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Covering NaNoWriMo writers

It's up to writers everywhere to write a book in 30 days, and now one book publisher is designing covers for 30 lucky participants. 


Lauren Rae Orsini


Posted on Nov 4, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 1:40 am CDT

The book title reads “House Hunting in the Afterlife.”

Heavenly clouds grace the upper corners, while flames lick the text from below. Modern san-serif capital letters fill the spaces between a Victorian mansion, a suburban ranch and a shack. Inscribed at the bottom is the author’s name: Becky Berryman.

“I LOVE IT!” Becky Berryman wrote.

Berryman is one of the 30 lucky NaNoWriMo—the National Novel Writing Month—participants who will receive a professionally-designed cover for their novel-in-progress this month. Headed by the VP and art director of Vintage/Anchor Books, John Gall, the program is called 30 Covers in 30 Days.

Since 2009, Gall has worked with NaNoWriMo to direct an accomplished designer for each cover. Berryman’s designer was Scott Buschkuhl of Hinterland.

With 200,000 participants, there’s a lot of demand for 30 Covers in 30 Days, but selection is random and rare. Writers are welcome to nominate novels for the project, but that’s no guarantee. Tim Kim, the NaNoWriMo organizer who wrote the official post on 30 Covers in 30 Days, isn’t talking.

“Now, there’s been a lot of speculation about how we choose the novels that receive a cover. Wombats? Time-traveling ghosts? Predestination? Sure, those were my first thoughts, too,” he quipped.

So far the first few novels chosen, including Berryman’s, have taken their authors completely by surprise.

“This is so much better than anything I could have come up with on my own,” she wrote.

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*First Published: Nov 4, 2011, 8:25 am CDT