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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

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