The Why and How of NaNoWriMo

By Ron Estrada

For those of you living off the grid,
NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writers Month (writers are horrible
with acronyms), kicked off this week. Every November, nearly half a million
participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.
There is no cash prize.
There is no guarantee of publication.
There is not even a guarantee that it
will be good.
So why should you, a serious author
type, join an event that will do nothing to further your writing career?
Especially one that demands you draft your novel in the month of November,
whether or not you are ready to draft and whether or not you want to set a
1,667 word per day pace.
Because, my friends, that’s where your
readers may be hanging out. It is no secret that writers are hard-core readers.
It is also no secret that readers who writer are those that will be the most
enthusiastic about leaving reviews and promoting your books.
Last year NaNoWriMo drew 431,626
participants, including 80,137 students and educators in the Young Writers Program.
What you need to understand about these impressive numbers is this: NaNoWriMo is
more than writing a 50k novel in a month, it is a social media event.
Are you listening?
There are 430,000 avid readers, at this
moment, hashtagging their brains out with #nanowrimo or #nanowrimo2016 on every
single social media platform.
And where might you be?
How
to #NaNoWriMo
Just like any other post about social
networking, you have to go to where your readers hang out. Generally, adult
readers hang out on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. My readers, those between
the ages of 10 and 17, are more likely to be found on Instagram, Tumblr, and
Wattpad (yes, Wattpad is a social media site).
So I use Wattpad and Instagram for my
NaNo postings (I find Tumblr to lacking in oversight, so I’d rather not join in
and I encourage parents to keep their kids off of it).
Wattpad, of course, is a good starting
point. I joined in the NaNoWriMO conversations in the Wattpad “clubs,” which
are simply message boards. You’ll find mostly young, new writers here, so offer
lots of advice and encouragement. I designed a book cover in Canva and started
my new novel on Wattpad. Yes, I will be posting my rough draft daily as I
write. Don’t worry, these are understanding readers.
I then post my daily and total word
counts to Instagram using, of course, the appropriate hashtags. I’ll also use
my one profile link to take my followers back to my Wattpad novel.
The goal here is to accumulate more
followers on both Wattpad and Instagram, followers who are writers and very
avid readers.
For those of you with an older
audience, I suggest using Facebook to post your daily word counts. If you want
to be brave, post your rough draft to your blog, then post that link with your
word count. Post it to Twitter as well (because it’s easy).
Graphics
and Video
Wanna kick it up a notch? Use a fun
graphic to post your word count every day, like this one that I’m using on
Instagram:
Or, if you really want to have fun,
take advantage of the numerous video options on Facebook, Instagram, or your
blog to talk about your progress. And be sure to talk about your new novel!
That’s what it’s all about. Faceboook’s live video feed is a good way to really
connect on a personal level with your readers. They can comment as you video.
Facebook also saves the video for those who wish to watch it later.
The
Goal
Naturally, you’re not going to sell a
rough draft, and by the time you get this thing cleaned up and published, your
followers will have forgotten about it. But you can use the NaNo rush to
promote your current books. Or, if you have nothing to offer yet, just gain
followers. In this new age of publishing, a big online following is essential.
And what better way to build your
following than by ensuring it’s filled with readers who love reading so much
that they’ll tackle a 50k novel in one month?
So let’s get cracking! It’s not too
late to start. Go to NaNoWriMo.org to register. That’s where you’ll post your
word count as well. And be sure to look me up on Wattpad! You can critique me
as I post (with Christian love).
That’s it. I’m done blogging until
December.

Have a Happy National Novel Writers
Month!

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Ron Estrada has multiple published magazine articles, including a regular column in the bi-monthly Women2Women Michigan. He also freelances as a technical writer, specializing in white papers for manufacturing and consumer products. He writes spec fiction, hovering somewhere between post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction (he prefers the term pre-Last Days), but has also dabbled in Mystery and Suspense. Turn-ons include long walks to Frosty Boy and dinner by Kindle light. His real-writer’s blog can be found at RonEstradaBooks.com.  You can e-mail him at rmestrada@ameritech.net or catch him (at pretty much any time) on Facebook. Twitter handle is @RonEstrada. CB handle is God’s Gift.