NaNoWriMo – are you in?

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It’s that time of year when writers across the world get ready for the largest writing event of the year, NaNoWriMo, and this year I’ve decided to joe one of them.

For those of you who aren’t aware, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, where from the 1st November participants begin writing the first draft of a new novel. The goal is to complete 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th November – an average of 1,666 words per day. The event started in 1999 with just twenty-one participants but has grown year-on-year to hit 431,626 participants in 2015.

I’ve always wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo but so far the timing has never been right. This year, however, the timing couldn’t be better. I’ve been working on the idea for a children’s novel over the past couple of months as I’d love to have a book published that my two boys can read. As those who follow my blog regularly know, I’m half-plotter, half-pantser, so I’m as prepared as I like to be with a good idea of the who the main characters are and their motivations, a general idea of the world I’m creating, and an outline of what happens where – without being too prescriptive. I’ve also researched the relevant historical era I’m loosely basing the story around and I’ve already written a first chapter – which will need re-writing – so I have a good feel for the style I’m looking to achieve.

Still, one thousand, six hundred and sixty-six words per day is no small undertaking. The most I’ve written in one day is 4000 words but that was a one-off, took all day and my brain was mush by the end of it. Finding the time to write over one and a half thousand words each and every day will be tough, and if that wasn’t hard enough, I’m also starting my cricket coaching qualifications later the same month, so time will be even tighter – and that’s not even mentioning family, work, music and so on. But, it’s good to challenge yourself every now and then, right?

The most important thing to remember about NaNoWriMo is that it is a bit of a misnomer. By the end of the process you won’t have a finished novel. Unless you are writing children’s fiction (as I am) you may not even have a completed first draft, but you will have completed the bulk of the writing AND got yourself into the habit of writing regularly, one of the biggest obstacles to completing a novel.

So the big question is – who’s joining me?

If you are, I’d love to link up with you so we can share our journeys together. If you have been thinking about taking part but aren’t sure where to start, just click here to register. It’s very straight-forward and once registered you can link up with other authors. My author profile page is here. You don’t have to have anything prepared, many authors – including Stephen King – start off with an idea of a character and a situation and take it from there.

If you’ve already registered to take part, please feel free to let me know in the comments below or to hook up via my author page. And even if you don’t decide to take part, please feel free to check out my progress and cheer me along (or give me a verbal kick up the backside) whenever you can. I think I’m going to need all the support I can get!

 

 

Do you like intelligent thrillers? If so, join my mailing list and get one of my 5-star rated near-future dystopian thrillers absolutely free. The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here. 

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Reedsy – the one-stop shop for writers?

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About eighteen months ago I wrote a post about a new startup, Reedsy, who were looking to develop a marketplace to bring authors and publishers together with the best editing, cover design and book marketing professionals. At the time I thought it was an intriguing idea, as indie authors were realising that for their books to be taken seriously they needed to be well-written, well-edited and have a professional cover but it was difficult to know where to find the best possible support. At the same time, I was concerned that this was yet another service looking to earn income from authors (and publishing professionals) without delivering any real value in return.

Since my last post, Reedsy has grown, developing it’s services and website, so I thought it was time to revisit what they offer.

Full disclosure: Ricardo Fayet, one of the founders of Reedsy, has read and given great reviews of my books. This has no impact on this post and I have never been requested to write anything about Reedsy. I also have not used the Reedsy marketplace to find a publishing professional but my editor offers his services via Reedsy.

What’s new?

Where the old Reedsy was pretty much the market place, allowing authors to search for marketing professionals and professionals to promote themselves, Reedsy now offer a lot more.

Learning

They have a series of free Live Videos where industry experts talk about specific topic (e.g. cover critiques, how to go about your second draft), all of which are really useful for a novice or experienced writer. They also offer a series of free courses on topics as diverse as how to build your writing routine to getting the most from Amazon’s algorithms. The best thing about these services are that you don’t have to be registered with Reedsy to take part (although the courses are via email so you do have to give you name and email address). Even if you don’t use any of Reedsy’s other services, these are well worth having a look at.

Book editor

Reedsy have also created a book editor, free software for you to use to write your novel. Because it is online, you can use it to collaborate with your editor and once complete it can create the final ebook or POD file for you. My thoughts on this are mixed. In function it is very similar to Scrivener – which I love – and the fact it is free makes it very attractive. However I have two concerns. First, by using this service you are tying yourself to Reedsy in the same way some of us are tied over time to Google or Apple products. I’d want to know how to access my files if I change my mind. Second is around the files themselves. Where are they stored? Who owns them? What happens if Reedsy goes bust? It’s not clear from the promotional page and I would want clear answers on these points if I was ever to think about using the service.

The market place

The market place has developed since I last looked from being predominantly editors and cover designers to now promoting PR, Marketing and Ghostwriting services as well. You can filter your search by the type of service offered and the genre they specialise in to help find the right person for you. What is noticeable is that there hasn’t been a significant rise is the number of professionals offering their services. For me, this is a good thing. It shows that Reedsy aren’t just trying to pull in numbers to make a quick buck but are

One thing that’s knew is you can see the response rate of the professional, so you know whether your enquiry will be looked at or not. It’s a nice addition but I’d still like to have some form of rating or feedback where verified users of the service can give feedback of their experience. I would also like to have some indication of an indicative price range as it’s difficult to tell initially whether you would be wasting your (and the service provider’s) time with an enquiry.

Summary

As an author, I like what Reedsy are doing and the way they are approaching the market. They appear to be in it for the long haul and are choosing quality over quantity, and are building up a portfolio of services to support authors and offer real value. While I don’t think their offer is perfect, if they continue in this manner they could soon become the one-stop shop for authors they’re aiming to be.

At the very least, I would recommend anyone interested in writing to check out their learning videos and courses, whether you are starting out and looking to develop your craft, or if you are an experienced writer looking to learn move about the intricacies of the trad or indie publishing scene. They cover a wide variety of topics and are delivered by market experts. Also, they’re free, so what do you have to lose?

On a personal level I’m lucky that I already have an editor and cover designer I enjoy working with, but if I was ever looking for a professional service, I would definitely look on Reedsy on top of my other searches.

What about you? Have you used Reedsy at all? Do you have any feedback you would like to share with us? I would love to hear from you.

 

Do you like intelligent thrillers? If so, join my mailing list and get one of my 5-star rated near-future dystopian thrillers absolutely free. The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here. 

Interview: Dylan S. Hearn, Author of Second Chance, Book 1 of The Transcendence Trilogy

Susan from Dab of Darkness was kind enough to interview me the other day and I had an absolute blast revealing my hidden Tolkien geek!
Feel free to check it out on Susan’s blog where she also has lots of reviews, interviews, and giveaways.

Dab of Darkness

HearnSecondChanceEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author Dylan Hearn. Learn about Dylan’s fascination with The Lord of the Rings and also about his science fiction thriller, Second Chance.

What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

I’d like to interview Iain Banks and ask about how he manages to slip so seamlessly between writing well-respected literary fiction and equally well-respected science fiction with his culture novels. I’d also like to know how he came up with his names for the ships. They’re genius!

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

This is a really difficult question. I’d love to relive the moment I experienced watching the Fellowship of the Rings on the big screen. The Lord of the Rings was the first book (or…

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