Self-publishing & National Novel Writing Month Resources

The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.
Stephen King

National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo started in 1999 as a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Over the past 21 years, thousands of people around the world begin to write on November 1st to in hopes of meeting that 50,000 goal (I’ve tried a few times ­and I just don’t have the willpower!). NaNoWriMo also supports writing fluency and education programs across the globe.

Reading Between the Lines

Folks can more readily publish and distribute their novels now. Tools like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Lulu, or IngramSpark make it easy for writers to upload their work and put it in front of the eyes of potentially millions of readers.

In fact, the number of self-published titles increased 40% from 1.2 million in 2017 to 1.6 million in 2018.

It’s possible to make a lucrative side hustle out of self-publishing. Amazon reports that “thousands” of self-published authors earned $50,000 or more in royalties or more from selling their books through Amazon in 2019. However, self-publishing is by no means a get rich quick scheme, because there’s quite a bit of competition. When compared to the millions of titles published each year, “thousands” of self-published authors is small in comparison.

However, there is a market for all of these books! According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, 72% of American adults read a book in a 12 month period in any format. The same report also notes an increase in Americans who have listened to an audiobook from 14% in 2016 to 20% in 2019.

Perhaps there’s an opportunity there. 

The “Write” Stuff

BPL has a number of resources you can use to start writing the next great American novel. 

Teens can attend the Shut Up & Write!™ BPL Teens NaNoWriMo on Nov 21  and Nov 28

You can write a novel at any time, not just November. On Tuesday’s in December you can exercise your writing chops in The Heart of the Matter: Expressive Writing Workshop series.

BPL also has some great on demand trainings you can take yourself through LinkedIn Learning. I’ve selected a few courses for writers at various stages of their writing journeys: 

  • The Foundations of Fiction with Jessica Brody
  • Sell Your Novel to a Major Publisher with Jessica Brody
  • Ebooks: Distributing and Marketing with David Wogahn
  • Ebook Foundations with Anne-Marie Concepción

And to the aspiring Graphic novelists and comic writers, there’s plenty of resources to help you too!

Bonus: Our resident NaNoWriMo expert, Jordan Draves, has curated a number of resources on this guide.

Real Page Turners

Jordan has also curated some great lists on writer's on writing, writing fiction and audiobooks on writing. I would be remiss if I also did not include a few titles on writing and publishing. Steven King's On Writing has been on my "to read list" for awhile!

On Writing

Save the Cat! Writes A Novel

The Last Draft

The Art of X-ray Reading

So You Want to Publish Your Own Book & E-Book

How to Self-publish your Book

Indie Publishing Handbook

Happy Writing Y'all!