Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TUESDAY TIP #Nanoworimo Winners Claim UR Prizes @CreateSpace and @Scrivener

If you were a Nanowrimo 2011 winner, you completed 50,000 words in 30 days--and you got to download one of these kewel little icons. Actually, it's kind of a tacky graphic. They keep changing the icon every year and I guess they're running out of ideas on how to make it interesting. I also guess they never heard of branding (haha). Despite the identity crisis at the Office of Letters & Light, the nano prizes have been available a couple of weeks.

When I say "nano prizes" I mean real prizes -- available courtesy of Amazon's CreateSpace (POD production and distribution service) and Literature & Latte's Scrivener, the Writer's Environment for organizing your fiction, screenwriting, dissertation or any other writing project. Click through the jump-break to find out how to get your valuable gifts, you winner, you!



CreateSpace

As noted in my earlier post, Amazon is making a fabulous offer to Nanowrimo winners: 5 free copies of your book produced through their CreateSpace service. Caution, it's not completely free. Still, if you were planning to get a paperback of your book made, this is a great way to get 5 quick and easy copies!

You need to be logged into the Nanowrimo site and of course, you have to be a Nanowrimo winners (having verified your 50,000 words prior to midnight November 30, 2011). If you didn't do the verification step back then, it's too late now. You are not an "official" winner of Nanowrimo. That's why I mentioned these prizes and suggested verifying your status back in my November 29, 2011 post (smirk).

Once you're logged into the Nanowrimo site, go to the Winners' Prizes Page. The instructions at the top of that page will display a special code (see image at left, click to enlarge) I blacked out most of my code but your code will be auto-generated by the Nanowrimo site once you're logged into this page. It'll be a comination of letters and numbers.

There's a link to the CreateSpace "claim" page where you use your personalized Nanowrimo code to get a second special code from Amazon that you can use when redeeming your 5 "free" copies of a paperback from CreateSpace. It's a multiple-step process and sounds complicated, but that's just to discourage you from claiming your free stuff. It's not all that bad and took me less than a minute to get the CreateSpace code to use at CreateSpace checkout.

You have to create your book on CreateSpace (which I haven't done yet so I saved the second code to use once I have done this) and purchase a package then use the second code to zero out the cost of the first 5 copies printed. If you can follow instructions, it's not all that hard, works well, and only takes a minute or so to get to the point where you're setting up your book's template.

As noted in my earlier post, you might want to just pay a CreateSpace expert to create your book for you and then get your 5 "free" copies printed from that template. All depends on how much the hassle factor matters to you and how much money you have. If money's tight, you can do it yourself. The CreateSpace team will try to help you via email and they are mostly helpful but never forget their goal is to sell you their services, not to help you do it yourself for free. They'll get you 80% there--you need to be prepared to do the last 20% yourself! See? The 80/20 rule applies in all situations! ^_^




Scrivener

The claim process here is similar to the one you just did with CreateSpace, but it's much simpler. You have to be logged into the Nanowrimo site and have won or you won't get a code displayed, but assuming you're a Nanowrimo 2011 winner, scroll down the Winners' Prizes Page. You'll see something similar to the image at right (click to enlarge). Again, I blacked out most of my code. Yours should display for you. If it doesn't, you're either not logged in or not a verified Nanowrimo 2011 winner.

Once you have your code, copy it to your buffer (Ctrl-C or Command-C on a Mac) and click through to the Literature and Latte page for Scrivener. There, you can choose the version of Scrivener you want to download (MacOS or Windows). The software you download for the free trial is a full version, just with a time limit on it, so go ahead and download the free trial for your OS and install it. Start the program and on the splash screen, click to buy a license. At checkout, you enter the code you got from Nanowrimo (in your computer's buffer if you followed my directions) and the price drops from $40 to $20 USD - yep, half off and it's not all that much even before the discount! This all took me less than 3 minutes, by the way. It's super easy.

If you weren't a Nanowrimo 2011 winner, you still might like to download and try Scrivener. As I said, you can get a copy of the full version of the software, free to try out for 30 days. There's an interactive tutorial you can work through in 1-2 hours that will take you through all the features so you can fully-evaluate whether or not Scrivener is worth buying. I think you'll find it's well-worth the price after completing the tutorial. It's well-worth "twice the price" if you get the discount (haha).

I think the thing I like best about Scrivener isn't even related to its features or usability. What I like best is that it's just a small bunch of geeky guys and grrls providing the writing community with tools we actually want and use at a price we can actually afford. Talk about the antithesis of the Microsoft Evil Empire! Give Scrivener a fly-through. Click here to download a free trial now. In a future Tuesday Tip (when I find time!) I'll give you a report on my journey through the interactive tutorial.



What's Next....
This week's kind of crazy. I'm not Christian but my day job is working in a grocery store so the Christian holiday season is making my life crazy-busy via the day job. It's kind of ironic that I can't just enjoy the way the whole country shuts down for 2 weeks--and I really need these 2 weeks! Why? I'm trying to get my first book finished, edited and released. It was scheduled for a December 31, 2011 release but due to the Christmas holiday craziness pre-empting my plans on a daily basis to work on my things instead of the day job's needs, I've had to push the release date back to "sometime" in January, 2012. To say the least, I'm feeling a little frazzled these days.

Since I cannot cancel the Christian holidays in my life, and I don't want to go completely insane, I'm going to put the blog on hiatus for the next two weeks. I'll tweet links to past Monday Marketing or Tuesday Tip blogs (thank you, Hootsuite scheduler!) while the Webbiegrrl Blog remains on hiatus. See you in 2012! :)


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