Gear Up for National Novel Writing Month with Free BookBaby Guide

Logo for National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Are you finally ready to tackle that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing? November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a program established in 1999 to encourage aspiring authors to stop procrastinating and finish a 50,000 word rough-draft manuscript between November 1 and 30. Having a 30-day “deadline” can inspire you to write a certain amount of words each day (or week) and add “novelist” to your list of personal accomplishments.

In 2013, National Novel Writing Month attracted 310,095 participants, 89,500 students and educators, and 650 libraries. You can work independently or with inspiration and support through programs organized by the non-profit National Novel Writing Month organization.

According to the program’s organizers, ““NaNoWriMo is a powerful antidote to that horrible foe of creativity: self-doubt. NaNoWriMo is a rollicking conversation about all aspects of writing, and an invitation to dare to do what seems inpossible. What many NaNoWriMo writers have discovered, the best way to learn to write a novel is by simply plunging in to write a novel.”

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published, including Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants,” Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” Hugh Howey’s “Wool,” Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl,” Jason Hough’s “The Darwin Elevator,” and Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder.” Countless more novels written during NaNoWriMo have been self-published.

BookBaby Is Offering a Free Writer’s Guide

Cover of Bookbaby guide "The end"Once you have celebrated the accomplishment of writing a 50,000-word draft, BookBaby can help you take your manucript to market. They are offering a free, informational e-book entitled, “The End: Now What? Take Your Manuscript to Market in 6 Weeks.”

The e-book explains how to take you manuscript through the editing, design, conversion, and book-distribution process. The guide includes:

  • Manuscript tips from a best-selling author
  • Advice on how to find an editor any budget (even $0)
  • Guidance on how to choose the book publishing pathway that’s best for you
  • Valuable insights on cover design and book merchandising

The book was written by BookBaby president Steven Spatz, who notes that: “NaNoWriMo gives authors a thrilling, inspiring, crazy challenge. BookBaby is always proud to support the event.”

The book is available to NaNoWriMo participants as a free PDF, mobi, or ePub download.

Bookbaby also publishes an excellent blog and offers a collection of other free guides for aspiring authors.

LINKS

E-book: “The End: Now What?!”

About BookBaby

About National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

FAQs about NaNoWriMo

Authors Watch As Their Books Are Printed in Canon Booth at Graph Expo Show

Book After the Curtain Falls Ainsley ShayContinuing advances in digital printing and finishing technologies have made it practical and affordable for more authors to publish hard-copy versions of their books. At the 2104 Graph Expo show for commercial printing companies, independent authors Ainsley Shay and Miranda Hardy watched their books being printed on the Océ ColorStream® 3900 high-speed production inkjet printing system in Canon U.S.A. booth.

Shay’s book, “After the Curtain Falls,” is an entry in the red-hot young adult fantasy/paranormal category, while Hardy’s book, “Wacky Waddles,” is geared toward younger children.

“Wacky Waddles” was finished onsite by Standard Finishing Systems which unwound preprinted rolls into a Hunkeler CS6 cutter where they were cut into 12 x 18-inch sheets. The sheets were accumulated in the Horizon StitchLiner 6000 Digital where they were stitched, folded, and three-knife trimmed.

Shay and Hardy spent some time in the Canon U.S.A. booth at Graph Expo signing preprinted books finished in advance by Gasch Printing, a leader in short-run book printing based in Odenton, Maryland.

WackyWaddles-by Miranda Hardy“We met a lot of wonderful people and signed so many books that day,” said Miranda Hardy. She adds that, “It was amazing to see our books printed right before our eyes. This was our first time seeing the process, and we hope it won’t be the last.”

The Role of Technology

According to Jeremy Hess, director of sales and marketing for Gasch Printing, the self-publishing trend is growing “bigger by the day.” It has become a major focus for the company that uses robust Canon and Océ printing technology.

