Image: Matthew Loffhagen
The biggest annual event in the world of writing is upon us once again!
For those writers who are brave or foolhardy enough, National Novel Writing Month is the perfect opportunity to speed through a novel, as participants aim to write at least 50,000 words in just thirty days.
If you’re one of the many heroic writers looking to tackle the great NaNoWriMo beast, you’re in good company – bestsellers such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Wool by Hugh Howey all started as NaNoWriMo books.
But with so many writers putting their all into creating unique stories this month, how can you make sure that readers discover your book? Here are five techniques to helping your NaNoWriMo book find its perfect audience.
1. Blog it
One of the simplest ways to get readers – and to keep yourself going – is to publish your book episodically as you write it.
One of the big, important points of a challenge like NaNoWriMo is for writers to throw themselves into a first draft and not slow down too often for editing. Blogging your story as you go means you have to keep moving forward, as your existing chapters are already out there on the internet.
There’s a big marketing benefit to releasing your book periodically as you go. Readers can get behind your book, and will be eager to follow your progress through the challenge.
Providing your book to them in small, manageable chunks means more readers will take a chance on you, which will hopefully lead to them getting hooked on your story.
Just ensure you make it very clear that the chunks you are posting are first draft and have not been edited in any way.
2. Tweet it
As is generally the case with online advertising, social media is the best place to announce your NaNoWriMo book.
Your first readers will likely be your friends and family, so posting your progress on social media will help to draw their attention.
With NaNoWriMo, the experience of writing a book is just as important as the book itself, so using social media to give updates on your progress will get people excited about your story as it develops.
If you want to avoid getting distracted on social media during the challenge, you can use a tool like our free social media dashboard to schedule your posts in advance.
3. Post it
There are a lot of communities on the internet which are designed for the sole purpose of sharing writing experiences, challenges and successes.
NaNoWriMo attracts a lot of attention, and a lot of writers all hit the internet at the same moment looking to discuss their books and get inspiration from others. This is the perfect time to get involved with communities of other writers, as everyone is welcome to contribute.
The natural place to start talking about your story is the NaNoWriMo forum itself, which exists for writers to discuss the ins and outs of the challenge.
This is not just a great place to go to attract readers to your story, but it’s also a fabulous place to find inspiration and assistance with character development, world-building, and every other element of the story.
Beyond the official forum, there are plenty of places to post about your story and to get feedback from other writers – for example, the NaNoWriMo subreddit is a resource for writers looking to discuss their projects further.
When posting in writer communities, it’s best not to focus too heavily on promoting your own work – doing so can be annoying for other writers who are looking to discuss more practical aspects of their work. But discussing your project in these communities will likely lead fellow writers to check out your progress on your story.
4. Read it
As NaNoWriMo is largely about community, you might find that the best thing you can do for your novel’s marketing success is engage with other writers.
Take the time to read their stories, give feedback and praise where due, and you’ll make friends and connections that can be greatly helpful to your marketing success.
If you’re posting lovely things online about others’ NaNoWriMo attempts, and even giving other writers publicity on your own social media and blog, they’ll be likely to reciprocate. At the end of the day, there’s strength in numbers.
5. Forget it
One of the best things you can do for your novel, of course, is to not worry about who’s reading it. NaNoWriMo is about creating a story, and putting that story first means it’ll be as good as possible.
If your story shines, your marketing adventures will be so much easier.
You can always work on the steps above while writing, but the key is to not let the marketing side of your story outweigh the storytelling itself – nothing is more important than doing a good job while reaching that magic 50,000 word target.
Writing a book in a month can be a daunting task, but it’s the perfect kick in the pants that many writers need, and it has been the inspiration for many bestselling books.
If you’re smart about the way you work and the effort you make promoting your work in progress, who knows where your book might end up?
Are you writing for NaNoWriMo? Do you have any good tips or suggestions for drawing readers to your book? Let us know in the comments below.