Articles tagged "nanowrimo"

Meet NaNoWriMo Accelerator Author: Laura Harris

What first motivated you to write a book?

I’ve been writing stories as long as I remember, probably since I was about six or seven and I realised people write the books I loved to read, so I could write them too. This book in particular was originally prompted by lyrics to the song ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons and developed from there into my NaNoWriMo 2013 project, which I was desperate to win after failing miserably in 2012.

What did you find to be the biggest challenge about the writing process?

I think the main problem I have is staying focused on writing and not getting pulled away by the rest of life. It’s why NaNoWriMo is so helpful because it offers motivation and gets me into the habit of writing. Every year it rolls around and gives me a kick to start writing and stop procrastinating.

If you could offer an aspiring author any piece of advice, what would it be?

Find other writers. Through school/university, a local writing club, NaNoWriMo – it doesn’t matter how, but find people who you can discuss your story with, who will understand why you’re tearing your hair out over a runaway character, who you can write with so you don’t leave a story alone for months on end.

Tell us a little bit about your book…who should read it and why.

The basic premise is that sixteen years prior to the start of the book, human-dragon politics reached breaking point for various reasons, and dragonslayers won. To save themselves from extinction, dragons fled their bodies and hid their souls in human hosts. This book is the culmination of that. The presence of two souls weakens the human body and is slowly killing them off, meaning the dragons can’t hide any more. There are two main characters; Giselle, an orphaned gold smuggler who’s grown up with a voice in her head, and Corran, the youngest son of a dragonslayer desperate to prove himself. Read it if you like dragons. Read it you like sword & sorcery fantasy (although there’s less of the sorcery in this, magic is limited to dragons). Read it if you like coming of age stories. And hey, read it even if none of those things is your normal reading preferences because why not try something new?

Why did you chose to write in this genre?

I’ve always liked the escapism of fantasy and the concept of magic. The majority of my bookcase and DVD collection involves magic or the supernatural of some kind, so it’s just natural to write more of that.

Has writing and completing a book been the experience you thought it would be?

The writing part is normal, I’ve been doing it for so long. Completing something is just a matter of writing day after day, week after week and staying motivated – and then editing. The editing a book to completion is what I’ve never quite managed before and it is a lot more work than I expected. There are so many parts to it (plot, make the reader keep reading, improving the writing itself) and it takes just as long as writing the book. It’s been a great learning experience though.

What has been the biggest surprise so far in your author journey?

The work that goes into marketing a book. Going into it alone is much more difficult than I imagined and there are so many things to consider like social media, cover design, promotional materials. Just having a book out there isn’t going to do anything – you need to make sure people know about it.

Will you write another book?

Of course! For one thing, I need to wrap up Giselle & Corran’s story in the final Firesouls book, but I could never stop writing for too long. The story ideas pick at my brain until I’m opening a new document and start typing away.

Is there anyone you would like to thank who helped or supported you?

To avoid repeating the acknowledgements already in the back of my book which is several paragraphs long: thank you to every single person who encouraged me in writing over the years, and everyone who gave me advice and/or criticism because that helped me improve.

Life After NaNoWriMo

We’re well into December, and it’s almost the end of the year, but let’s take a minute to talk about last month. How did you spend your November? Maybe getting ready for the change in seasons or braving crowds to get a head start on holiday shopping? If you participated in NaNoWriMo you can add “writing an entire novel” to that list. Fifty thousand words in thirty days is no small feat so first things first: congratulations! Now that you’ve got everything all typed up and had some time to go over it, the most important question is…what’s next? You wrote your book in record time, so why not publish it just as quickly? Lulu has the professional publishing services to put a little shine on things and get your work ready for the world.

Cover Design


They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but let’s be honest, a nice cover goes a long way and can hook a customer before the first page is even turned.

Tips for NaNoWriMo Success

It’s late. Your heart-rate is elevated. The coffee is still percolating. Your hair, unwashed, is now reaching skyward as you tug on it almost every minute. You look over at your wall calendar, but you don’t need to be told what month it is: it is November. It is National Novel Writing Month. 

Started in 1999 by Chris Baty and “20 other overcaffeinated yahoos,” the write-50,000-words-of-a-novel-in-a-month challenge started with 21 participants and 6 winners. In 12 years it’s grown exponentially. By 2011, 256,618 writers attempted the feat and 36,843 finished.

