How to Grow Your Author Platform While Doing NaNoWriMo

By Sue Campbell

Writers do NaNoWriMo for lots of different reasons. Some are just starting out and want to challenge themselves to see if they can even write a 50,000 words first draft. Some do it just for fun (1600 words a day!). Some do it to punish themselves (1600 words a day!). Some do it for community. Some do it because a sprint is the only way they can will a draft into existence.

No matter what your reason for doing NaNo, if you’re serious about your writing career and building an audience for your work, you can use your NaNo experience to help you grow author platform. (And no, it’s not smarmy to think this way as long as you use Tim Grahl’s definition of marketing: building long-lasting connections with readers.)

So how do you make long lasting connections with readers if you’re busy cranking out 1600 words a day? Well, you keep it simple and integrated with your writing. Here’s the basic set-up and idea…

  1. Make sure all your social profiles are updated with links to your author website.

  2. Make sure your author website it set up to entice readers to sign up for your email list. Make the sign-up form prominent and have it in multiple locations. And make sure you have some kind of cool opt-in bonus. (If you don’t already have this up and running, you probably won’t have time to develop one. But at the very least, make sure you have sign up forms all over the place and then worry about developing your cool bonus in December.)

  3. Join the conversation around NaNo on social media. There are so many opportunities for this:

    • Join sprints.

    • Post snippets your work-in-progress.

    • Post short videos about how it’s going and how you’re feeling.

    • Use the hashtag #Nanowrimo and also hashtags for your specific genre(s) to find like-minded folks.

    • Offer support to your fellow writers.

    • Ask for support from your fellow writers.

    • Attend a regional NaNo event.

    • Occasionally post an invitation to your email list (once or twice a week is great — or personally invite new followers via direct message).

    Not only will these efforts help raise people’s awareness of you and your work, it will make you feel more engaged with NaNo and increase your chances of actually finishing successfully! Marketing like this is a virtuous cycle: your creativity attracts an audience and the audience spurs you on to finish your creative efforts.

    Now, go bust out those words!

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