What to Do After NaNoWriMo

You made it through November with your NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel completed! You’ve spent the last few weeks reading through it, making changes, and having friends read it.
Now what?
51WO4VbO7lLIf you’re really serious, the next step is to track down a book such as the Writer’s Market or the Literary Marketplace. These are the free-lance (if you don’t have a writer’s contract from an employer, you’re free-lance) writer’s Bibles. Whether you are writing a memoir, a magazine article, an indepth research on the history of the Madagascar Lemur Louse, or that spy novel that’s been twisting in the back of your head, this is the book you NEED to read.

Both books are full of information for the beginning and professional writer. You will find encouragement, essays, notes on what to do and how to do it, professional agents who will promote your work and get you published, as well as publishers, what they are looking for, and more importantly, HOW they want you to submit your work. Do not waste the editor’s time by sending them a romance query when they do not publish romance stories. Don’t look like an amateur by submitting an email file when the agent only takes printed copy. Don’t waste your postage sending to a publisher who is not currently accepting new submissions. These books will tell you exactly how to submit your work, and to whom, to get it noticed.index

Whether you choose to go a traditional publishing route or create your own published work through Amazon or similar sites, pay the money for a professional to review your work first, even if all you do is pay your child’s teacher to go over it. A professional will correct your spelling, your grammar, and maybe even point out a flaw you didn’t see. They can make your manuscript appear professional and polished, and give you your best shot. If you choose to include testimonials to your work, don’t use quotes from family members. Find someone with even a minimum of credit behind their name, or don’t do it. You want your presentation to be as professional-looking as possible.

Remember, in the publishing industry, money is supposed to flow toward you, never away from you. If you are being asked to put money up front to help with costs, you are being scammed. There is a wonderful site every writer should know: SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). This page is for all writers, not just fantasy and science fiction authors. It will alert you to the current scams aimed at writers who don’t know better, and take you step by step through what you should and shouldn’t do as a new writer of any genre.

And don’t be discouraged by rejection. It’s not personal. Some publishers receive thousands of submissions per month. Even J.K. Rowling was rejected numerous times before Harry Potter was picked up by Scholastic. Imagine how those publishers feel now!

November = National Novel Writing Month


How many of us have ever thought it would be pretty cool to write a novel? Most of us, right? Maybe you’ve had a story idea you’ve been carrying around for years, revisiting it from time to time to add a detail or think through a character, like a pensive twist at an unsolved Rubik’s Cube. Or, maybe you just like the idea of having something that you’ve created and completed yourself. Whatever category you find yourself falling into, November is National Novel Writing Month, and the perfect time to get writing.

Known to insiders as NaNoWriMo (na-noh-RYE-moh), it’s an annual challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. It’s free to join and open to any adult: the only requirements are that you must start with fresh material and only work from midnight on November 1st to 11:59pm on November 30th. If you’re under 18, NaNo runs a special Young Writer’s Program for kids and teens with slightly different word goals.

If 50,000 words sounds like a huge number, you’re right. It works out to 1667 words a day, about the same as five typed pages of 12-point double-spaced text. It’s nearly impossible to write anything other than a very rough first draft of a novel, and that’s completely by design: to get to 50,000 words, you have to shut off your inner editor and become a high-velocity writing machine for 30 days. It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be.

So what do you win if you reach the goal of 50,000 words? Mainly bragging rights and the satisfaction of knowing you were able to complete the challenge. There’s no monetary prize or anything, but you do get coupons for some writing products. And at our NaNoWriMo 101 program on October 16th, Diane Scarponi, the Municipal Liaison for the CT Shoreline area, informed us that one particularly sweet coupon from CreateSpace entitles you to two free printed paperback copies of your novel if you hit the 50k word goal. Hooray!

For many NaNoWriMo writers, two copies isn’t enough: they want to share their novel with the world. Those who want to publish their work – after editing the daylights out of that first draft, of course – have a choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing. (It’s the same in the music industry: think musicians selling CDs out of a van, versus getting a contract with a major label.) It’s a tough game, but lots of authors who started their drafts during NaNoWriMo have gotten their finished projects into print via traditional publishers, and several of those novels have even gone on to become bestsellers.

The following titles all started as NaNoWriMo drafts, and against the odds, they’ve been published by major publishing houses and have made it onto the bestseller lists – and onto our shelves here at the library. Maybe you’ve already read them!



Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Perhaps the best known NaNo novel of them all, this was made into a film a few years back that starred Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon.

 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another circus-themed read that has been making the book discussion rounds since it came out in 2011.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The first installment of a super-popular YA series that features cyborgs, plagues, and outer space. You’ve got our attention!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park didn’t rest on her laurels after it began appearing on bestseller lists. No, she decided to write 100,000 words during NaNoWriMo 2011.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Perkins’ debut novel and the first in a series of three young adult romances, NPR called it one of the best teen reads for 2010.

