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National Novel Writing Month

We believe in ambitious acts of the imagination.

  • October 16, 2014 8:41 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: An Introduction


    Attention, Wrimos! Ye Olde 30 Covers, 30 Days event is commencing as we speak! In fact, update: it has already commenced. It’s happening. You are a part of it now. Surprise.

    What is 30 Covers, 30 Days?

    Thirty lucky Wrimos will be selected to receive a shiny, unique cover for their 2014 NaNo-novel, designed in just 24 hours by one of the talented professional graphic designers that our amazing 30C30D coordinator, Debbie MIllman, has recruited this year.

    Then, every day in November, one of these covers will be posted for all the world to see here on the blog. You can take a gander at some of our past covers here.

    Tell me more about Debbie Millman. She sounds cool.

    Very astute. She is cool! Debbie Millman is a writer, educator, artist, brand consultant and host of the radio show Design Matters. She has been president of Sterling Brands for the last twenty years, President Emeritus of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and has run 30 Covers, 30 Days for the last two years.

    She’s rad. You can follow her on Twitter here.

    How do I get involved?

    Nominate your own novel, or the novel of a fellow Wrimo for a cover here. Authors are chosen from the pool of nominations we receive, so it can never hurt to try your luck.

    This year, the Young Writers Program will be sharing the nomination form with the NaNo participants. As you sally forth, please keep in mind the following things:

    • You do not have to share your real name on the nomination form. You are always free to offer a pen name.
    • Read over your form carefully before you submit it to make sure all the information appears the way that you want it to! You cannot edit your information after submitting it.
    • Want to design a book cover for a Wrimo? Can’t take the suspense of waiting to see if your novel will be receiving a cover from Debbie’s team? We highly suggest checking out the NaNo Artisans forum!

    I’ve nominated a novel! Now what?

    Give yourself a high five for us! We will make sure to let you know if your synopsis is sent to a graphic designer, and then again if it’s picked by that designer to get a cover!

    So sit tight, novelists. You’ll be hearing from us soon. We’ll have our people call your people; it will all be very official.

    Good luck! 

    — Gwen

  • September 12, 2014 1:51 pm

    A Book Cover Revealed… Conviction, Collaboration, and Themes


    Every November, we ask 30 designers to create 30 book covers in 24 hours for novels people are writing for NaNoWriMo. The collaboration between designer and author can be incredibly inspiring. Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of the forthcoming Convictionand NaNoWriMo associate board member shares how she, her designer, and her editor worked together to create her book cover—revealed for the first time here! (And watch out for this year’s 30 Covers, 30 Days announcement soon!)

    Book covers have always felt like faces to me, and recognizing one in a bookstore or on another’s shelf is like finding a good friend in a crowded, busy place.

    Ever since I sold my YA novel Conviction (releasing May 2015), I’ve quietly obsessed over what my own cover might look like. And in honor of the cover making its way into the world (for the first! time! ever!) today, my editor Laura Schreiber and cover designer Maria Elias are offering a behind-the-scenes look at the design process:

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  • December 4, 2013 9:01 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days 2013: The Finale

    And the bell tolls on another great November! 30 Covers, 30 Days was a whopping success: thirty lucky people, out of nearly 5,500, were chosen to have unique covers designed for their synopses. Every morning featured a new and enticing piece of bookish art—from science fiction, to humor, to memoir; each day promised an exciting visual quirk, and offered an inspiration to keep writing.

    So, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who worked so hard to put this project together. Thank you to the gifted and talented designers who feasted on 24 hours of spontaneous creativity and put together thirty of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen.

    Thank you to Debbie Millman, for facilitating this project, and for being so fun to work with.

    Thank you to everyone who has followed the project throughout the month, talked about the covers in the forums, and liked the posts on our blog.

    And, finally, thank you to all of the amazing, imaginative, and daring people who took the time and had the courage to nominate their synopses. If it wasn’t for you, there would be no 30 Covers, 30 Days.  

    The 2013 genre breakdown looked a little like this:

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  • November 30, 2013 9:00 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 30

    Hurrah! It is day 30 (can you believe it?) Our final cover was designed by Zipeng Zhu, based off of a synopsis written by J. M. H.


    The Flight of Damari by J. M. H.

    Yellow-naped Amazon parrot, Damari, has everything a pet could ever need. Food, water, and a nice family with children. But when his family leaves home, he is determined to find them until he meets two other fowl, who tell him about the great land of birds, Avicus.

    Damari realizes that he should take flight into the sky to find his destiny in this strange land, becoming a hero.

