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Founder of NaNoWriMo Tells How He Created a Following Without Social Media


Chris Baty started a fiction writing movement without the help of Facebook and Twitter. Back in 1999, Baty was a 26 year old who shared a love of books with his friends and wanted to give one of his crazy ideas a try. With six writers and 50,000 words down in 30 days, the experiment was a success.

Today, NaNoWriMo has over 226,000 participants in 90 countries around the world. But how did Baty attract so many followers sans social media? In the latest Mediabistro feature, he tells how the movement grew:

If you had to credit one single catalyst as the reason for NaNoWriMo’s breakout success — in the pre-social media era — what would it be?
The amazing thing is it was truly word of mouth in a time when there were not a lot of easy ways to spread [the word]. It was back when the main social networking tool was email. And also, the year when it really kind of exploded was the third year, and that was 2001, and blogs were just starting to come into their own. I think that National Novel Writing Month was helped by the fact that suddenly there was this category of websites called a blog, which were to be updated regularly, so people needed things to write about. And then a lot of the people who would write about it just to have a blog post would end up blogging about the process.

To hear more from Baty, including tips on how to write a novel in 30 days, read: Hey, How’d You Start a Fiction-Writing Revolution, Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo?

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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WSJ‘s David Ho: ‘My number one rule for mobile and tablets is do not annoy’

The Wall Street Journal was one of the first major newspapers to develop an iPad app, and for David Ho, the paper’s editor of mobile, tablets and emerging technology, it was the most intense professional challenge that he’s ever took on. But he emerged from the process with new insight on app development, which he shares with Mediabistro in the latest installment of So What Do You Do?

“The best technology is invisible. It doesn’t call attention to itself. It doesn’t get in the way of the experience. It just works…  Not everyone agrees with this, but I also think people should have options. One of the reasons people like our app is that there are many ways to navigate and explore the news. There are distinct styles for reading news and a good app allows for that. But my number one rule for mobile and tablets is do not annoy.”

Read more in So What Do You Do, David Ho, Mobile and Tablets Editor at The Wall Street Journal?

J.K. Rowling Loves eBooks

J.K. Rowling, author of the famed Harry Potter series, was interviewed in this month’s edition of Words with Jam. There was no mention on when she plans to release the Harry Potter series as eBooks, but she did talk about the wonders of eBooks.

In response to a question titled eBooks – Genesis or Nemesis?, she replied that she loved the smell and feel of a paper book, but there are times where eBooks are valuable:

However, there are times when e-books are a Godsend. We forgot to pack my youngest a bedtime book when we were away last year, and I truly appreciated the magic of being able to download one in seconds! This summer will be the first that I take away 50 e-books to read while on holiday, rather than filling up my suitcase with print books.

via Words with Jam (login required)

Lost Finale Theories–It Could Have Been a Great eBook

February+2009+078.JPGThe television show Lost was made a few years before the eBook revolution. The show ends on Sunday, May 23rd, but the creators have made for an amazing enhanced eBook for the show.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Nikki Stafford, author of the five unofficial guides to the hit television show. She also keeps the popular blog, Nik at Nite.

Today Stafford discussed highlights and theories about the final season of the cult program. The author will return on Monday morning to discuss the finale of the series.

Here’s an excerpt: “What set Lost apart was that right from the very beginning conversation has been marked by speculation–’what did that mean?,’ ‘What’s going to happen next?’ and ‘What if, what if?’ As of May 24th, we know ‘What if.’ We won’t have all the questions answered and there’s no more ‘What’s going to happen next?’ because there is no next.”

Read more

eBook Expert Mike Cane Describes Staten Island Ferry Crash

This morning eBook blogger Mike Cane experienced the Staten Island ferry crash, providing an eyewitness account to MSNBC about the unexpected event.

Listen to his harrowing description of the crash in the video embedded above. Cane is a prolific eBook expert, tweeting about digital publishing everyday. Our thoughts are with all the injured victims today.

