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Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Why and How of NaNoWriMo

By Ron Estrada

For those of you living off the grid, NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writers Month (writers are horrible with acronyms), kicked off this week. Every November, nearly half a million participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.
There is no cash prize.
There is no guarantee of publication.
There is not even a guarantee that it will be good.
So why should you, a serious author type, join an event that will do nothing to further your writing career? Especially one that demands you draft your novel in the month of November, whether or not you are ready to draft and whether or not you want to set a 1,667 word per day pace.
Because, my friends, that’s where your readers may be hanging out. It is no secret that writers are hard-core readers. It is also no secret that readers who writer are those that will be the most enthusiastic about leaving reviews and promoting your books.
Last year NaNoWriMo drew 431,626 participants, including 80,137 students and educators in the Young Writers Program. What you need to understand about these impressive numbers is this: NaNoWriMo is more than writing a 50k novel in a month, it is a social media event.
Are you listening?
There are 430,000 avid readers, at this moment, hashtagging their brains out with #nanowrimo or #nanowrimo2016 on every single social media platform.
And where might you be?

How to #NaNoWriMo

Just like any other post about social networking, you have to go to where your readers hang out. Generally, adult readers hang out on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. My readers, those between the ages of 10 and 17, are more likely to be found on Instagram, Tumblr, and Wattpad (yes, Wattpad is a social media site).
So I use Wattpad and Instagram for my NaNo postings (I find Tumblr to lacking in oversight, so I’d rather not join in and I encourage parents to keep their kids off of it).
Wattpad, of course, is a good starting point. I joined in the NaNoWriMO conversations in the Wattpad “clubs,” which are simply message boards. You’ll find mostly young, new writers here, so offer lots of advice and encouragement. I designed a book cover in Canva and started my new novel on Wattpad. Yes, I will be posting my rough draft daily as I write. Don’t worry, these are understanding readers.
I then post my daily and total word counts to Instagram using, of course, the appropriate hashtags. I’ll also use my one profile link to take my followers back to my Wattpad novel.
The goal here is to accumulate more followers on both Wattpad and Instagram, followers who are writers and very avid readers.
For those of you with an older audience, I suggest using Facebook to post your daily word counts. If you want to be brave, post your rough draft to your blog, then post that link with your word count. Post it to Twitter as well (because it’s easy).

Graphics and Video

Wanna kick it up a notch? Use a fun graphic to post your word count every day, like this one that I’m using on Instagram:

Or, if you really want to have fun, take advantage of the numerous video options on Facebook, Instagram, or your blog to talk about your progress. And be sure to talk about your new novel! That’s what it’s all about. Faceboook’s live video feed is a good way to really connect on a personal level with your readers. They can comment as you video. Facebook also saves the video for those who wish to watch it later.

The Goal

Naturally, you’re not going to sell a rough draft, and by the time you get this thing cleaned up and published, your followers will have forgotten about it. But you can use the NaNo rush to promote your current books. Or, if you have nothing to offer yet, just gain followers. In this new age of publishing, a big online following is essential.
And what better way to build your following than by ensuring it’s filled with readers who love reading so much that they’ll tackle a 50k novel in one month?

So let’s get cracking! It’s not too late to start. Go to to register. That’s where you’ll post your word count as well. And be sure to look me up on Wattpad! You can critique me as I post (with Christian love).
That’s it. I’m done blogging until December.

Have a Happy National Novel Writers Month!

The Why and How of NaNoWriMo by Ron Estrada (Click to Tweet)

NaNoWriMo is more than writing a 50k novel in a month, it is a social media event~ Ron Estrada (Click to Tweet)

Ron Estrada has multiple published magazine articles, including a regular column in the bi-monthly Women2Women Michigan. He also freelances as a technical writer, specializing in white papers for manufacturing and consumer products. He writes spec fiction, hovering somewhere between post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction (he prefers the term pre-Last Days), but has also dabbled in Mystery and Suspense. Turn-ons include long walks to Frosty Boy and dinner by Kindle light. His real-writer’s blog can be found at  You can e-mail him at or catch him (at pretty much any time) on Facebook. Twitter handle is @RonEstrada. CB handle is God’s Gift.


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