The word count threshold, 50,000 words, means that a writer must commit to writing just a little under 2,000 words a day, or, to us writers, A LOT OF STINKIN’ WORDS. While some established authors take months or years to craft a narrative, writers participating in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), have just one month to commit to a draft. Several best-sellers have emerged from NaNoWriMo including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

We totally understand that finding the time and creative energy for this 30-day challenge is a huge feat, so here are a few ways to make the words flow!

Winners of the Lulu Short Story Contest Announced!


Wow.

We just can’t get over how many truly remarkable stories we received for the first ever Lulu Short Story Contest.

Our panel of 25 judges carefully read through the 2000+ submissions, picked their favorite, then read it out loud to the rest of the judges. From there, judges voted on which stories they liked the best from the readings and tallied the results until there were three clear winners with the most votes.  Your stories made us laugh, made us tear up, and some of the judges even got into literary debates over their favorites that lasted for days on end (no, really).

It was amazing to see everyone take such a passionate interest in our authors’ work. I can’t express enough how hard it was to pick just three finalists. But, we had to…SO! Without further ado (and because the suspense is killing me)…here are the winners of the Lulu Short Story Contest:

1ST PLACE WINNER:

The Red Boots by Poornima Ram Kiram

$1,000 Cash
Barnes and Noble NOOK
A review in Shelf-Unbound Magazine
Free Lulu Publicity


2ND PLACE WINNER:

Grass by Charles D. Shell
$250 and a Barnes and Noble NOOK™:


3RD PLACE WINNER:

Revenge by Gail Kavanagh
$100 Gift Card to Barnes and Noble


Honorable Mention:

Persona Quietus by Jesse Lee
Lovely Stranger by Jennifer Porter-Kennard

If you didn’t win, don’t let it get you down.  So many of the stories were so excellent and hey, now you have an eBook version of your story and your name out in the world for millions of readers to see. All just because you believed in yourself. Neat huh?!?

You can take that shiny new eBook of yours and promote it this holiday too for what we’re calling Download Day.  We did some research and figured out that December 26th is the highest traffic shopping day for eBook sales – much like “Black Friday” in November. So, we’re throwing a good old-fashioned author sales contest for Download Day and the author who sells the most copies of their eBook on December 26th, 2011 – even if you sell your eBook for free – will win a Barnes and Noble NOOK and $100 off coupon good for anything on Lulu.

Learn more about Download Day, the highest traffic buying day for digital content on the Lulu blog here. And thank you again so very much for helping make the Lulu Short Story Contest such a success.  Due to popular demand, we’ll soon be posting a full list of all 2,000+ submissions to the contest for everyone to read and we plan to publish an anthology featuring all the semi-finalists and three winners for all to enjoy.  More details on that to come soon.

All the best this holiday from Lulu.

Lulu Short Story Contest Homestretch

What a month it has been.

As NaNoWriMo and the Lulu Short Story Contest come to a close – we’ve been thrilled by the hundreds and hundreds of responses we’ve gotten from authors of all ages and genres who couldn’t resist the chance to share their creativity and who found out just how easy it can be to publish an eBook.

We’re not done yet though.  The official cutoff date for the contest is Dec. 1st, so there is still time to submit a story of your own and enter to win $1000, a NOOK™, free publicity, and a professional review of your story in Shelf Unbound Magazine.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions too.  Mainly from authors who just want to be sure they have entered their story correctly.  Remember, once you’ve published your short story as an eBook with our EPUB Converter, to copy and paste your story’s web address on our Survey Monkey form.  Once you click submit on Survey Monkey, you’ll be taken to a “thank you” page with a 20% off coupon on it – good for your next purchase on Lulu.  We may need to tweak your submission too in order to get it to pass the validation requirements set by retailers like the iBookstoreSM. You still keep the copyright though and we will only change the formatting – not the content itself.

Once Dec. 1st hits, we’ll gather all contest submissions and our panel of judges will fire up the coffee pots, pull out the reading glasses, and get to work reading all your remarkable entries.  We’ll announce the first, second, and third place winners mid-December.

So keep that creativity coming – you still have till Thursday.  You can do 600 words in no time!

 

Lulu Short Story Contest Tips

Wow.

