To all of you with Winner blazed across your names - Congratulations!
To all of you who tried - don't feel bad. For trying this crazy month, you are all winners in my book! Hope to write with you all next November! But, wait...there's ScriptFrenzy in April. I've never attempted to write a script, and have no drama experience, though I have a few videos up on YouTube under DanniStories Channel. I think I'll try to learn how, and participate in it. Any of y'all up to another challenge, next April 1?
I hope everyone enjoyed the journey. Writing has been my unfailing friend through the frustrations of single parenthood and other rough spots in my life. It allowed me a constructive outlet so I could go back to my family and act civil. It's been my ticket to some really fun scenes, danger and escape from danger, without having to buy fares or subject myself to risk.
May it be so for you. Enjoy your writing journeys, whether or not you finish, whether or not you have hundreds of books in you, or only one. That one may be important to someone near you or a stranger far away.
For those of you who hit 50,000 words, I encourage all of you to finish your novels, and submit them to publishers. Go ahead and get your free proof copy. Hold it in your hands. There is no feeling like the awe of holding your book in your hands, no matter how many years passed between the start and the print [try 25 years - I made the decision to self-publish last August, and had that very feeling in September]. I don't recommend self-publishing until you have submitted to publishers. For formats and mechanics, Writer's Market is very good. You can find the most recent year's version at the Reference section of your local library [it doesn't check out - you have to use it there]. Previous years may be available to take home. If you buy a copy, you have use of the Writer's Market website with up-to-date publisher info, and many articles on how to get started. What you learn there will help you a lot if you ever decide to self-publish.
1. You have a family history or other specific work of value to maybe hundreds of people
2. You are writing about a subject that's obscure, and of interest to maybe hundreds of people
3. You are writing in a genre with very limited readership [hundreds]...
you get the idea.
You send your book off to a publisher unrequested, and you have to follow their writer guidelines, and your manuscript goes into a thing called The Slush Pile. It's shelves, not a pile, but you have a 97 to 99% chance of being rejected.
You decide to self-publish, and you want to be a resounding success and sell hundreds of thousands of copies and get rich:
You will have to get out and do your own marketing and promotion [which, if you go the traditional route as a new author, you will probably have to do your own marketing/promo].
Marketing and promotion is hard work. There are no shortcuts. There are no easy way to hit it big. A self-publishing author has to be able to do most of the work themselves, at least in the early stages. Beware of all those editing services self-publishers offer. Editing is not the kind of editing an editor of a major publsihing house does. It is copy editing [editing for spelling and grammar errors]. Some services are a LOT cheaper if you do them yourself [cover design, conversion to .pdf from Word or other word processing software, brush up on your spelling/grammar or take a college English course].
The hardest part of self-publishing is getting your work out there so it can be noticed.
Self-publishing carries a harsh stigma. People in the publishing industry tend to think you gave up too soon on traditional publishing or maybe weren't good enough to be published by a major publisher.
So, if you self-publish, you are technically cutting all possiblities of getting published tradtiionally out of the picture. Do your research and know all the pros and cons before you go this route. There's no harm in getting a proof copy to keep, or letting relatives buy copies. But, if you release it for general public to buy and start marketing it, publishers won't read your manuscript. If you want to send your NaNo book out to publishers, don't officially release the book for public view. You can still get copies for people you know without hurting your chances [CreateSpace has obvious settings for those who want to be listed on Amazon.com and those who just want a few personal copies].
Enjoy your experience, however it turned out! Remember, there were a few NaNos who successfully hit it big with a traditional publisher! You are not able to decide if your work is or was good. Let someone objective read it. Send it to an editor. Get your friends/relatives/co-workers to read it! But, don't pay to get a review. If you're happy just doing writing and not letting people read it, great! Enjoy the process. But, if you want to turn your avocation into a paying job, do some research, and submit to enough publishers to at least understand that side of the business. Only consider self-publishing after you've tried submitting to a traditional publisher. Don't worry about how 'good' your novel or partial novel is!
Remember, Gone With The Wind was rejected by 30 major publishers before one editor tackled reading it [around 1000 pages]. Margaret Mitchell had serious doubts that no one would like her writing.
There are many such stories of classic novels rejected until someone realized their worth. Every reader wants something different. Taylor Swift, a talented singer/songwriter in the Country genre, thought no one but her had the tender feelings of being left out or falling in love. Now, she's had two albums full of hits, and releasing her third. So it goes with anyone creative! Don't worry about whether anyone you know likes your writing. Do you like it? Do you enjoy writing it? If you do, keep on writing! Don't let critics get you down. Writing is a solitary activity. It's something you do because you have the urge to write, and it's unstoppable. Let the muses drive you. It really doesn't matter if anyone likes your writing but you. If you believe in it, if you want to get it out into the public eye, submit it. If you don't want to let others read it, don't worry about it.
It doesn't have to fit your definition of 'good'. All it has to be is a pleasant thing to do. If it helps you, if it pleases you, if you feel driven to do it, write, write, write, and never pause to wonder if it's 'good'. If you enjoy writing it, somewhere, there's someone who would enjoy reading it.
You are all officially Writers. Congratulations to all of you, official Winners or Not. You are all Writers, and I hope you enjoyed stepping into The Writing Life for a while. Hopefully you have discovered a phenomenon that you will continue to explore, and enjoy.
Hope to see all of you next year, or maybe in April, if I decide to try ScriptFrenzy. Happy Writing!
Love and the Clicking of Keyboard Letters, or the Scribbling of Pen or Pencil On Paper To You All,
1st Year NaNo
Here 'cause I love to write and encourage folks!
Dannis' letter to her fellow Georgia - Elsewhere Region Members, and really, to all who participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2009. Dannis won in this, her 1st year, but very nearly didn't. Dannis is a self published author, and has no official connection to Office of Letters and Light, which runs National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy. She is just another participant, a newbie this year, and a fan.