From Zero Words to in 90 Days

The challenge:

Write, edit and publish a complete novel in 90 days.

In my case, the start date is April 1, 2013. The target publishing date on Amazon Kindle is July 1, 2013.

The Fun:

There are 3 ways to join the adventure.

(1) Direct the story! Share what you like or hate about it, what do you think the characters should do next. Let’s make it fun :)

I’ll be happy to credit you inside the published book, promote your links on this site, and I’ll simply be grateful to you.

And I’ll of course send you the cool, final, edited and signed version after it’s done.

(2) Join this challenge with YOUR novel! It’s easier together. Even if we publish our book in 100 days, or 200 days, it sure beats not publishing it at all.

(3) Help me complete it in 90 days with your advice and ideas. We’ll learn something together.

The Handicap

I have 3 excellent handicaps to make this challenge exciting:

  1. A 12-hour day job with lots of tight deadlines and travel.
  2. Now this one is a bit awkward to call a handicap: my family. A wife and 3 kids. I love them and they need my time and energy. Told you it was awkward.
  3. English isn’t my native tongue. But, although I speak with an accent, I don’t think with an accent. I simply work like a dog on my sentences. Woof!

The Progress

Here’s goes the 90-day calendar:

April 1:

Create energy.

I’ve been sleeping 3-6 hours a day since April 1. There’s a lot to do now in my life. To manage this all, energy is key.

So I’ve stopped alcohol and moved to a 100% raw vegetarian diet (been on and off till now). Also restarted my daily walks and meditation.

If the book fails, I’ll at least lose some kilos.

April 1-6:


1. It’s now done. I’ll keep this outline private for now … It’s flexible. I’ve hired a fellow author to give me feedback on that blueprint. Feedback now received.

I’m excited about the possibilities and I’m taking it over from here. In these 90 days, there will be no ghost writer working with me any more.

2. A disclosure: I’m building this novel from a short story that I’ve been giving away for free on this site. That story is around 4,000 words in length. I believe I can take it to a different level.

April 7-10:

Outsource to create space in my day to write. 

I’ve made a posting for a virtual assistant on and hired a person to maintain the 55-word contest that I run on this site. This has already stopped the delays with publishing the entries, and freed up 1-2 hours of time every night for me.

Her name is Grace. She’s intelligent, passionate about writing and has the technical mastery to run the contest.

Today we had a training session and she’s now in charge. I’m still reading all the entries and selecting the winners.

This step has already enabled me to finish the first chapter.

Even before that, I’ve opened my “You Blog, I Pay” program where you can earn between $55 and $105 for writing brilliant blog posts for this site. The first post is already published, and more are on their way!

April 10:

Chapter 1 done. Read it here.

April 15:

Over the last few days, I’ve found and contacted a very cool illustrator at Will see if he actually accepts the job. Meanwhile, I’m very excited about all the possible covers we can create for this novel.

While I was writing the 2nd chapter, an idea struck me. I’ll keep you in suspenders for now because the idea is a little raw, but I may just launch more than 1 book before July 1. So many possibilities!


April 25:

I’ve gone totally bonkers.

I’m writing this historical novel (a little slower now than before), a contemporary erotic romance, and three children books all at the same time. After work and after playing with the kids.

And you know what?

That erotic romance is really taking the center stage. I can’t stop it. I’m cranking out 3,000 words per day.

I think THAT would be the book I’ll publish on July 1…

Will plug the first chapter soon (it’s now with my wonderful editor).

– — — — — —

What do you say?

Do you accept the challenge to write and publish YOUR book in 90 days?

What should I do next?


  • Steve Barnes


    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks Steve! :)

  • Ron Callari

    Interesting concept. I got a little lost on the role of the Virtual Assistant and the 55 word contests? And also using and not using a ghost writer? it also looks like you want to ‘crowdsource’ some of the story’s content – but how does that get coordinated with the short story you’re trying to grow into a full-blown novel?

    I’m a contributing writer for a few blogs, so I’ll check out your “You blog, I’ll pay” program. We can also communicate by email if you like?

    Good Luck, Ron Callari

    • Austin Briggs

      Hey Ron, thanks for your comment. I guess I’ve been too much involved with my own blog and took some things for granted.

      The 55 word contest is one of the active areas of this website where folks can post their writing. Grace has joined my team to take the admin workload off me. I’m using this freed up time to actually write the book.

      Email is cool. Let me know if you’d like to contribute something. I’m open.

  • Carl Ashton

    Good luck! Good move cutting out the alcohol…and i prefer to but maybe you could split test the two :)

    • Austin Briggs

      Yep, my wife and I just returned from a drive around Italy and I realized that it’s become a norm for me to down half a bottle of good wine over =each= dinner. Sometimes a bottle. No wonder my energy was gone. Been feeling great since I dropped it overnight.

      There’s nothing to stopping addictions, I find :) Just need a good reason! Well, at least some addictions.

      Why do you prefer Odesk? I’m very interested. Isn’t it basically the same people in both places?

  • Marian Gurowicz (

    Interesting concept, I wish you much luck!

    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks Marian :) Sending you some good karma for your own endeavors!

  • Cecil Helton

    Fascinating concept, to say the least. I’ve given the first chapter a read and look forward to seeing where the story goes.

    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks so much, Cecil! Really appreciate your kind words. I’m thinking to add a bit of complicated romance next :)

      Let’s see how exciting I manage to make it.

  • sheena

    awesome stuff

    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks Sheena! Cool of you to drop by.

  • Devin

    Whoa! This sounds awesome! Very Fascinating concept. I look forward to seeing progress on the story. I’ll stay up to date!

    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks for your energetic support, Devin! We’ll make it happen.

  • rod roc

    Excellent. Good luck!

    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks Rod Roc :)

  • Mark Brown

    Good luck Austin. Don’t juggle too many things at once! PS Your passion is inspiring.

    • Austin Briggs

      Thanks, Mark. I agree — doing way too many things at the moment… need sleep! :)

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