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A Series of Novel Ideas

If you’ve been hanging around here for awhile now, you know I’m an old hand at NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.Β  If you’re new, it’s an international event held every November, where the goal is to write a minimum 50,000-word novel between 12:00 AM Nov. 1 and midnight Nov. 30. I’ve done it six times in a row, never failing to reach my goal, and in order from 2004-2009 written The Milkman, Propane Jockeys, Enter The Jackrabbit, Troubleshooters: The Longest Joke Ever Told, Pariah’s Moon, and Blood on the Ice. My 2010 entry will be called Rooftops.

Today I had an idea for some other NaNo-style events to target other folks who are involved with writers in some way. This might just be how I can single-handedly save the publishing industry, folks, so let’s get the word out ASAP. For your edification, I present:


This one is for agents. They have to sign ten new authors between November 1 and November 30. That’s a lot, right? I could have picked one a day, but that seemed, well, ludicrous. The upshot to this kind of deadline is that agents will have to take more chances. If they’ve got some they’re on the fence about…hell with it, sign them. Will every author pan out? No, of course not, but agents might be surprised if they take off their blinders how many jewels they’ll find in the rough. And just so we don’t pick only on agents, here’s:


Acquiring editors for publishers don’t get let off easy. They have to acquire ten books between November 1 and November 30. That means they don’t have a lot of time to think things through. If they kind of like something, better to take a chance on it. Sure, maybe they won’t pick any big sellers, but if you give ten debut authors a chance to see their books in a store, you may be surprised at what will sell that you never considered before, especially because:


There’s a book-buying public out there that’s got to take risks, so people who aren’t already writing, agenting, or editing have to buy and read five books during November. I could have picked more, but some folks read slower than others, and some only have time to read on the john. That might make for some pretty numb legs by the end of the month, if you know what I’m saying. The catch is the books you buy have to be new to you. Stretch yourself. Try genres you don’t normally try.

If everyone in the publishing industry (and the book buying public) did this every November, think about how many people it would help. Think about how many dreams would come true. Think about the benefit to everyone from the lifetime romance reader who discovers she loves mysteries too to the editor who will buy a book because he likes it instead of because he thinks it will be a bestseller, to the agent who signs a writer in whom she sees great potential, to the writer who isn’t afraid to write outside of the box because someone will give it a chance.

It could work.

Spread the word.


  1. Nathan Bransford never liked a single goddamn thing I wrote. The only person who ever rejected me faster than him was Uwe Stender. LOL

    I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what are the popular websites or how to submit to them. Got any idears?

  2. I wonder how many strange cult hits have to happen before the people in charge of bringing us books, music, movies, etc to the mainstream stop coddling us and actually give us something different and new. Because chances are, people will buy it.

    I think more than ever, people are craving something new.

  3. Ian, I’d have to think… a bunch o’ agents and maybe a few publishers if they have blogs you can comment on. Allie’s got the idea. Link on Nathan’s blog… there’s nothing meanspirted about your post, it’s just clever and true. Keep me posted. πŸ˜€

  4. Excellent suggestions, Ian! I think you’re onto something! Better send out some queries, since the agents will surely decide you’re onto something!

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