The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough
Before you start thinking NaNoWriMo writers are only doing chick lit and teen books, you have to know there’s some hardcore science fiction writers out there cracking their knuckles and then frantically typing. Hough’s Dire Earth Cycle, a trilogy of sci-fi thrillers starting with The Darwin Elevator, got its start during NaNoWriMo.


Are you doing NaNoWriMo in 2014? Let us know in the comments, or stop by during one of our scheduled Write-In Wednesdays on 11/5 from 5-9 pm and 11/19 from 5-9 pm!


BOOK REVIEW: The Trouble With Love by Beth Ciotta

This is book two of the trilogy Cupcake Lovers.  Rocky Monroe is the owner of a bed and breakfast in Sugar Creek, Vermont.  She’s also president of the Cupcake Lover’s club, a group of women (and one hunky man) that bakes cupcakes to raise money for charities.  Ten years ago, when she was only 17, she lost her virginity to her brothers’ best friend and family friend, Jayce Bello.  He was 22 at the time and overwhelmed with the love he felt for Rocky and the fear of being found out by her brothers.  He felt at the time that the best thing he could do was leave town, so he begins a new life in New York City.  Rocky was hurt and confused and claims to hate Jayce, but in reality, she can’t get him out of her head.  It would be helpful to read book one first – Fool For Love – as it sets up the background story of Rocky and Jayce.  But if you don’t get to read it, you can still understand the dynamics between them.

Rocky needs to go to New York City to help negotiate a publishing deal for the Cupcake Lover’s Club’s first cookbook.  Of course the very first day she is there, she gets mugged and hit by a car.  Having no money and reluctantly needing help, she calls Jayce, who is more than happy to help.  He’s been doing a lot of thinking and has just made the decision to move back to Sugar Creek and try to come to terms with his demons about his family and to try to reconcile with Rocky.  The timing of Rocky’s call couldn’t have come at a better time.  He begins his plan to woo her while she’s in New York and continues it when they return to Sugar Creek.

There are many twists and turns in Rocky and Jayce’s journey.  With true love, you have to fight hard for that someone special and that’s what this story is about.   The whole Town is behind them and the cast of characters provides comic relief as well as emotional support. It was also nice to see the continuation of Dev and Chloe’s story from book one, and Luke’s story is nicely set up for book three – Anything But Love coming out in September.

Author Profile: Nora Roberts

nora robertsNora Roberts was born in Silver Springs, Maryland, the youngest of five children.  She married young and worked briefly as a legal secretary – “the worst ever”.  After her two sons were born, she became a stay at home mom and immersed herself into gardening, canning, stitching and knitting.

Her road to writing began during the February blizzard of 1979.  Stranded at home with her two young sons and a lack of chocolate, she was looking for some non-child related entertainment.  Coming from a family of readers, she got a notebook and started writing down a story that was in her head.  She knew then that writing was the thing she was supposed to do.

She started writing category romance (also known as “series”), since she had just started reading Harlequin romances.  At the time, Harlequin had mainly British authors and was the only publisher of category romances.  All of her manuscripts were rejected.

In 1980, she heard of a new publisher, Silhouette, who was looking for American authors to write category romances and in 1981, they bought Nora’s first manuscript, Irish Thoroughbred.

In July 1985, Nora married her second husband – a local carpenter she hired to build some shelves for her home.  He went on to build many things in her home – including a solid marriage.

In 1987, she began writing single title books for Bantam. In 1992, she moved to writing single title hardcovers as well as original paperbacks for Putnam under the name of Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb.

In the early years, she wrote when she could squeeze in the time between her sons’ school time and activities.  Now she spends 8 hours a day, every day, writing.  She has written over 200 books.  When she’s not writing, she tries to exercise in her pool or elliptical trainer and she is an avid gardener.

Nora’s husband, Bruce Wilder, owns a bookstore named Turn the Page Bookstore and Café in nearby Boonsboro, Maryland.  Directly across the street was an old, run down hotel which Nora and her husband bought in 2007. They began renovating it into a bed and breakfast called Inn BoonsBoro.  This was not an easy undertaking.  In February 2008, the Inn caught fire and was completely destroyed, and many buildings on the block were damaged. Undaunted, they started from scratch and in February 2009, the Inn opened to rave reviews.  This experience inspired The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy.  The titles of this trilogy are:  The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend, The PerfectHope.

Some fun facts:

  1.  Since 1999, every Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb book has made the New York Times bestseller list.  Fifty-three have debuted at number one.
  2. Celebrity in Death is the 34th book in the series.
  3. She is the third author to sell more than one million Kindle books.
  4. Her books are published in over 34 countries.
  5. If you place her books from top to bottom, they would stretch from New York to Los Angeles 18 times.
  6. Many of Nora’s books have been made into movies shown on Lifetime television.
  7. Nora was one of the first authors to communicate via the web when she launched her website in 1996.

Her latest book as Nora Roberts is Whiskey Beach and as J.D. Robb, the title is Calculated In Death and are available at the Cheshire Library.