In the 10 days since we launched the Lulu Short Story Contest, we’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of submissions, authors are helping each other out more than ever on our social networks, and authors are finding just how easy it is to publish an eBook of their very own.

Based on the whopping 150+ comments on the original contest announcement blog – we’ve noticed that a lot of you have some of the same questions about the contest, so here are some helpful tips to consider as you get closer to submitting your own story.

600 Word Max: We know it might be a challenge, but it is definitely possible to submit a short story that is 600 words or less.  Facebook fan Jason Johnson puts it best:  “I agree that 600 words is short, but I also think that’s the point.  What can you tell in 600 words that still makes it interesting to your readers.” Oh, and the 600 word count does not include the title and copyright material.

Use the Template: I love that people are looking for ways to spice up their entry – be it with pictures, a table of contents, etc.  But avoid straying from the template we’ve provided.  We’ve done most of the work for you formatting-wise and designed the template to pass through eBook validation as smoothly as possible so you can be sure your story can be distributed to places like the iBookstore.

Multiple Submissions: Yes please! You are certainly allowed to submit more than one short story, so keep em coming.  600 words not enough to contain all that remarkable creativity? Then write and submit as many new short stories as you want.  Several people have submitted more than one already.  We’ve even had one guy ask if he could send in 400 separate stories.  No matter how many you give us, submitting more than one will increase your chances at winning.

Submitting Your Story: Submitting your story is just a matter of visiting this link to Survey Monkey and filling in the 5 questions.  The most important part is providing us with a link to your work.  Once you finish publishing, you can click the “My Lulu” tab.  Here you’ll see a list of your projects, including your new eBook short story.  Click the “view/buy” button next to your work’s title.  Copy the web address of your story’s product page and paste it into question 4 on Survey Monkey.  This will help us track submissions and is how you get your 20% off coupon for participating.

Pricing: Once you get to the pricing step in the publishing wizard.  You will be able to set your price to anything you want – even free.  The default price is set at $1.24, which is the minimum for making revenue off your story.  If you’d like to give your eBook Short Story away, simply enter $0.00 as your price.

We’re excited to see so much activity going on with this contest and definitely plan to do more in the future.  There is still plenty of time left in the month though, so send us your short story today.  Good luck and thanks for playing.

Want even more short story writing tips?  Check out this handy article from Fiction Factor.

 

Lulu Short Story Contest

The Lulu Short Story Contest is here and starts right now!

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a great time to put your nose to the grindstone and try to complete a 50,000 word novel in under 30 days.

But we got to thinking: over 200,000 authors participated in NaNoWriMo last year and only 30,000 actually made the deadline.  That leaves 170,000 dedicated and talented folks high and dry.  That’s a whole lot of creativity to waste.  So why not make things easier?  After all, creativity is about quality, not quantity.

Thus, the Lulu Short Story Contest was born…

Throughout the month of November – all the way to December 1st – anyone can participate in our Short Story Contest and take the pressure off the creative process.  Better yet, we want to help folks see their creativity available to the public as quickly as possible too, so we’re gonna help you create an eBook out of your short story that’ll go live in the iBookstore and on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK.

How to play:

  • Write a 600 word short story using our handy eBook template.  Download the template here.
  • Follow the list of things you don’t need to worry about available here.
  • Upload your work to Lulu.com and send it through the Lulu ePub Converter
  • Make sure to set your work to public availability and set to “sell on Lulu, the iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and more.”
  • Once published, submit a link to your eBook’s product page, along with your name and registered Lulu email address to SurveyMonkey to help us track submissions and claim your 20% off coupon.  Once submitted, you’ll receive a notice within Survey Monkey confirming your entry.
  • Feel free to promote your contest submission on our Facebook and Twitter (#nanowrimo) pages too

What about prizes?!?!

This is the best part.

First place:

  • $500 cash
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK
  • Feature in Lulu Staff Picks and Lulu Blog
  • Free mentions in upcoming Lulu publicity
  • Professional review of your work

Second place:

  • Barnes & Noble NOOK

Third place:

  • $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble

All participants:

  • 20% off coupon for next purchase on Lulu.com

Winners will be selected by a panel of Lulu judges and announced mid-December after review of all submissions.  Bring on your remarkable stories for a chance to win some amazing prizes!