    About the Designer

    Zipeng Zhu is a designer in New York City who wants to make everyday a razzle-dazzle musical.

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  • November 29, 2013 9:00 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 29

    Today’s cover was designed by Erin Newport, based off of Laila Murphy’s synopsis.


    Snow Blind by Laila Murphy

    Deep in the mountains live the Order of Clerics. Clothed in hooded robes of red, they never leave their halls, observing the outside world through hundreds of snow globes. But the Clerics do more than watch. They ‘intervene’. Land being over-farmed? A flash flood will level the plain. Too many trees being cut down? An ‘accident’ for the woodcutter takes care of that. A village becoming over-populated? A swift plague reduces numbers. And so the delicate balance between man and nature is maintained. All Clerics live by The Code. The number one rule? They Must Not Know We Exist.

    Reeva, a teenage apprentice, is also gifted with the power to manipulate the world around her but when she is expelled from the Order, she must make her own way in a Nordic land of forests, wolves and snow she has only ever observed from a distance and has no hope of surviving in.

    Her fortunes change when she meets Erik and Calvin, two brothers trekking through the wilderness to find a cure for the mysterious illness that ails their sister. Reeva recognises them—they were unfortunate bystanders in her intervention that went wrong and got her expelled.

    Can Reeva return to the only life she understands without anyone uncovering what she is? What will Erik and Calvin do if they discover that their lives are not in the hands of Fate—but the Clerics?

    About the Designer

    Erin Newport is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University and lives in Oakland, California.

  • November 28, 2013 9:00 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 28

    Today’s cover was designed by Kyle Hildebrant, inspired by a synopsis written by Josiah Sloan.


    Catabasis by Josiah Sloan

    A tormented writer is torn between the woebegone nature of reality and the intrinsic ideality of the people and worlds he creates.

    An old man and a dying girl feebly survive in an apocalypse that exists in the forgotten past.

    A dementedly likable and soulful murderer slaughters and then finds a sense of camaraderie with his victims.

    Three separate stories that grow more and more interconnected as the character’s lives slowly fall apart and disband into a suspended state of mutual entropy. 

    About the Designer

    Kyle Hildebrant is a designer, brand strategist and a founding partner of OVO.

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  • November 27, 2013 9:00 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 27

    Today’s cover was designed by me, Hannah Rubin, and was inspired by Lyudmyla Mayorska’s synopsis.


    NANNY MORTO by Lyudmyla Mayorska

    Only Eva and Phillip see the elegant looking lady, their new nanny, as a skeleton—smooth skull for a face, bony fingers under the velvet gloves.

    Trips to the cemetery to send strange letters with black balloons, going to the beach with pouring rain overhead, and antique stores become their new routine and pass time. The children slowly warm up to their strange caretaker and fully embrace the presence of her pet pig Faust.

    However, Nanny Morto comes with a secret. She is here to earn her death angel wings, and needs a soul of a child to get them. She must choose one of the siblings to complete the task, and by the end of the book—she does.

    About the Designer

    Hannah Rubin is currently the Editorial Associate at National Novel Writing Month.

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  • November 26, 2013 9:06 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 26

    Today’s cover was designed by our (amazing) 30C30D project coordinator Debbie Millman. Her cover was inspired by a synopsis written by Donna Wojcik:


    Seductive Geometry by Donna Wojcik

    Aristotle Lieberman, a Chicago cab driver, lover of baseball, aficionado of women, and devotee of geometry, believes it is his life’s purpose to intersect the lives of those who need to find a common point in order to discover their own missions. 

    He is challenged when his former lover, an artist, needs to collaborate with a scientist in order to stop the decimation of Africa’s flamingo population. Angles and lines become increasingly important when a Masai shaman seeks to prevent this art/science convergence in order to circumvent an ancient prophecy of doom.

    The hesitant artist and reluctant scientist play out as chaos factors in a game of environmental algebra, leading to the poisoning of one and the transformation of the other. The equation of life must be rebalanced, for the point, after all, is everything… and Aristotle Lieberman knows just where to place it.

    About the Designer

    Debbie Millman is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for 18 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of over 200 global brands. 

    Debbie is President Emeritus of AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine and Co-Founder and Chair of the world’s first Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

    In 2005, she began hosting, “Design Matters,” the first podcast about design on the Internet. In 2011, the show was awarded a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. She is the author of six books on design and branding. Her latest book, Self-Portrait As Your Traitor, was published in November. Last year, an exhibition of her visual essays debuted at the Chicago Design Museum.

