The idea of completing a novel in a thirty-day timeframe can be daunting, to say the least. But it can be done! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) continues to be a popular writing challenge because it really is possible. While you don’t “lose” if you don’t finish all 50,000 words, accomplishing that goal will definitely make you feel like a winner.

To keep you motivated and writing this month, here are seven novels that were begun during NaNoWriMo and have gone on to be published (some even becoming bestsellers!). For more, check out the official list of traditionally and self-published novels that have come out of this writing challenge at

7 NaNoWriMo Successes

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Proof that even bestselling authors tackle the challenge, Fangirl is a 2013 young adult novel. Rowell, who had already published two acclaimed novels, took on NaNoWriMo to try and speed up her writing process. Read her “pep talk” here.

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

This work is probably the best-known piece to come out of NaNoWriMo, as it was turned into a feature film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

Technically, Morgenstern took two NaNoWriMos to write The Night Circus, which is further proof that you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you don’t finish this year! This book has since spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

The Destructor, Jon F. Merz

This is the first NaNoWriMo to find success with a traditional publisher, as Merz’s vampire story was published by Pinnacle Books in 2003.

Wool, Hugh Howey

Rather than begin a new novel in 2011, Howey took his self-published novelete Wool, which had been receiving a lot of buzz online, and reworked it during NaNoWriMo. Since the self-publishing of his original version, Wool has become a New York Times bestseller and Howey has sold the film rights to 20th Century Fox.

The Darwin Elevator, Jason M. Hough

Though Hough’s first NaNoWriMo attempt “fell apart” after one chapter, his second effort became the first in a science fiction trilogy and has found its place on the New York Times bestseller list.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan

Another New York Times bestseller, Ryan’s young adult zombie novel has also had its film rights sold. We’re beginning to think the key to NaNoWriMo success may be writing sci-fi!

Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo?

Create a NaNoWriMo Account 

About Paperblanks: 25 years ago, we created Paperblanks to help keep book heritage alive and vital in our modern age, and to offer an inspiring space for people to express themselves. Thanks for joining us on this journey! For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here