NaNoWriMo may sound like a Mork and Mindy reference. Yet, unless you are writing a science fiction story set on the planet Ork, you’re short of luck. Short for National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo aka NaNo is a fiction writing contest held for the past 15 years in November. NaNo’rs strive to write 50,000 words from November 1 to November 30. The prize for achieving this goal during a month of turkey comas and Black Friday shopping sprees includes a short congratulatory video prerecorded by NaNo office along with a few discounts on writing software. Oh, and the fact that you’ve just written the equivalent of a novella, which for most content writers is the crème de la crème of accolades. Yet one issue remains on December 1 for all NaNo winners. What do I do with my book now?
Self-Publishing Through CreateSpace
One of the ongoing prizes for writing 50,000 for NaNo is the ability to receive free paperback copies of your book from CreateSpace at Amazon. Your book doesn’t, technically, have to be polished like the holiday silver. You don’t even have to make the book available for sale to the public. However, there is the stipulation that you must self-publish it through this company, which puts forth the predicament of control and ownership. Amazon is considered the powerhouse of independently published book selling. At the same time, if you put your book in Amazon’s hands, it will be locked down and you lose control over pricing, exclusive sales options, and the ability to sell it in other places.
Power Play for Self-Publishers
If you don’t want to publish your book through Amazon, but you do plan to self-publish, here’s what to consider. You’ll need to find ways to publish the book in either eBook or print, or both. Learn how to format your book for digital release; hire a freelancer with experience; or use a service, such as Infinity Publishing. Plenty of online companies will print paper copies for self-publishers, such as:
Take charge of your self-published sales by looking for other vendors beyond Amazon. You can use:
Don’t stop there! Set up a author’s website or blog, as well as social media profiles. I suggest Squarespace, a website building site that is a step up from the freebies out there. Create a PDF copy of your eBook and offer it to individuals who register on your sites or social media accounts with their email address. Giving the book for free for a while will buy you some publicity, as you can use their emails later to send out news about future books you write and self-publish, thereby building your tribe.
The Goodreads Author Program is golden for writers who want to get their books in front of 20 million possible readers. You’ll be able to suggest your book to GR book clubs and readers interested in reading works in your genre. You can also mail copies of your book to readers through the giveaway system in exchange for reviews of your book, which are posted on your Goodreads book profile. By thinking beyond Amazon, you can expand the avenues in which you get to sell your story while increasing the numbers of your tribe of fans. Who knows? If your book is well written, creative and catchy, you might be the next Erin Morgenster of “The Night Circus” or Marissa Meyer of “Cinder,” both of whom wrote these standout titles during NaNoWriMo.
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.