NaNo Novel To Debut Novel

posted in: My Writing Journey | 1

NaNo Novel to Debut Novel

NaNo Novel to Debut Novel

When I was 14 I heard some of my friends talking about NaNoWriMo. They invited me to join their crusade to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Having never written before, I declined.

The next year my same friends tried to convince me to do NaNoWriMo.

I said no for the second time.

I wasn’t interested in writing my stories down on paper.

Six months later I seriously considered becoming a writer. The idea grew on me, but I was hesitant. I told myself I, for the third year in a row, was going to decline my friends’s offer to join them for NaNoWriMo.

Two weeks before November of 2010, I accepted the road my life would take.

I would become a novelist.

One week later I spent some of my college savings on my first laptop. Then I went home and signed up for NaNoWriMo.

My friends were ecstatic I would finally be a “NaNoer.”

On November 1st I sat down and began writing fiction…for the first time.

I reached the 50,000 word goal and won my first NaNoWriMo, and have participated in it every year since.

In the beginning of 2012 I finished the story I worked on for my first two NaNoWriMos.

And I let it sit for 6 months, too afraid to contact the editor I wanted to hire.

I knew my fear was ridiculous, but it didn’t dissipate. I had to force myself through it. If I didn’t, I would never grow.

So I sent the email.

A short exchange later, I hired Jeff Gerke for an editorial review of the novel I was then calling Demon Black.

When I first contacted Jeff I blissfully overlooked that he also owned “The premier publisher of spec-fic,” Marcher Lord Press. Let’s just say that when I re-read his editor website and noticed that little piece of information…horror. I had already sent him my manuscript. It was still too terrible for an actual publisher to look at. He was going to hate it!

His website said his editorial reviews were usually 6-8 pages long.

He came back with a 17 page review and a publishing contract.

My manuscript needed a lot of work. As a newbie writer I had no idea what I was doing. I’m still embarrassed over the state the novel was in when I first sent it to Jeff. And I’m still learning the craft of writing.

But here’s the funny coincidence: My novel, now titled Never To Live, comes out on November 1st. My publisher didn’t know it was originally a NaNo novel when he set the date.

November 1st was the day I started writing. Now it will also be the day I first got published.


Never To Live


Just B. Jordan is a high fantasy author. She graduated high school a year early and received her first publishing contract at the age of 18. Never To Live is her first novel. Find it here.

  1. Rochelle

    There are no coincidences! This is totally a God thing! You began this book on November 1st, and then the publisher randomly chooses November 1st as the publishing date. Wow! Pretty cool. : )

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