Posted On November 14, 2012 by Print This Post

Sara Megibow Sells Romance – NaNoWriMo Cheerleader

Sara Megibow is here again for her monthly column and this time she gives us her reasons to try NaNoWriMo or to stick with it.  Check it out!

Do You NaNoWriMo?
Welcome to November also known as National Novel Writing Month. I am a huge supporter of NaNoWriMo – authors encouraging each other and supporting each other in this most wonderful art that is literature. Yes, as an agent I hover over NaNoWriMo hoping for great submissions. And, I also cheer on NaNoWriMo authors because there is so much to learn from this exercise. As an agent, what does NaNoWriMo do for me and as an author what can you get out of it?

– Consistency. Habit. Discipline. We had a discussion recently in the office about these three skills and how they mark the professional author. In our experience, authors who sit down and write every single day tend to survive this whacky business called publishing with more success (both artistic success and commercial success). NaNoWriMo asks writers to sit and write every day for a month and this is right in alignment with my experience of successful publishing endeavors.

– Networking and support. Authors supporting authors is a piece of this publishing puzzle too. Unfortunately, as an agent, I can support my own clients, but I can’t do much to support authors in general. I try to make my twitter feed as helpful as possible, but let’s face it – you also need help in the trenches from other people who are ALSO in the trenches. Networking with other people in your similar situation can be powerful and helpful. Even if a writer doesn’t achieve the write-every-day-for-a-month NaNo mantra, that writer will make connections and form relationships that are supportive and helpful.

– Yes, when you pitch your NaNoWriMo book to me in a query, you may absolutely include a line that says “this was my NaNoWriMo project.” I love these!

– However, please be sure to edit and revise. Don’t jump into submissions the day NaNoWriMo is over. The number one mistake we see from these queries is a pitch for a book that is clearly not ready yet to be sold. As an agent, I am looking for polished manuscripts to represent. Polished…not just finished.

– New eyeballs on your work. This is a huge benefit of NaNoWriMo! Maybe you have a beta reader or an editor, friend, family member, reader, etc who has been looking at your work? That’s great and this month you have a chance to reach out to new eyeballs for feedback and gut reactions. There are people out there willing to help, use them! Remember that an agent is not, typically, a critique partner. I’m not looking to edit books, I’m looking to sell them (please note, there are some agents who are outstanding editors too. I’m not one of them, although I respect those agents a ton).

– Even if your first days of NaNoWriMo haven’t been flawless – keep at it! This exercise is one of the best systems for organized support in publishing – go for it!

You can find out more about NaNoWriMo here:

And on twitter at:
@NaNoWriMo or #NaNoWriMo

Happy writing,


Okay – so raise your hand if you are NaNo-ing this year. What are your goals? Do you think it will help you with your writing long after November is gone?

On Friday, join the wonderful Adrienne Giordano as she makes a case for story structure.  See you there!


Bio: Sara Megibow, Associate Literary Agent
Nelson Literary Agency, LLC

Sara has worked at the Nelson Literary Agency since 2006. As the Associate Literary Agent, Sara is actively acquiring new clients! The Nelson Literary Agency specializes in representing all genres of romance (except inspirational or category), young adult fiction of all subgenres, science fiction/ fantasy and commercial fiction (including women’s fiction and chick lit). Sara is an avid romance reader and a rabid fan girl of super sexy and intelligent stories.

Nelson Literary Agency is a member of AAR, RWA, SFWA and SCBWI. Please visit our website http:// submission guidelines, FAQs, resources and sample query letters. Sara’s Publisher’s Marketplace site ( is a great place to find more about her personal tastes, clients and recent sales. You can also cyber stalk Sara on twitter @SaraMegibow

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12 Responses to “Sara Megibow Sells Romance – NaNoWriMo Cheerleader”

  1. Hi Sara – Thanks for a timely and inspiring post! I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo several times in the past but had to pass this year. I just started babysitting for my teething 3-month-old granddaughter full time, and I haven’t figured out a way to write when she’s here. (Her naps are few and far-between since the teeth started coming in.)

    With so many friends doing NaNo, I’ve been inspired to dig out my past NaNo stories and revise them – again.

    NaNo, even though it’s a little crazy, has been good to me. Apparently I work better (or faster, anyway) when I’m under pressure. Now I do personal NaNoWriMos throughout the year, whenever I need to give myself a kick in the pants. Like now…

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 14, 2012, 8:18 am
    • Thank you for the sweet post Becke –

      Mazel tov on a happy and healthy granddaughter! My mom has been raising my niece (3) and nephew (4 months) and she says it’s fun (read: hard) and amazing (read: impossible).


      Happy writing and glad NaNo has been good to you. I’m constantly impressed with what authors can create under pressure.

      Posted by Sara Megibow | November 14, 2012, 11:17 am
  2. Oh, how I adore NaNoWriMo. So much pressure. So much freedom! I swooooon!

    Having spent decades in the theatre, it’s no wonder I thrive on a hard deadline, and NaNo is the very best sort of deadline–one where your writer friends and critique partners climb all over you if your daily progress bar begins to shrink from that unforgiving gray line.

    After the hurricane/superstorm, I’m off pace a smidge, but on-line writing sprints with my CP on the other coast have really kicked up my game this past week. I should be caught up in plenty of time to “win.”

    Yay, me! (And “yay” for my writing career, too.)

    Posted by Eileen Emerson | November 14, 2012, 8:28 am
    • Congratulations!

      This is a wonderful story – thanks for sharing. My husband comes from a theater background too, so I totally understand! I particularly like NaNo because the message is “be consistent and turn off that inner editor” and how rare and wonderful is THAT?!


      Posted by Sara Megibow | November 14, 2012, 11:23 am
  3. Morning Sara!

    Thanks for the great and timely post! I’m doing Nano – a bit behind at 10K words, but I’m hoping to get that bumped up this weekend. My silly hero wasn’t cooperating! =)

    Romance University also has a nano writing board, where we’ve dropped quite a few links to some of our past articles on “how to”….feel free to stop by!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 14, 2012, 9:02 am
  4. Hi Sara,

    I haven’t Nano’ed. I try to write every day. When I’m not writing, I read. I count it as research.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | November 14, 2012, 10:02 am
    • You go – that’s wonderful!

      The discipline and routine seem to be so important to authors who have a career in publishing. Expect victory and start now, eh?


      Posted by Sara Megibow | November 14, 2012, 12:26 pm
  5. Hi Sara!

    I enjoy the camaraderie of Nano. I’ve crossed the finish line a few times, but I’m lagging behind this year. Editing and stopping to fact check slows me down. Still, it’s always fun to start a new story.

    Thanks for being with us!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 14, 2012, 12:00 pm
  6. The book I sold to Carina Press this summer started as my NaNo project four or five years ago. I’m using this year’s NaNo to hammer out the bones of the follow-up book acquired in a 2-book deal.

    My participation in NaNo (even all those years I didn’t win) has netted me three completed manuscripts and three partials that I’m still very excited about and determined to finish.

    NaNoWriMo participation does indeed teach writers invaluable lessons about commitment and discipline. It also pulls those who participate fully into a close-knit, truly supportive writing community.

    This year I took my NaNo experience offline and I attended my local kick-off party and two write-ins. I would highly recommend this to anyone participating.

    NaNo ID: RaleighRoxStar

    Posted by Roxanne | November 14, 2012, 3:39 pm

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