I’ve learned so many things from publishing my first book that I will carry not only into writing and publishing my next book, but life as well. Maybe they’ll help you. Here they are:
1. Show love to the people who’ve helped you in the process!
Why do you think this is number one? Listen. God literally placed the most perfect people in my life to help at the perfect time. Not only did God already give me this beautiful testimony, but he placed people on my path that were beneficial in their own special ways. For instance, my editor was amazing. She not only helped me edit my book efficiently and on my crazy deadline, but she helped me find an interior designer for a great price and told me other options if I felt trapped. She was like my book mom! Her expertise was very resourceful for this tough task. My honey was amazing during this time as well. Funny story: One night I was in the kitchen freaking out because my bank account had been compromised by fraudulent activity. I had fees to pay in order to get my book to the next step and was trying to juggle two jobs and school! I just felt helpless and overwhelmed at that time because it was like I kept pushing and trying and things kept holding me up. Anyway, I was cooking and chopping up chicken and this angel of a man (my honey) comes over and starts talking to me about how I was going to cook the chicken. I just started BALLING. Literally, I was crying so hard. I had the ugly face, hiccups, and everything! He just hugged me. He didn’t say anything for a while. After a few minutes of letting me sob and soak up his entire shirt, he said, “Babe, what did I do?” I kept crying. “You’re doing everything right.” He grabbed my face (I know I looked a hot mess, snotty nose and all). Then he said, “Take your time. Everything WILL work out. I am here to help.” Wow, you see what I mean? You need to remind these type of people how much you appreciate them because they keep your world on its axis at the times you need it most.
2. Do Your Research.
It wasn’t what I expected. It turns out, I should’ve done a lot more research than I had — Like months worth of research. The process could’ve been smoother if I was more prepared in terms of how long the process could take, how much effort it would take, and how much it could be. But applying this concept to life is important. Plan and research before you jump into something thinking it’s going to be easy. So for those of you out there thinking about writing and publishing a book, or anything major… do your research and planning first. It will run so much smoother and be less stressful, I promise.
3. Be Patient and Flexible.
I am seriously the most anxious and stubborn person I know. I get so excited and devoted when I have a vision that nothing can change my mind. I get extreme tunnel vision and while this is a blessing, it can be a curse as well. Often, I have to remind myself to slow down and take a deep breath. I literally start over-working myself and expect a long-term vision to get halfway done overnight. Why? That’s because I’m already picturing the end product in my mind. When writing Perseverance Is My Power, I was so busy trying to crunch for time and prepare for graduation, that I was stressing myself out. I wrote this book while being a full-time student-athlete and working two jobs. I was pushing to meet the deadlines in the classroom, on the track, and my own deadlines for my book. And you better believe these things tested my patience and did not always go as I’d planned. When I didn’t find a designer or editor meeting the deadline I wanted, no lie, I was pissed and flustered. I had to learn to readjust and work with what time I had. So, if publishing a book has taught me anything about life — it’s to be patient and flexible!
4. People will pretend they’ve always been there.
People are impostors and pretend they were there the whole time. There have been several folks that come out of the blue saying and claiming how much they love and support me and truthfully, these are the same people who never gave me the time of day! These are people who spoke negatively about me, didn’t believe in me, or didn’t really care until now. You’ll see when you go after something in life, and become successful, everyone will come around. I advise you to keep them at an arm’s length. I don’t know why it goes this way but people only come around when they see something beneficial for them. I just think it’s not okay for people to pick and choose when they support me. You’re either be in my corner continuously or not at all! Know what I mean?
5. Believe in yourself, even if people think you’re crazy.
Even though I started off knowing nothing about the publishing realm, I knew that someday I’d be a big shot! I still hold this mentality. Some people thought I wasn’t even capable of writing a book. Honestly, I’ve touched more hearts than I thought. I never thought I’d write a book, let alone people would be interested in reading my story. I have impacted the way someone thinks and lives their life! I found it amazing to see those blank pages get filled with my life story. I learned that I have a calling to inspire and that I’m pretty awesome at putting the pieces together so that others can understand and relate. So now I know just how powerful a little bit of faith can be!
6. Hustle and Hustle Harder.
There were times I was over it. I was over all the work I had to do and all the things I had to juggle. I came so close to just not publishing my book! I shed a lot of tears and had a lot of late nights with my tea in my hand, but I did it. You have to hustle for what you want because no one is going to do it for you. No one else had my experiences and could write my story, but me! I had to hustle and when I got tired I hustled even harder to get it over with. Do THIS.
I published my first book as an independent author (Woot! Woot!). Let me tell you, it was a rejuvenating and uplifting feeling. But I was surprised at how much work still needed to be done once it was out! Publishing is only the beginning of being an author and even that process is complex. Okay, okay, I’ll answer your question. Why did I go with the independent route? I decided to go with the independent route because I wasn’t comfortable with letting someone dictate my life story and vision for my book. I did receive agreements and acceptances from a couple of companies willing to traditionally publish my book, but I was not okay with them earning all the royalties and dictating my book. And I do not regret my decision! It felt amazing when it was over. Overall, I’ve learned a lot about the whole process and I am happy to use what I’ve learned to start my next book soon. For now, I’m developing my advertising plans and I am in the process of establishing my own brand and it will be launched right here within the next couple weeks! Stay tuned and thank you for your support lovelies!