A former reporter, Cari Noga self-published her first NaNoWriMo project, Sparrow Migrations, after receiving encouraging feedback as part of two writing competitions.
She did all the good work to bring it success and eventually it popped up on the recommended books list of an editor at Lake Union and eighteen months after she self-published it, she sold the rights to the Amazon Imprint, who will publish her second contemporary fiction novel, The Orphan Daughter, on May 8.
- Cari was a newspaper reporter but struggled with her fiction writing until she decided to apply deadline discipline to her extracurricular writing – she tried NaNoWriMo and found her stride.
- Her books are inspired by real events and also by her own life experience.
- First book, Sparrow Migrations, begins with the Miracle on the Hudson US Airways flight 1549 plane crash and details three very personal stories that are catalyzed by it.
- It was a finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist competition, giving Cari great feedback from industry professionals, and later won Pitch-a-Palooza, giving her connections with agents and publishers.
- Neither competition resulted in a publishing deal but gave her the confidence to go ahead and self-publish the novel.
- Using local connections, she was able to get her book in front of readers and made sure to ask them to leave reviews.
- The reviews were enthusiastic and Cari was able to get two BookBub promotions resulting in tens of thousands of free downloads and loads of new reviews.
- Thanks in part to the reviews and downloads, the Amazon algorithm kicked in and put Sparrow Migrations in front of a Lake Union editor, who bought the book for 99¢ and reached out to Cari to talk about acquiring the title for Lake Union.
- Cari’s goals included having fun, which she felt she was not able to do while working so hard on self-promotion. by now she also knew she was going to continue to write novels and felt that a traditional publishing contract would benefit her, so she signed.
- Lake Union re-released Sparrow Migrations with a new cover and edits, and Cari worked with them to produce her second novel, The Orphan Daughter, which was drafted during the 2013 NaNoWriMo event.
Books and Resources Mentioned:
NaNoWriMo.org National Novel Writing Month
No Plot? No Problem! Chris Baty
Every Note Played Lisa Genova
Room Emma Donahue