No purchase necessary.  U.S. only.  Prize packages for the Lulu Short Story Contest include:  First place prize of $500, a Barnes and Noble NOOK, publicity in upcoming Lulu materials.  Second place prize of a Barnes and Noble NOOK.  Third place prize of a $100 gift card to a Barnes and Noble retail store location.  All participants will receive a 20% coupon good for their next purchase at Lulu.com.  The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on December 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! We can only accept English-language content.  While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.  Lulu also reserves the right to make any short story submitted publicly available and to make small edits to content to aid in distribution to third-party retail stores.



 

Celebrate NaNoWriMo with Lulu

We’re obviously big fans of books here at Lulu and that makes November one of our favorite months. Why? Because it’s National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.

For eleven years NaNoWriMo has brought together thousands of aspiring authors who share a passion for writing and creativity. Each November, more and more authors join in and take a no holds barred approach to pumping out a 50,000 word book in just 30 days. With such a limited time-frame for making a remarkable work, writers often surprise themselves with what they can accomplish and what creative ideas they can come up with – music to the folks at Lulu’s ears.

Some of us Lulus are even getting involved in the action. I am using this year’s NaNoWriMo to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. Well, at least I’m trying to overcome a three-year case of writer’s block. So far I’ve spent several days staring at a blank screen hoping to channel Neruda, Hemmingway, Frost or Fitzgerald and then distracting myself with exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping.

Writing is much harder than anyone gives us literary types credit for, and I admire all of you Lulu creators for being able to have the self-discipline to write something and the confidence to put it out in the world.

NaNoWriMo is all about getting motivated. Any book written in 30 days probably won’t be a work of genius, but writing 50,000 words in one month is going to force you to write and take risks. You can edit, take out weak characters, and add sub-plots later. For now, just get writing!

My favorite high school English teacher told me once that writing is easy. You just write about yourself with the life you’ve always wanted. Change your name, give yourself an apartment in Paris and a love interest who got away. Find inspiration in everything and use the mannerisms of interesting strangers to write new characters. Combine it with the search for home, and you’ve got yourself a bestseller.

So, let’s do this together! We’ve got three weeks to write a book. It may not be your most remarkable work, but then again, maybe it will be. You don’t know till you try. And when you’re all done, I encourage you to publish your books on Lulu. What have you got to lose?

Feel free to add your NaNoWriMo experiences in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you’re working on or any tips for NaNoWriMo survival and getting motivated?  Come on NaNoWriMo veterans, I know you’re out there.

My Epic Battle with “The Nothing”

The blank page with its vast, open space is looking back at me with an unblinking stare. Now I’m consumed by the fear and panic caused by the possibility of missing a deadline. I’ve got it, writer’s block, and it ain’t pretty. I know we’ve all hit the wall of supreme nothingness before, so this isn’t new, but what do you do when you find yourself with a blank page sneering at you and nothing in your brain?

This year I attempted my first NanoWriMo and quit when I realized that writer’s block was killing my story. I had restarted my novel three times before I realized I would not meet the deadline at the end of the month. Writer’s block can be a force so supreme, like “The Nothing” in the NeverEnding Story, that whole civilizations and entire universes can be devoured by its existence!

In an attempt to defeat the monster, I poked around on the internet and discovered a few tips that I thought to be very helpful.

Does Anyone At Lulu Actually Know What It's Like To Write A Book?

By Elmore Hammes

I certainly can’t speak for everyone in the company, but I can answer for myself with a resounding “yes!” In fact, I was a Lulu customer long before I was an employee.

I first heard about Lulu in 2003 through a promotion with the National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) competition. Lulu was offering a promotion for a free copy of your book to anyone who finished the competition, so when I finished my novel I decided to publish it on Lulu. Once that very rough draft was sitting on my book shelf with my name on the spine I was hooked, both to writing and to Lulu.

I followed that up with a children’s fantasy book in 2004, and printed copies through Lulu to give my nieces and nephews for Christmas. Don’t worry, I also gave them real presents, so they didn’t ask to exchange the books.

I next used Lulu to publish a book of my mother’s paintings for a Mother’s Day present in 2005. Seeing how much joy it brought her to share the book with her friends showed me just how much personal creations can mean to a family, and inspired me to get even more involved with Lulu.