  • November 25, 2013 8:45 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 25

    Today’s cover was designed by Jill Spaeth, inspired by a synopsis written by Michelle Kelley:


    Racer by Michelle Kelley

    In a world ruled by the Talented, Amy McPier’s only goal is to appear Talentless.

    If she had a useful Talent, like Music or Science, Amy wouldn’t have a problem if others knew it. However, her Talent is Speed, the ability to be fast at anything she wants. Anyone who has Speed is put into the Race Circuit, the only “acceptable” job for one with such a Talent. The same job that killed her father years before. To be Talentless is a lot better than to let anyone know of her Speed. But when she gets caught using her Talent, Amy is forcibly taken from her home and brought to the Race Circuit Center.

    There, she picks a new name for herself, Aims, and the officials implant a computer chip into her brain. A sarcastic program named Maxx begins to instruct Aims in using her Talent. With Maxx inside her, a word from Aims can turn Maxx into any racing machine she deems. A few months of training and Aims is in the Circuit, racing to the finish line with sponsors either cheering her on or plotting her losses. But the longer she is in the Circuit, the more she begins to unravel a dark truth about why the Circuit was created, the reason why her father was killed. Amy suddenly has a new goal:

    Survive the Race Circuit and stop the slaughter of the Talented.

    About the Designer

    Jill Spaeth is President and Director of Design at Citizen Creative a firm she started in March 2010 where the name “Citizen” represents an allegiance to gorgeous and thoughtful design solutions.

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  • 8:39 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 24

    Today’s cover was designed by Ari Asercion, based off of the synopsis written by Elizabeth White:


    The Piper’s Song by Elizabeth White

    Kyra is part of the Piper family, a descendant of the Pied Piper. She has just broken the first family rule and used music on an innocent.

    Now she must learn to control her music before she hurts anyone else or herself, find a Master to apprentice to so her uncle doesn’t take her power, and become a master Piper before she can exact her revenge on the Piper chiefs that have never been brought to justice for their crimes. In the Pipers’ code a deal’s a deal that must be fulfilled, no matter the price.

    About the Designer

    Ari Asercion is a writer and designer who graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz after studying creative writing amidst the deer, the beaches, and the redwoods.

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  • November 23, 2013 9:00 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 23

    Today’s cover was designed by Jennifer and Ken Visocky O’Grady, based off of a synopsis written by Young Writer Kamily Bennard:


    -104 by Kamily Bennard

    Kierstan Royal, a resident of the Last Colony on what remains of earth, has more or less resigned himself to his fate as a tour guide to the aliens that come to gloat over the wreckage of his home.

    But when he and Cinnae Arche-tec, a half-human girl from a drifter colony a few galaxies over, discover that someone is actually planning to blow up the planet, he knows that he has to stop them. Even if he has to, say, stow away on a smuggler’s ship, break into a high-security prison, and get beat up a little… or a lot. Whichever. 

    Point is, he’s—oh all right, and Cinnae is, too—going to save the world.

    About the Designers

    Jenn + Ken Visocky O’Grady are partners in work and life. Jenn is a Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Cleveland State University, and Ken an Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University.

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  • November 22, 2013 9:01 am

    30 Covers, 30 Days: Day 22

    Today’s cover was designed by Tanner Woodford, based on a novel-in-progress being written by Michael S. Lareaux:


    The Golden Sword Travel Adventure Company by Michael S. Lareaux

    Russ Cordero has always been a fan of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Even as a youth, when he wasn’t above a street brawl or a midnight ride through Niles Canyon, fantasy games, movies, and novels held a special fascination for him.

    Now a father of three on the far side of forty, Russ looks back on his life and finds mostly satisfaction, mixed with a vague sense of loss. He’s grateful for his children and his wife, but part of him misses the adventures of his youth, both the real ones and the ones played out in movies, books, and overnight Dungeons and Dragons marathons. If only there were one more great adventure…

    It’s said that a man should be careful what he wishes for. On his birthday, Russ’s best friend hands him a strange, gilded envelope. Inside is a piece of parchment and an address. The parchment is a voucher, guaranteeing the bearer “An Adventure Like No Other” with the Golden Sword Travel Adventure Company. His friend refuses to elaborate on exactly what it means.

    It isn’t long before Russ finds himself driving through a town, looking for the address in the gilded envelope, and it isn’t long after that he finds himself in a thoroughly unfamiliar place. It’s a place straight out of every fantasy novel Russ has ever read. The trouble is that Russ has no idea how to return home, or why someone in this new world seems intent on killing him. 

    About the Designer

    Tanner Woodford is the executive director of the Chicago Design Museum, an adaptable and non-traditional organization that aims to unite, inform, and inspire the Chicago design community.

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