top of page
Image by Patrick Langwallner

I Became a Self-Published Author at 18. It was the best thing I've ever done.

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

When I was younger, I always thought that writing a novel was something that old, rich, white people did. I mean, that’s who most authors are, right? It never occurred to me that someone like me — a black teen girl from the rural suburbs of Texas— could ever write and publish a book.

Not to mention the comments I receive when I reveal my author-hood, such as, “So, when are you going to get a real job?” and “What’s it like writing a book? Is it hard?” And my favorite: “Are you going to be the next J.K. Rowling?”

But despite the wide array of commentary (positive included) I’m glad I became a self-published author at 18. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.

Now, don’t get me wrong — becoming a self-published author wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. There were definitely some challenges along the way. But overall, it was an incredible experience that taught me so much about writing, publishing… and myself.

If you’re thinking about becoming a self-published author, here are three things you should know:

It’s not as expensive as you think.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be exceedingly wealthy to become an author. In fact, there are a multitude of ways to publish a book without spending a fortune. Self-publishing can be done easily and cheaply with the help of online tools and resources.

You can also submit your work to a contest or contest. Many contests offer cash prizes and the opportunity to have your work published in an anthology or magazine.

If your work still needs more funding, you can always try the old-fashioned route and send your manuscript directly to a publisher or agent. While this method may take longer, it’s certainly not as expensive as you might think.

So, if you’ve been thinking about publishing a book but thought it was too expensive, think again! There are plenty of ways to get your work out there without breaking the bank.

You have complete creative control.

If you’re thinking of becoming a self-published author, it’s important to remember that you have complete creative control. You can write whatever you want, and no one can tell you what to do. You’re the boss. But with great power comes great responsibility.

First —  make sure that you choose your words carefully. Remember that you’re writing for a global audience, and not everyone will understand your local slang or cultural references. Keep it simple and clear.

Also, remember to edit as much as physically possible. Just because you can publish without going through traditional channels doesn’t mean you should skimp on editing. In fact, it’s even more important to get feedback and make sure your book is the best it can be before you hit “publish.”

Additionally — consider your cover carefully. Yes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… but everyone does. Make sure your cover is eye-catching and gives potential readers a sense of what your book is about.

You’re never too young (or old) to start writing your story!

Many people believe that you need to be a certain age to write a novel. They say that young writers lack the life experience necessary to create believable characters, while older writers are too set in their ways to tell a truly original story.

But I say that anyone can write a novel, regardless of their age. After all, experience is overrated. Who needs to have lived a long and eventful life when you can use your imagination?

And as for being too set in your ways, well, sometimes it’s good to be stuck in a rut. After all, most great stories are about people who are struggling to break out of their comfort zones.

So whether you’re 18 or 80, there’s no reason not to start writing that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing. After all — there’s no age limit on writing a novel. Whether you’re a young person just starting out in your literary career, or an experienced author looking for a new challenge, writing a novel can be a great way to exercise your creativity and storytelling skills.

And there’s no need to worry about not having enough life experience to write a good book — as long as you’re willing to use your imagination, anything is possible.

So what are you waiting for? If you have a story to tell, go out there and write it! Oh, and if you need any more convincing, just remember: even J.K. Rowling was once a self-published author… before she became insanely famous and wealthy beyond her wildest dreams :P


bottom of page