facebook.) The trick is not to get caught up in achieving perfection in a few short weeks; the goal is a lot of words in a short time, so focus on quantity in November — you can sort out the quality later.

I highly recommend joining a regional group so you can communicate with other participants, listen to ideas, share writing tips and gather suggestions from others. Many past NaNoWriMo authors have valuable advice that can help you make the most of the NaNoWriMo experience.

Now get writing!

Elise works as the Manager of Author Support of Outskirts Press.  She also contributes to the Outskirts Press blog at and a group of talented book marketing experts assist self-publishing authors and professionals who are interested in getting the best possible exposure for their book.

Join National Novel Writing Month: The Perfect Challenge for Self Publishing Authors

Earlier this week, Wendy introduced you to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which takes place between November 1 and November 30. In case you missed the post, let me catch you up: NaNoWriMo is a program that challenges you write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Yes, one month! This challenge is perfect for self publishing authors who need an extra push to help bring their book idea to life. Here is how you can become a part of this exciting writing challenge.

1) Visit to sign up. The site features easy to follow directions, so you should have no trouble setting up your account.

2) Once you are signed up, login to your account and share some information about yourself and your novel.

3) Take advantage of all the resources available. There are some great articles and forums featuring information and stories about writing a novel.

4) On November 1, start writing your novel.  Think about it – 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s under 2,000 words per day (roughly 3-4 pages per day).  You can do that, right?

5) Once you complete the novel, upload it to the website for verification. By doing so, you will be added to the Winner’s Page and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web badge.

6) Enjoy that feeling of accomplishment and pride. You did it!

So, what are you waiting for?  Sign up for NaNoWriMo today!  Then come back and post comments below to let us know how it’s going.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at

National Novel Writing Month: A Perfect Challenge for Self Publishing Authors

If you’ve been considering self publishing but haven’t finished your manuscript yet, I have the perfect challenge to help you achieve your goal: National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo). Beginning November 1, join thousands of other writers who are committing to the same goal: writing a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. That’s right; by participating in NanoWriMo, you can finish your entire manuscript in a month!

Many authors considering self publishing never take the leap because they procrastinate, over-think the planning process, or fear rejection. The NanoWriMo program forces you to take action and just start writing. By signing up online, you will also have access to forums and meet other authors who are striving to reach the same goal.

Just imagine how great it will feel to not only be able to say you are finally self publishing your finished manuscript, but that you also wrote it in a month! To learn more, visit

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.