Earlier this year, eBookNewser featured Cane’s thoughts on the iPad and on a Nook advertisement. (Via Oliver Drobnik)

Digital Book Advice from Open Road Integrated Media

openroad.jpgWhat will eBooks look like in five years? Yesterday on the Morning Media Menu, we spoke with two leaders at the digital publishing company, Open Road Integrated Media.

We spoke with executive VP of production Luke Parker Bowles and chief marketing officer Rachel Chou about the company’s new release–digital reprints of work by the late novelist, William Styron. They explained how the company built video, photo, and text-based support materials to help market the backlist of this novelist.

Press play below to listen.

Bowles had these thoughts: “The days of the generic author video and author interview are gone–audiences expect more. Our mandate here at Open Road is really to go back and plum the depths of these authors…we sat down with the Styron family, we’ve been to the archives at Duke, we’ve interviewed his daughters.. we’re doing extensive interviews with various people involved in Styron’s life–to really give more depth to the experience. That’s what people expect these days.”

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At Last, The Future of Book Reportage Panel!


Remember that panel this blogger, Jason Boog of GalleyCat, and a few others were supposed to do until it was canceled–twice!–due to crummy winter weather? Well, it’s back on! Tonight!

The Future of Book Reportage
Laura Miller (Slate, the New York Times)
Sara Nelson (O, the Oprah magazine)
Michael Miller (Time Out New York)
Jason Boog (Mediabistro’s GalleyCat)
and Craig Morgan Teicher (Mediabistro’s e-Book Newser)

The panel will be held at the Melville House Bookstore: 145 Plymouth St, at Pearl St, DUMBO, Brooklyn

It’ll be fun. Hope to see you there.

Mark Doty on Poetry in the Digital Age

Celebrate National Poetry Month the eBookNewser way, with poet Mark Doty, who talked to Jason Boog and Matt Van Hoven on this morning’s edition of Morning Media Menu.

The video above was made by Granta magazine based on a personal essay by Doty about the affair with a man that ended his marriage to his wife. The film is part of a multimedia push Granta‘s making, which will include a forthcoming iPhone app, which Doty discussed on this morning’s show.

He also talked about how poetry might mix with other media in this brave new digital age. Here’s an excerpt: “”I think the idea of offering the perspective of a visual image, a little music, makes a wonderful invitation into a work of literature–be it a poem, a memoir, whatever. Why not use every medium we can find to connect with the audience? I love that the people at Granta are about to put out a smartphone app around this same issue. You will be able to access some media related to the Sex issue on your smartphone very shortly.”

Listen to the whole interview using the embeded player, and click past the break for more of the interview from GalleyCat.

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Chris Anderson of Wired Calls Richard Nash a “Genius”


Richard Nash, outspoken publishing provocateur and one of the brains behind Cursor, recently gave a keynote at Booknet Canada’s Calculated Risk: Adventures in Book Publishing. To describe risk in digital-age book publishing, Nash drew on his own experience with Soft Skull, on mathematics, and on a host of anecdotes.

Wired editor Chris Anderson sent a tweet last night that said this was the “Best speech on the future of books & publishing I’ve ever seen. @R_Nash is a genius. Every sentence quotable.”

“Everything we’re contending with right now is a function of Kinkos, and the aftermath of the Kinkos revolution,” said Nash early in his speech. If you want more, watch the whole keynote here.

Baratunde on iPad and Whether Media Needs Saving

In the video above, comedian and editor Baratunde Thurston talks with Media Beat about the iPad as the savior of media, and, more importantly, whether media in its current form deserves saving at all. The iPad is an important and exciting device, sure, but what’s most important about it is how it’s put the discussion over old and new media into hyperdrive.

Here’s an excerpt: “I went to the iPad launch. I didn’t buy one. I pretended to buy one. I ran out of the Apple Store with my backpack in my hand screaming, ‘We did it!’ and all the Apple employees go nuts. There’s something a little perverse and wrong about something with that level of consumerist, cultish behavior. But what I’m excited about is that … it does change how we interact with things … The way we tell stories has to change.”

You can see the full interview with Baratunde next week on and on