How To Get The Most From NaNoWriMo


The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Clearly, this is no easy feat, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who joined the NaNoWriMo movement and have spent the last month typing away at their computers.

How to get the most from NaNoWriMo

If you’re one of these people, congratulations! You’re almost ready to cross the finish line.

You should feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, but you might also be wondering…now what? Once your draft is done and the hype of NaNoWriMo fades away, what are the next steps?

Ideally, you’d like to share your hard work with the world. Self-publishing is the perfect way to keep full creative control of your NaNoWriMo project and make it into an actual published book.

Schofield - NaNoWriMo

Here are some basic steps that will bring your from having 50,000 words to finished novel, ready for bookshelves.

Rest. Seriously, rest. You just completed the writing equivalent of a marathon. Replenish your mind and body by stepping away form your manuscript for as much time as you need. This could be a few days, or a few months.

Edit. NaNoWriMo is a sprint. It’s all about getting your words onto the page in the 30-day span. In the mad dash to get it done, you don’t have much time to reread, or edit as you go. The results could be messy. You’ll need to read through and edit your manuscript from beginning to end.

Most likely, there will be some fundamental changes that need to be made. Embrace the revision process and remember the wise words of William Faulkner, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

Choose the self-publishing option that’s best for you. You put a lot of hard work into writing your novel, so the most important thing is that you produce a high quality book.

Your book needs to hold up to industry standards in order to compete in the book market and it’s important to choose the self-publishing option that will be the best fit for your book.

DIY self-publishing. Companies such as Lulu and FastPencil offer publishing and distribution services to authors. Authors can buy publishing packages, or pick and choose what services they need.

Hybrid publishers. If you’re looking for a more personalized approach, companies like Wise Ink Creative Publishing and Merrimack Media, work with their self-publishing clients to produce their books. Hybrid publishers are more of a resource and help to guide a writer through their publishing journey.

Create a team of freelance professionals. Although this route might require more work, you’ll be able to personally vet the professionals that work on your book.

Prices will vary according to the experience of the freelancer, so be sure to put in the necessary time and research to find what you’re looking for in regards to quality and pricing.

Print, eBook, or both? As part of the publishing process, you’ll have to decide which formats you will publish your book in. It’s always best to offer your book in both print and digital so you appeal to all types of readers.

Here are a few of the most popular digital formats:

  • The standard file type, ePub is compatible with most eReaders and smartphones. The benefit of the ePub format is that it allows a book’s text to adjust or “reflow” automatically to different screen sizes.
  • The MOBI file type can only be recognized by the Amazon Kindle eReader and the various Kindle apps, such as Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac and Kindle for iPad.
  • The .ibooks format can be created for free through the eBook layout software from Apple, but can only be sold through the Apple iBooks Store and used on Apple devices.

For print books, Print On Demand is the best option. There’s much less risk involved with POD than if you were to printing advanced copies of your book.

Since your money isn’t tied up, you’ll be taking less of an immediate financial risk.

Lulu, Blurb, Lightening Source and 360 Digital Books are popular POD providers.

Scholfield - Blurb

Marketing. Beginning to market your book is arguably one of the most important but overlooked steps in the publishing process.

Especially with the writing rush of NaNoWriMo, it’s easy to want to continue at that excelled pace in the publishing process and delay thinking about marketing until after the book is released. By doing this, you’re missing out on the opportunity to build excitement and momentum around your upcoming book.

Conduct a pre-order campaign. Along the lines of rushing to publish, many authors overlook the importance of collecting pre-orders, but conducting a pre-order campaign in the 30-60 day time period before the release of your book is beneficial for many reasons.

  • Ability to engage with readers before publication.
  • Generate sales before publication.
  • Shows you take your book seriously.
  • Provides a tangible way to promote your book before publication.
  • Build a momentum leading up to the release of your book.

Your own website or community platforms like Pubslush are great options for pre-order campaigns.

Schofiled - Pubslush

Retail outlets. Where will you sell your book? There are the major outlets, as well as local options.

  • Authors can sell both digital and print books through Amazon.
    • Kindle Direct Publishing allows authors to upload and sell eBooks through Amazon.
    • CreateSpace allows authors to publish and sell print books, offering POD technology. Royalties vary for each format and are based on the listing price of the book.
  • To sell your book on Barnes & Noble as an independent author, you must first become a vendor of record, complete a publisher information form, and also submit bibliographic content.
  • Pubslush allows you to list your Book For Sale to gain exposure and promote your book to their audience.
  • Kobo is an eBook store that sells books in the ePub format. It’s easy and free to upload your book to sell through Kobo’s eBook store. Authors also receive market information and statistics for their eBook through their Dashboard dynamics.

Writing is just the first step, so keep the NaNoWriMo momentum and energy going in order to bring your book to life. The 30 days of November is just the beginning!

Justine Schofield

Justine Schofield

Development Director at Pubslush
A prominent voice in the publishing industry, Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global a pre-publication platform that allows authors and publishers to raise funds, collect pre-orders and tangibly market their upcoming book project.
Justine Schofield
Justine Schofield