Sharing #NaNoWriMo Success Stories

Completing 50,000 words in thirty days is a major achievement, one that hundreds of thousands of NaNoWriMo participants have set as their November goal for the past eighteen years. While the end result will be part unreadable, part unfinished, and more than likely, error-ridden, the process often continues well beyond November. Many published books–including some very successful ones–started off as NaNoWriMo projects.

Here are four spectacular success stories:






Sara Gruen devoted two separate NaNos to writing Water for Elephants and then sold her work to Algonquin Publishers for $55,000. In 2007, the book topped the New York Times Best Seller list and hit the big screen with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in 2011.

Erin Morgenstern began writing The Night Circus in November of 2004. That first year, Erin ended up with 50,000 words of unconnected scenes and imagery. She then spent the next two NaNos adding to the story. In 2008, she took the 100,000+ words and formed them into an actual plot. She didn’t have a workable draft until 2009. In 2011, she received a six-figure deal from Knopf Doubleday Publishers. The movie rights were snapped up by the producers of the Harry Potter films.

Rainbow Rowell had already published two novels when she sat down to write Fangirl during NaNo 2011. While writing, she moved away from her usual pattern of rewriting the previous day’s work and kept moving forward. She considers the book her “bravest writing”…New York Times agreed and designated Fangirl a 2013 Notable Children’s Book.

Hugh Howey wrote three of the novellas that later made up Wool in November 2011. When he self-published the book, he sold 1000 copies the first month. After selling tens of thousands of ebooks directly to readers, he signed a six-figure deal with a major publisher. The movie rights have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.



Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. vicki says:

    I feel like I should be more organized to do Nano. I’ve got rough drafts of short stories to work on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Vicki, You could group all those short stories and label it a NaNoWriMo project. Something to consider for 2018. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! Thanks for dropping by, McKenna 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now that’s some serious inspiration! I think all writers dream of making it to the big leagues, it’s encouraging to read about those that do 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! I also find it inspiring and motivating to read about fellow Wrimos who’ve hit the big time. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Jeannie 🙂


  3. Hey, Joanne, just saw this. I had a critique partner who used to do this and she ended up with a bunch of unfinished story. I should do this some year. I do great on a writing retreat weekend. Can really crank out the word count. Maybe next year. If I’ve published the 4th book in my series. I’ll be ready for a whole new thing. I’ll share. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Marsha! I highly recommend using NaNoWriMo to start a new series or to jump-start a prolonged writer’s break! Keep me posted. 🙂


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