It's Thanksgiving here in the United States, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank other writers who have helped me over the years and especially in the past year. While none of them can perform magic to make my older writing projects perform better in the marketplace, in various ways they have helped me press on with new projects that I hope will reach much larger audiences. Some, like Emily, have known me for many years, while others, such as Lynn, are more recent acquaintances. The help I have received from other writers has ranged from moral support to technical information to market understanding, and I am thankful to them all for giving me the confidence to continue writing with the hope of achieving commercial success as well as artistic expression.
As I write this, people around the world are preparing to embark on a literary journey, many for the first time. Like me, they have hopes of writing a novel in November as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, although it's definitely international now). The challenge of being a "WriMo" is to craft at least 50,000 words in a new novel during November. Not starting ten minutes before, not finishing half an hour past... but writing at least 50,000 words in November. Thirty days, at around 1700 words a day. Easy? For some, maybe. For many, it's a challenge to fit that amount of writing in amongst daily non-writing demands.
In this blog post, I will share some information about the path I have taken multiple times, a path that will take you from being a NaNoWriMo novelist to having your book for sale on Amazon (and other retailers) for people around the world to read and enjoy. But don't get me wrong. I'm not going to tell you how to win awards, or become rich and famous, or write something that will endure for centuries. Those are paths I have not walked (yet) with my books, so what value would there be in my advice on those matters? None, to be sure. But as for the mechanics of it all... completing the book and seeing it available for sale to friends, family, and complete strangers? That I have done, and that I can walk you through. While this blog post won't hit every detail, it will give you an idea of what lies ahead. Interested? Read on!
In a perfect world of publishing, I would be able to write my novels, polish them up, and get them to readers wherever they wanted to read them, all without a lot of effort. Right now, our publishing world is not like that at all. Once I have finished all of my edits for a novel, there are many obstacles between me and interested readers. There are technical obstacles, such as formatting, but there are also obstacles that are created by the independent publishing distribution platforms. Those obstacles reduce the availability of my books to readers, and much of this is the fault of Amazon.
Amazon takes a very competitive approach to building their library of electronic books. Their Kindle Unlimited program mandates that the electronic edition of a book only be available through Amazon for the Kindle. As a result, it is not possible (while complying with their terms of service) to offer a book to readers who want to read it in Kindle Unlimited and at the same time make it available to readers who want to read it on the NOOK platform, or the Kobo platform, or the Google Play Books platform, etc. Read on for how this affects you and me both.
Birkran has a problem. He lives in a high-tech world where the bureaucratic government has extensive surveillance capabilities and where populations have been collected into densely populated cities. All of the people and all of the observation of daily activities make him nervous. He just wants to be left alone. Unfortunately, he is strangely connected to both an aspiring young politician and an anarchist hacker. What seems like an awkward connection at first becomes much more when Birkran realizes that someone is toying with him for their own benefit. You can read the whole story by borrowing it from Kindle Unlimited, or you can buy a copy for your Kindle for 99 cents. Continue reading to find out the story behind the story.
It's July, that means it's a good time to go camping, right? And I am doing exactly that! Although I may do some real camping near the end of the month, what I'm talking about in this blog post his Camp NaNoWriMo. If you're not familiar with it, it is similar to the main NaNoWriMo event in November but with more flexibility. You can choose your own target word count, and you are not expected to be working on a new novel. It's a good way to work with other writers and get caught up on an existing project or start a new one.
One feature that encourages working with other writers is that you can join a cabin, which is basically a team of up to 12 writers who can support each other, keep each other accountable, and just chat about writing and life as a writer. Read more if you would like to know how I am using Camp NaNoWriMo this year.