Grigory Ryzhakov – Russian Writer

How My NaNoWriMo Failure Turned Into Success

National November Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is a great project. Last year I’ve done it for the first time, which helped me to realise that writing fast is not my forte. I’m a slow writer, I rarely pour out more than 1000 words a day, 500 is more of a rule.

Last November, I did about 20000, which was still unusually very productive for me. Even when I was writing all weekend, 8-10 hours a day, I still couldn’t get beyond 5000 words on that weekend and then I would be burned and unable to write for several days. This is just me, some people write their 50k in one day, I need about 3 months to accomplish that, providing a have a good outline.

So, last year I was writing a serious book, which made me quite sad. Two weeks in, my mind suddenly conjured a new story outline, which took only hours to write an outline, about ten pages.

After my brilliant editor Stephanie Dagg shaped it up into decency, I published the book in April this year, launching it at London Book Fair.



Ever since its release the book has been gathering momentum, and after I’ve done some runs of promotions last month, Mr Right and Mr Wrong entered the Amazon Kindle bestseller list, reaching #11 in the humour category and #19 in romantic comedy. The book also climbed into top 200 at Barnes&Noble. Yay!

I didn’t benefit financially from it  as promotional advertising was expensive, I’m yet to break even. The book is now back into obscurity of the Amazon undergrowth, but I’ve still sold over 600 copies and gathered many favourable reviews on Amazon Kindle.

I found many new readers, new audience, and that is what important to me.

So do I call it a success for this reason? Not only.

Mr Right And Mr Wrong is my debut novel and I’ve learned so many things from it. This was the first story I wrote using an outline. I learned about marketing strategies with it. The whole publishing business doesn’t look as intimidating to me it once did. What started as a messy unfinished NaNoWriMo project, ended up a little victory for me.

So what am I doing this NaNoWriMo?

I’ve been editing my next book (since September), a science themed adventure mystery called Made In Bionia, and I feel as if I’m ready to do bolder things with it. It’s a more complex story and a beginning of a series.

The whole world is in front of me to reflect upon and extract stories out of it, and I’ve become more confident as an author. I did this whole write-publish exercise, which was daunting and seemed like a lot of work. Now I know I can do it, so I’m feeling liberated and can focus on my next project.

My NaNoWriMo effort seemed like a flop at the time. Yet it was obviously all in my hands to change that.

You never know where it may lead you. Try it out, experiment, and if you don’t like it there is always Christmas festivities to make it right.

November is not over yet. Get to it.


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