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
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://http://www.nelsonagency.com/ for submission guidelines, FAQs, resources and sample query letters. Sara’s Publisher’s Marketplace site (www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow)  is a great place to find more about her personal tastes, clients and recent sales. You can also cyber stalk Sara on twitter @SaraMegibow