Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo -- Is It For You?

In writing circles, November has become known as National Novel Writing Month -- or NaNoWriMo. The premise of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days, and the idea has grown exponentially over the last few years -- from 21 participants in 1999 to almost 37,000 "winners" in 2011. ("Winners" indicates those who reached or surpassed the 50K-word mark. Many more begin, and many do not finish.)

For some writers, this caffeine-fueled writing frenzy is the kick in the pants they need to sit down and actually finish a project. But is it for everyone? Probably not. Some find the daily goal of 1,666 words too hard to reach. Others find if they miss a day it's too much pressure to get back on track. It all depends on your writing style and your willingness to turn off your internal editor and put anything and everything down on the screen.

On the other hand, some folks thrive under the pressure and produce work that they hadn't known they were capable of. Others find it completely freeing to write without constraints. It's hard to predict how it will go for you until you attempt it.

Follow the link at the top of this blog post for more information. If you decide to go ahead and give NaNoWriMo a try, good luck! Let me just give you one more tiny piece of advice on behalf of all editors and agents everywhere: when December first rolls around, please don't just submit that novel to any and all publishing houses and agencies willy-nilly. It will need work. It will need editing. It might even need a complete rewrite. It will certainly not be ready to submit! Take some time and work on it. Better yet, let it sit for a while and then go back and take a look. Publishing professionals everywhere thank you.

So good luck, NaNo-ers. Come back when the dust settles and let us all know how you did!


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

What's It Worth To You?

Someone I know posted a link to a very interesting blog post recently regarding the costs involved with self-publishing a book. The costs listed were those needed for professional editing and cover design services.

Personally, I find the numbers quoted in the post a bit too high. I can see them as certainly being prohibitive for the average person trying to self-publish.

This doesn't mean that I think authors should try to do it all themselves, however. A good editor and a good cover designer are worth their weight in gold. So this is where you start doing some research. Ask around for referrals. Your writers' group should have some information (and if you aren't a part of one, you might want to consider the idea. One or two serious critique partners are also worth their weight in gold) or you can utilize your friend and mine, Google.

If you're attempting to make your writing into a career, you can push the odds of success farther into your favor by making use of the resources available to you and doing what you can to produce a better-quality book. With a little effort, you should be able to find reputable editors and cover designers whose rates fall into your acceptable range. They're out there, so don't stop looking! Check for their work history and experience, and if there's a list of testimonials or former clients, take a look at that, too. It shouldn't take you long to find someone who suits you.

Good luck!