Advances in digital printing technology are responsible for the boom, says Hess: “Digital printing provides independent authors and publishers flexibility and affordability they didn’t have before. They can do test runs and find out how the book is going to be received before they commit to printing 500 or 1,000 or more copies of their book. It’s really placed their destiny in their own hands.”

Canon Solutions America is committed to developing the technology that paves the way for writers to publish their own work, according to Francis A. McMahon, vice president, marketing, Production Print Solutions division of Canon Solutions America: “There are countless great writers creating phenomenal works that would never see the light of day were it not for self-publishing. We are thrilled that our technology is empowering these talented individuals—and the printers they utilize—to unleash their creativity and bring their work to the masses.”

Shay and Hardy can attest to the freedom that digital printing technologies have given writers like them. They founded their own publishing company, Quixotic Publishing, and revel in the joys of controlling the entire process—from writing and editing to formatting and choosing the cover.   “It’s absolutely wonderful,” says Hardy. “It gives writers a creative edge and motivation to do something they always wanted to do, but never dared because they thought it would be too difficult.”

Shay and Hardy have been publishing books for two years now and plan to continue doing so now that things have become so much easier for self-published authors. Hardy believes “Modern technology is a true gift to creative individuals.”

LINKS

Quixotic Publishing

Canon Solutions America

Gasch Custom Book Printing Services

 

Survey Shows Workers Want Firms to Be More Creative

TCG-LogoCompanies may think they’re pushing the envelope when developing new advertising and marketing campaigns, but most of their creative employees would disagree, new research shows.

Seven in 10 (71 percent) of the creative professionals surveyed by The Creative Group (TCG) and AIGA said their firms don’t take enough creative risks with projects. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of respondents said they don’t feel empowered by their managers to take creative risks.

The research is part of the Creative Team of the Future, a joint project between TCG and AIGA that explores key trends shaping the creative profession and how to prepare for challenges and opportunities ahead. It includes a survey of more than 750 creative professionals and insights from leaders in the creative industry.

Key Findings

  • While 28 percent of creative professionals feel their company takes the right amount of risks, a majority (71 percent) believes their firm plays it too safe. Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of employees feel very empowered by their manager to take creative risks at work; slightly more (28 percent) don’t feel empowered at all.
  • About half (54 percent) of creative professionals are very comfortable presenting new ideas to their manager or team members; the rest have some qualms.
  • Just over half (53 percent) of respondents feel their organization is perceived as innovative.

“As the creative industry continues to change rapidly, staying ahead of the curve has grown more important — and more challenging,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Building a culture of smart risk-taking — taking a new approach or creating an edgy campaign, for example — can benefit organizations by empowering staff to come up with new ideas and remain innovative.”

Overcoming Creative Blocks

To help businesses foster smart risk-taking, TCG and AIGA have published a new report “Innovation in the House: Creativity Lessons From Five Top In-House Creative Teams.” t provides an inside look at how creative leaders at five innovative organizations, including Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, Square and Target, keep their teams inspired.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis.

LINKS

The Creative Group

Report: “Innovation in the House: Creativity Lessons from Five Top In-House Creative Teams”

The Creative Group Creative Risks

 

 

Earn Online Master’s Degree in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology

As designers become more influential in helping businesses create strategies related to technology and innovation, expect to see continuing innovations in design education.

Wired USCThe University of Southern California, Condé Nast and WIRED have announced a partnership to create a new online Master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology. The partnership combines the expertise of the editors, writers, and designers at WIRED with the academic rigor of USC.

USC is a leading research university known for pioneering interdisciplinary programs. For more than 20 years, WIRED has been a source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in transformation. WIRED reaches more than 30 million each month through WIRED.com, the print and digital magazine, social media and live events. The WIRED conversation illuminates how technology is changing every aspect of our lives—from culture and business to science and design. Breakthroughs reported in WIRED lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries.

The aim of the new 18-24 month Master’s Degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology is to educate creative thinkers and technologists to better equip them to transform the world of industry and enterprise.

