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7 lessons learned from self publishing my first romance novel

Let's start with the good because there are more of those than the bad. Also, the bad lessons weren't bad so much as they were hard to learn or overcome.

1. Always hope for the best and don't stop hoping for the best.

I wrote a separate blog about how hope guided my pen to conclude Soul Ties. For the past eight months, my hopes for this book continued to guide my pen and investment in making the work as valuable and complete as it could be before publication. When my writing wasn't good enough, or the plot felt foreign I leaned into the hope for this work to be great and I dug deeper until I pulled out the best I had to offer.

2. Be anxious for nothing

This book is late, the original publication was slated for December 2021. I was anxious to get it out but I was ill-equipped to even discuss some of the themes. I felt a deep sense of failure every day in 2022 for not meeting that release plan until I separated myself from the anxiety of considering myself a failure. I had to come to peace with my reality and Philipians 4:6-7 became my reminder to resist the trap of worry and lean into the peace of God.

3. Good editors are a necessary investment so dig into your bag and pay them

As a reader, I know how upsetting it is to be thrown out of a story by poor editing so I saved for months to be able to afford two separate editors. It wasn't easy but I would 100% do it again. The first developmental edit allowed the holes in the work to be fixed and the copy editor took my poor grammar and transformed it into the professional work of art I want my book to be.

4. SHARE YOUR WORK - in person, online, and everywhere

The algorithms are hard to keep track of, but the internet is forever. You will never know how far your work can go if you don't allow it to go into the spaces and places where potential readers reside. Post about it, but most importantly talk about it and show people why it's valuable. If you're like me and talking is hard, write to people about it, via email, in groups, and basically, everywhere you have access to readers online.

5. The journey is the destination

In the past year and a half, I have increased in knowledge not just about writing but about publishing, marketing, and graphic design. I'm a more competent human in this area of my life because I've been enthusiastic about learning the skills needed to turn my seed of an idea into a finished product. I'm now the go-to person in my tribe for advice on all things publication and writing, which is wild to me but I'm going to keep learning and growing in this process because I don't know nearly enough to call myself an expert. I want all the knowledge this journey has to offer and if I earn some accolades on the way it'll only be the tip of the iceberg.

Now let's talk about the bad or harder lessons to learn...

6. Fear will keep your feet planted so keep going back to hope and courage.

Write a list of your hopes for your project. The ways you want it to impact people.Tell yourself your why. Think about those hopes and when fear whispers you need to stop, repeat the hopes, and don't forget to season hope with courage. Take bold steps to execute your plans, don't just hope, make sure you act and take steps to nurture your seed of an idea until it materializes the hopes you listed.

Self-doubt sis is the meanest one to watch out for as you put pen to paper or prepare to share your work. If you are a writer of color, in particular, pay attention to the way you speak to yourself because you have the power to qualify and disqualify yourself from achieving your dreams. Remind yourself of why you found your story important to tell. For me, it was easy to forget my why once I started questioning my right or qualifications to write romance. I thought the simple answer of because I want to tell this story wasn't enough, but it is.

I'll leave you with the 7 and if you're ever interested in the countless other lessons I'm always happy to share the journey.

If you made it this far, here is where I tell you August 27 is the day Soul Ties by Ada Bailey finally comes out as an E-book on Amazon.

I hope you buy, lend, and read it, but most importantly I hope you enjoy the journey Julia and Rajan take to owning their love.


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