National Novel Writing Month by Gill Moran

camp1National Novel Writing Month takes place every November and its premise is simple: Write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in 30 days. 

I’ve taken part for several years.  It’s a challenge, but it’s a very liberating experience since you have no option other than to just get the words down on the page.

Last year, I submitted a piece for the Leeds Central Library Writers in the Rafters production, ‘Painting by Words’, and the story I wrote – ‘The Sanctuary at Silver Estuary’ – suggested a plot to me which became my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel, ‘The Sundered’.

One of the rewards for successfully completing the NaNoWriMo challenge is that I received a code which entitled me to five free copies of my novel.  To claim these, I had to create an account on CreateSpace, a website aimed at encouraging and enabling self-publication, and then submit my novel to the online checks and processes required to ready it for publication.

The process of creating a book from my files was straightforward, with plenty of online assistance available, and I was able to design a cover and submit my files for review without any problems.  The website automatically checks that the file will fit the book’s layout, and, if it doesn’t, provides software to do it for you.  By far the most time was spent in proofreading the text – it pays to do this several times to be absolutely certain it’s right – before submitting the proofed copy for the website to make sure it complies with their requirements.

Within twenty-four hours of submitting my endlessly-proofed copy, I had an email telling me my files were acceptable and I could proceed to distribution and pricing options.

Again, everything is straightforward, with suggested pricing structures clearly explained and an option to publish to Kindle.  My book was automatically imported to Kindle Direct Publishing and the process was incredibly easy; setting up pricing structure, submitting payment information for any royalties…

By far the most difficult part of the process was finding my IBAN, BIC, and SWIFT references for payments, and there is a form to fill out and submit (by post) for non-US citizens selling through CreateSpace – but a very friendly email response from the support team soon sorted out my confusion.

All told, this has been a very positive experience, although I am still a little bewildered by the simplicity and speed with which this has happened; as I said earlier, all I wanted was my five free copies and now I’ve seen my own novel available in the Kindle store…it’s really quite surreal!

And the five free copies?  Well, I spent so long on the proofreading, that by the time I’d got everything perfect, the offer had ended!

By Gill Moran