To NaNo or Not to NaNo…

November 1st is just around the corner. Writers, you know what that means! NaNoWriMo. If you are unfamiliar with this caffeine driven, slightly manic event, it’s an annual internet based project that invites writers to create 50K words of a novel during the month of November. If you’re thinking about writing a book, this event can help you kick start the process. Having participated in the past, I have some thoughts to share about NaNo.

What are the pros?

You’ll enjoy community support.

For the month of November, we’re all in this together. It’s fun and energizing to know that writers across the world are participating in the event. NaNo is its own writer support group. Local branches schedule community writing times in libraries and coffee shops. There are online forums and writing challenges. Words of daily encouragement appear in your inbox. It’s helpful to have the momentum of a group behind you as you embark on writing a novel.

You can kick-start a project.

While 50k words doesn’t really hit the appropriate count for most adult genres, it still a huge chunk of content. If you’ve got an idea you want to flesh out, start writing. At 50K words, you’ll have a good portion of the plot worked out by the time November ends.

You’ll create a strong habit life.

In order to hit the word count by the end of the month, you’ll have to create an aggressive daily writing habit. The arithmetic is clear, even for us artsy types. To win NaNo, you’ll have to write over 1600 words per day – more if you want to take a day off during the week. On some writing days, hitting 500 words feels like a daunting task. NaNo will push you out of your comfort zone, and force you into a higher word-count habit.

What are the cons?

It’s really stressful.

In my experience, this is the only real con of participating, but it’s a big one. I’m productive as a writer because I schedule enough hours of daily writing time into my calendar. Whether I hit 500 words or 2000 on a particular day, for me, it’s about creating the time not requiring myself to reach a number. NaNo definitely pushed me, but it also made me anxious. It didn’t mesh well with the habit life I work with, and the content I produced required much more editing than my usual first draft work. So, all in all, I don’t think I really saved any time in terms of overall productivity.

And don’t forget…

Likely, you haven’t finished the novel at the end of the month, but at least you’re on your way. That’s great. Keep on it. If you did finish something, step away from the project before you do anything with it. It’s going to need work, so give yourself a little distance. When you come back to it with fresh eyes, you’ll be able to edit and get it into better shape. Whatever content you create during NaNo is truly a first draft, and it may even be rougher than your usual work because you’ve rushed your process.

If you’re thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo, go for it. At the very least, you’ll learn which habits work for you and which don’t, you’ll come out with some content, which hopefully can be molded into usable content, and you’ll develop a community of writer friends that will last far longer than the month of November. You may only want to participate once, or you may decide that the stress is worth the results and enter year after year. Good luck!

 

NESWC Presenter – M.D. Cooper

New England Speculative Writers Conference Presentation

Creating a Flagship Universe

April 13, 2019 | Portland Maine

What is a flagship series and why is it important? Does your book contain a world waiting to be expanded into a series? A flagship series helps to define an author and bring readers back release after release. New York Times Best Selling Author M.D. Cooper explains how his Aeon 14 universe has hooked readers, and shaped his career. He will talk about how to deelop a series, leaving strands open to continue weaving into the next series, and what the benefits are to you, your readers and your bottom line.

Reaching your Market Through Advertising

Discovery is the number one problem for authors once they’ve published. The reality of investing money to make money can be terrifying and feel like a lost cause. With so many ad platforms available to authors, where do you begin? How do you build traction and how do you make the most of your advertising dollars? New York Times Best Selling Author M.D. Cooper literally wrote the book on Facebook ads and will share tips and tricks on how to spend your money wisely for maximum exposure and return.

Michael Cooper is the creator of Aeon 14, a vast science fiction universe containing over seventy-five books written by seven different authors. These books describe a future history for humanity, one where we must learn to live with the other species in the galaxy: the AIs we created. In the far future, we’ll face many challenges, and today’s solution will always be tomorrow’s problem. But in Aeon 14, humanity and AIs strive to improve their lot and the universe at large. There is war, and strife, and pain, but there is also beauty, love, and a drive to explore and see what lies beyond the horizon.

With over half a million books sold or borrowed, Aeon 14 is a significant presence on the science fiction landscape, one that creator Michael Cooper will continue to expand, bringing more authors and characters into the fold and to life as the stories of the valiant heroes that make up Aeon 14 increase in scope and volume.

In addition to creating Aeon 14, Michael also has a passion for marketing and advertising, and teaches classes on how to get your book in front of more readers and get them to buy.