The Dean of the USC Roski School of Art and Design Erica Muhl and WIRED Editor in Chief Scott Dadich announced the new online degree at WIRED By Design, a live magazine event held at Skywalker Ranch in Marin, Calif.

The new master’s degree will offer specially designed coursework from the Roski School, the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and other leading programs at the university. The program is scheduled to begin in the 2015-2016 academic year.

“The pace of technology development requires higher education to continue to respond with programs that are flexible and adaptable, and that meet the needs of future cultural and business leaders,” said Dean Muhl.

“We’ve been thinking for years about what a university curriculum with WIRED would look like, and now we have a chance to build it with a terrific partner,” said Dadich. “Taking the best from USC and WIRED, we can teach discipline and disruption, business fundamentals, and the very latest innovation models from Silicon Valley.”

USC’s online graduate education model builds upon the historic role of the traditional university while incorporating advances of the digital age. USC currently offers more than 80 programs online to approximately 8,000 graduate and executive education students.

In addition to offering a unique curriculum, the format of the new Master’s Degree program will offer distinctive opportunities to its participants, including: residencies at WIRED headquarters, exclusive audiences with WIRED leaders and conference speakers, and access to WIRED’s highly respected editors and writers, as well as leading industry icons.

Students in the program will be immersed in the culture of WIRED’s award-winning edit and design team, learning how they report, interpret and anticipate the next big breakthroughs in business, science, technology, design, and culture.

“WIRED is recognized as a source for up-to-the-minute ideas, analysis and perspective,” said Robert A. Sauerberg Jr, President of Condé Nast, which publishes WIRED. “Today we’re announcing the first of several partnerships we plan to create that will merge the knowledge and expertise of Condé Nast’s brands with distinguished academic programs to develop the next generation of talent. Given its reputation as an innovator, it makes perfect sense that WIRED is the first.”

USC’s program development and build out will be powered by higher education partners Synergis Education and Qubed Education. Synergis helps colleges and universities design and launch programs of distinction by creating unique learning environments and supporting recruitment, retention and student services. Qubed establishes new partnerships between top-tier universities and leading media organizations and brands to create high-quality innovations in world-class higher education institutions.

LINKS

USC Roski School of Art and Design

USC

WIRED: Come Learn at WIRED and USC’s New Degree Program

 

The UPS Store Expands 3D Printing Nationwide

Following the successful launch of 3D print in six markets across the country, The UPS Store® is expanding 3D printing services to nearly 100 additional locations nationwide. The UPS Store will be the first nationwide retailer to offer 3D printing services in store.

Customers can bring a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file to participating locations and 3D print their product design on a Stratasys uPrint SE Plus professional-grade 3D printer. The printer is designed to accurately and reliably produce complex engineering parts, functional prototypes, durable models, and one-of-a-kind-objects. Entrepreneurs, engineers, home inventors, and makers can use 3D printing to help refine their ideas and reduce product development time.

During the 2013 pilot program conducted at six UPS Stores, the 3D print services were used by small businesses, startups, inventors, artists and a wide range of professionals. Over the past year, the six locations saw demand for 3D print continuing to increase across a broad spectrum of customers.

“More small business owners and entrepreneurs are looking to 3D printing to help bring their innovations to market,” said Gilad Gans, President of Stratasys North America. “The UPS Store is at the forefront of a growing number of retailers that see additive manufacturing as a significant value-add for their customers.”

Globally, 3D printing services offered by retailers and other providers are growing in demand. According to Wohlers Report 2014, a survey of 3D printing service providers worldwide revealed that more than two-thirds (68.3 percent) added new machines in 2013, up from 58.1 percent in 2012. Overall, the 3D print service provider sector increased by 21 percent last year.

“We are committed to offering small business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers high-tech solutions in order to assist with all of their business needs,” said Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store. “We launched the pilot to evaluate if there was demand for 3D print and we’re excited to be announcing an expansion, giving even more small business owners access to high-quality, professional 3D printing.”