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The Final Summons – Available for Pre-Order

The New England Speculative Writers are proud to announce that Pre-Ordering is now available for our debut anthology, The Final Summons. This collection features fourteen amazing stories by New England authors. We are also excited to announce that USA Today Best Selling Author, Craig Martelle has written our foreword. Currently pre-ordering is available for Kobo, Barnes & Nobel and iTunes. Pre-Ordering for Amazon will go live on November 7th. For more information visit: http://www.thefinalsummons.com.

About the Book

Galactic omens. Apocalyptic wastelands. 14 mind-bending stories of future worlds and dark fantasy on the brink of oblivion.

Fate is never written in the stars. From embattled lunar colonies to inter-dimensional courtrooms and the murky alleyways of Victorian London, there’s no telling when or where the day of reckoning will arrive. Do you dare test the limits of your reality and answer the final summons?

With stories encompassing planet-wide apocalypse to intimate tales of heart-wrenching sacrifice, join assassins and improbable saviors as they battle for survival and strike deals with the devil. From the visionary New England Speculative Writers comes an unforgettable exploration of the gathering darkness at the edges of the great unknown.

The Final Summons is a sci-fi and fantasy anthology showcasing 14 brilliant speculative fiction writers. If you like multifaceted characters, mind-bending concepts, and uncharted new worlds, then you’ll love this provocative short-story collection.

Buy The Final Summons to journey to the edge of oblivion today!

Look Inside
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It’s Official We’re One

The New England Speculative Writers has officially survived its first year. We’ve been so busy we almost forgot our inception on July 2nd, in 2017. It’s hard to believe a year (14 months, but who’s counting) ago we decided to put together a group for New England’s Fantasy & Sci-Fi author community. It has been a wild ride since we started, so why not spend a blog post recapping the fun? In one year we have:

  • Changed our name from Massachusetts Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors to the New England Speculative Writers.
  • Reaching 150+ members (almost 200) between the website and the Facebook group.
  • Had weekly posts from New England area authors on a variety of topics being read by nearly 10,000 individuals.
  • Hosted a cover contest.
  • Successfully held our first anthology open call.
  • Announced a networking conference.
  • Put together a Science Fiction and Fantasy preview book delivered to individuals signing up for our mailing list.

The brain child of Jeremy Flagg and Cristina Alden was dreamt up, created with a dash of this and that and heavy splashes of ideals, goals, dreams, wishes, and sprinkled with a little fairy dust for luck. Then it was carefully and lovingly incubated until it hatched and was shared with the world. Now, with an awesome collection of authors collaborating and exchanging ideas and information it has taken on a life of its own.

This has been the warm-up year as we test the waters. There are plenty of ideas that have been shelved, some just waiting for the right time. It’s been a great first year, but it’s not going to be the best.

The Final Summons Artist Open Call

Accepting Cover Submissions
“The Final Summons” Anthology!

Theme The Final Summons
Description

A final call to action for our characters.

What does the “Final Summons” mean? Is it the end of a world? The end of a long war? The changing hands of a political hierarchy? The promise of only one more spell? The handing down of a death sentence or banishment? The possibilities are endless.

Whether by magic or science and anything in-between, we want to see artwork that tells its own narrative that bridges the gap between science fiction and fantasy. We are open to styles ranging from oil paintings and illustration to photo manipulation and everything in between. Ultimately, we want original artwork that acts as an attention getting representation of the theme “The Final Summons” while telling its own story.

Samples
That Inspire Us
What We Don’t Want We will not accept artwork that promotes racism, sexism, or imagery of hate. We will not accept Fan Fiction. In fact, we strongly urge bold representations of diversity.
Deadline March 27, 2018, 11:59PM EST
Restrictions Must be a resident of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont.
Pay $300 (USD), 1 Physical Copy, 1 Digital File
Rights Accepted work will grant New England Speculative Writers first exclusive  rights for one (1) year and non-exclusive rights in perpetuity for digital, print, and audio formats. The artist will retain the copyright to their respective work.
Multiple Submissions No multiple submissions.
Publication Date February 2019
How to Submit We understand that art takes time and that submitting spec work is daunting. To save you time we are asking for the following:

  • A comp sketch (near completed rough) so that we can see the narrative and approach the artist is going to use in their work. These do not need to be completed works. Sketch must be scanned or photograph as a High-Res .JPG/.PDF.
  • A link to your existing portfolio. If your style varies wildly from project to project, please indicate pieces similar to what you are intending to do for the final draft.
  • Email to authors@newenglandspeculativewriters.com