Now small business owners and consumers across the country will have convenient access to top-notch 3D printing at a much higher quality than an at-home 3D printer can provide.

“There are significant differences between home 3D printers and professional 3D printers,” said Daniel Remba, small business technology leader at The UPS Store. “Many of the challenging and time consuming steps used to prepare a simpler printer are fully automated on the uPrint SE Plus, leading to added precision and reliability, higher print quality, and a success rate unmatched by a home printer.”

Enterprising Author Develops Interactive Walk-In Story Books

Making print more interactive will be a key topic discussed at Graph Expo 14, a major conference for printing businesses that will be held from Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Chicago. Here’s a creative example of a new educational product in which large-format printed graphics are designed for use in conjunction with iPad apps.  

Enterprising children’s book author/illustrator Roxie Munro recently launched K.I.W.I. (Kids Interactive Walk-In) Storybooks. These illustrated, 5-foot tall panoramic backdrops serve as interactive learning tools for students in grades pre-K through 5.  KIWi  Rainforest

The themed backdrops are paired with a free iPad app by OCG Studios. When kids place markers on the backdrops, they can scan the marker with an iPad to initiate dozens of activities.  They can search for objects, play education games, learn fun facts about a subject, or record or edit their own movies.

To help teachers integrate the activities into the curriculum, author and playwright Douglas Love created a new Reader’s Theatre genre that complements each theme and implements the four C’s of 21st century education: critical thinking skills, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

kiwi-kids-maze

K.I.W.I. Storybook backdrops have been developed in 11 themes: Rainforest and Desert, Farm and Maze, Fire Station and Risky Residence, Submersible, Dinosaurs, TV Studio, Castle, Old West, and Space Station. Each backdrop can be used for education, to perform a play, or in combination with the iPad apps. 

KiwiTrailer from K.I.W.i STORYBOOKS on Vimeo.

The 5 ft. x 7 ft. backdrops are printed on both sides of three panels (two 21-inch side panels and a 42-inch center panel) on a tear-resistant, flexible PVC-free material. Additional panels can be inserted to create 5 x 14 ft. backdrops. The panels can be rolled up and stored in the three-piece telescoping tube included in the package. VELCRO-brand fasteners are included for easy assembly.

LINKS

K.I.W.i. Storybooks

New Avenues in Journalism Conference Helps Freelancers Adapt

logo-newavenues2014WRITERS. The “New Avenues in Journalism” conference October 10-11 at San Francisco State University will help freelance journalists understand how to maintain profitable careers in the changing field of journalism. The event is sponsored by the American Society of Journalists and Authors Educational Foundation (ASJA), San Francisco State University (SFSU), and the Online News Association (ONA).

One of the keynote speakers in Kara Swisher, a pre-eminent tech journalist and former co-host of AllThingsD. She will discuss the shifting world of independent journalism and explain why she recently forged a path outside the traditional news organization and embarked on her own entrepreneurial venture as co-CEO of the tech blog Re/code.

“The traditional business model for freelance writers has collapsed,” said conference co-chair Laird Harrison, an ASJA board member and ONA local leader. “Hardly anyone is making a living writing for magazines anymore. But new opportunities are opening up for writers who think like entrepreneurs.”

New Avenues in Journalism will bring together media innovators like Swisher to coach freelancers about how to achieve their professional goals in new and diverse markets. Much of the meeting will address the burgeoning field of custom content — journalistic articles commissioned to support products and services. Other speakers will discuss how writers can: secure funding from investors, foundations and philanthropists; successfully act as their own publishers; and sell merchandise and consulting as auxiliary income.

Attendees can choose the full day on Friday ($195 for 10 am – 4:30 pm plus networking event) and an optional half day on Saturday ($95 for 9 am to noon). Admission includes a boxed lunch and a wine reception Friday.

About ASJA

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is a professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. It membership includes nearly 1300 freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing.

LINKS

New Avenues in Journalism Conference

American Society of Journalists and Authors